Memorable Museum Moments

2/27/2019 - Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Staff

Arts & Culture, Downtown, Family-Friendly, History
Dinosaur Discovery Museum
Southport Light Station Museum
view from Civil War Museum terrace
Kenosha Public Museum mammoth
Southport Light Station Museum
Kenosha History Center

Within a one-mile radius in Downtown Kenosha, near the Lake Michigan shore, sit five museums to educate, entertain, and inspire visitors. May your visit be even more memorable as you follow these insider tips!

Civil War Museum

While much attention is given to the Seeing the Elephant 360-degree movie in The Fiery Trial exhibit — and rightly so — be sure to stop in the Veterans Memorial Gallery. The gallery honors all U.S. veterans and soldiers from the Revolutionary War to present day conflicts. Symbolizing the theme “Solidarity of Soldiers,” the gallery shows how all soldiers across time share a common sense of duty, patriotism, and honor. In the quiet moments between battles, they anxiously wait, miss their families, and find camaraderie. This solemn room is a place for reflection.

Bonus: The view of Lake Michigan from the museum’s terrace is incredible!

Kenosha Public Museum

There’s just no way to avoid the “elephant in the room” at Kenosha’s free natural sciences and fine arts museum. Or more accurately — the mammoth in the room! In fact, the Kenosha Public Museum moved to a larger facility in 2001 to showcase the mammoths unearthed right here in Kenosha County. Learn how the Hebior Mammoth is the largest and most complete mammoth ever excavated and how the Schaefer Mammoth helped prove that people were in North America 1,500 years earlier than previously thought — meaning 14,500 years ago.

Bonus: You’ll find another great view of Lake Michigan — from the second floor’s enormous windows.

Dinosaur Discovery Museum

At this free museum you discover how modern birds are related to meat-eating dinosaurs. Not to miss is the permanent exhibit, titled Little Clint: The Story of a Baby Dinosaur. Kids can don feathered vests and pretend to hatch in a nest, put goggles on to excavate fossils, wear lab coats and look through microscopes, and create their own museum display. You should also take a peek in the lower level, where the Carthage Institute of Paleontology’s lab is. You can see the dinosaur bones that Carthage College staff and students unearthed during their Montana expeditions.

Bonus: Like the Civil War Museum and Kenosha Public Museum, this museum is on the Electric Streetcar line. While outdoors, enjoy the two dinosaur art pieces on the front lawn.

Kenosha History Center

This free museum preserves and celebrates Kenosha’s automotive and industrial heritage. The Rambler Legacy Gallery features the permanent exhibit Kenosha’s Lost Industries from 1850s thru 1970s. This gallery also features a different auto exhibit each year. 

Bonus: See the Miniature Statue of Liberty that was first raised in Civic Center Park.

Southport Light Station Museum

You get two attractions in one place at this seasonal location. It’s operated by the Kenosha County Historical Society, who also runs the nearby Kenosha History Center. It’s free to tour the 1867 Light Station keeper’s house, which details the historical importance of Kenosha’s harbor. Not to miss is the local shipwreck exhibit, which details more than 40 shipwrecks buried near Kenosha. On display is a model of the SS Wisconsin, which sank in Lake Michigan in 1929. For a fabulous view of the lake, be sure to climb the 72 steps up the tower of the 1866 Southport Lighthouse (must be 8 or older to climb; there is a fee).

Bonus: On a clear day, you can see the Chicago skyline from the top of the lighthouse.

Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau Staff

Brought to you by the team at the Kenosha Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. We're here to help you find fun in the Kenosha Area.