What you can learn in a Milwaukee museum

Tommy loved lying on a bed of nails at Discovery World in Milwaukee so much that I'm thinking I need to get him new bedroom furniture

We learned so many things on our recent free visit to Discovery World. This is a Milwaukee museum that is to museums what TED talks are to discourse – a place where big ideas about technology, education, design, science, art, music, and nature meet and are well explained by people smarter than you. It’s difficult to categorize Discovery World as any one type of museum because the exhibits are so diverse. To wit:

We saw fascinating automatons and tested  simple machines to see how they worked.

We learned about nuclear power.

We explored Les Paul’s collection of guitars, read the story of his life, and made music using a variety of household objects including old children’s toys.

We played in an aquarium touch tank.

We experienced a virtual reality show that let us put our hands into the sun.

We saw how big the  subterranean tunnel that protects Milwaukee from flooding is.

But one of Tommy’s favorite exhibits, the one he kept returning to, was the bed of nails. As in those pointy sharp things you normally avoid coming into contact with any part of your child. I think he lay down on them three times and probably would have kept doing it if we hadn’t distracted him with lunch. His brother wanted no part of these shenanigans, but I thought I’d give it a whirl after Tommy assured me it didn’t hurt at all.

He lied. My back, arms, and the back of my legs were sore for an hour. But I guess that’s why the word discovery is in the name.

This post is the third of my Postcards from the Road series for Summer 2013 – quick photo posts that give you a glimpse of our travels while we’re still on them. You can bet I’ll be writing a detailed post, with plenty of tips for visiting, at a later date.

Many many thanks to Discovery World and Visit Milwaukee for providing us free tickets to see this unique Milwaukee museum. My opinions about beds of nails (and everything else you’ll find here) are my own.

Reader Responses

2 fellow travelers had this to say

  1. I love that bed of nails! When I lived in Thailand, my kids and I loved one similar that was a part of a public art installation in Bangkok. I just recently found your site and am happy to add it to my reading list!

  2. Awww, Ive always wanted to do a bed of nails. It looks pretty cool :)

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