Water Passport

Water defines Milwaukee, whether it’s vast Lake Michigan to your east, the rivers and tributaries that feed it, landscaping features designed to a­­bsorb rain and runoff, or the underground pipes and chambers that m​anage storm and wastewater.

This year, the Fund for Lake Michigan invites you to use your Doors Open Milwaukee Passport to explore the relationship between Milwaukee’s water and the city’s industrial, commercial, civic, and residential development. See and experience how Milwaukee responds to, accommodates, depends on, and features its liquid abundance.

The Doors Open Water Passport was made possible with the support of the Fund for Lake Michigan. The UWM School of Freshwater Sciences and the Harbor District created the Water Passport in 2016. Historic Milwaukee is grateful for the guidance provided by these three water focused institutions to help develop this year’s Water Passport.

How to Participate 

Pick up a water passport at any of the sites listed here, or at the event headquarters (235 E Michigan St). Participants who complete their passport should drop it off at the event headquarters (235 E. Michigan St.) to be entered into a drawing to win a day of science with a faculty member at the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences.

Water Passport Sites

Visit these three sites at 600 E Greenfield Ave
UWM School of Freshwater Sciences
The Harbor District
Sweet Water (Southeastern Wisconsin Watersheds Trust, Inc.)
Sat 10 am to 5 pm
Sun Not Open
The Harbor Campus of UWM is a focal point for research and education in water sciences and technology. Its scientists and faculty link studies of Lake Michigan, its watershed, and regional freshwaters for sustainable management and policy purposes. See the research vessel Neeskay; drive a Remotely Operated Vehicle; design your own inner harbor or beach restoration; get hands-on learning about  invasive mussels, sturgeon, and other animals; aquaculture and aquaponics, Green Bay “dead zones”, and much more. Fun for all ages and work backgrounds, see how many projects you could become involved in, and possibly get a new career idea!

88Nine Radio Milwaukee
220 E Pittsburgh
Sat 10 am to 5 pm
Sun Not Open
Each time it rains, the 88Nine green roof can hold up to 1,500 gallons of rainwater. Green roof benefits: Reduces polluted stormwater runoff by retaining water where it falls; helps keep excess water out of the sewer system; saves evergy by adding insulation and reducing heating and cooling costs; extend the life of these roofs by protecting them from harmful UV rays. This project was completed with the support of MMSD.

CenterPointe Yacht Services LLC
700 S Water St
Sat 10 am to 5 pm
Sun 10 am to 5 pm
The Milwaukee boat yard is located in the historic Walker’s Point neighborhood and at the mouth of the harbor entrance. It boasts over 900 feet of dock wall, 100,000 square feet of indoor heated storage, a packed showroom and sales department, a ship’s store and a full-blown service department with ten technicians capable of handling just about any task including fiberglass repairs, carpentry, paint and electronics installation.

Clock Shadow Building
130 W Bruce St
Sat 10 am to 5 pm
Sun 10 am to 5 pm
The Clock Shadow Building has captured local, regional and national attention and awards for its design, sustainable technologies, community-focused tenants and Wisconsin’s first urban cheese maker. The building features 50% salvaged material utilized in its construction, the United States’ first regenerative-energy elevator, Milwaukee’s first commercial application of rainwater harvesting, designs that enable it to consume 50% less energy and 60% less water, art and architectural features by local artist, and a rooftop garden with 360 degree city views.

Fondy Farmers Market and Park
2200 W Fond Du Lac Ave
Sat 10 am to 3 pm
Sun 10 am to 3 pm
The NEW Fondy Park project boasts an array of innovative green infrastructure including a large, remotely monitored and controlled bioswale that manages stormwater from the adjacent buildings, native prairies, and the first of its kind in Milwaukee: a stormwater diversion that manages stormwater runoff from the street in a former building foundation. Future phases of the park development will also include an above ground cistern, a boardwalk through the bioswale, and multiple community based art installments.

Global Water Center
247 W Freshwater Way
Sat 10 am to 5 pm
Sun Not Open
The Global Water Center houses water-centric research facilities for universities, existing water-related companies and accelerator space for new, emerging water technology companies. With over 40 tenant organizations, the GWC continues to be a magnet for foreign dignitaries, water technology businesses, economic development organizations, and students from all levels. The GWC established a highly visible headquarter base for The Water Council and a platform to grow Wisconsin’s water technology cluster.

Kilbourn Ave Bascule Bridge
101 E Kilbourn Ave
Sat 10 am to 5 pm
Sun 10 am to 5 pm
The Kilbourn Avenue Bascule Bridge is Milwaukee’s most architecturally prominent bridge. In Milwaukee’s past, economy and utility had been paramount in bridge design until the administration of Mayor David Rose, the first official known to make a plea for bridge aesthetics. See how a bridge works from the bridge operator’s perspective. There will be 2-3 openings per hour during the event.

Lakeshore State Park
West Side of the Discovery World Bldg. 500 West Harbor Drive
Sat 10 am to 5 pm
Sun 10 am to 5 pm
Lakeshore State Park is the only urban state park in Wisconsin and is almost completely surrounded by water. The 22-acre park includes a 1.7 mile trail that connects to the Hank Aaron and Oak Leaf state trails; a watercraft beach area with access for canoes, paddleboats and kayaks; fishing areas and boat slips for vessels up to 60 feet in length.

Milwaukee County Greenhouses
524 S Layton Blvd
Sat 10 am to 5 pm
Sun 10 am to 5 pm
The County Greenhouses use state of art computerized systems to manage and monitor the growing of the plant crops for the Conservatory. Energy efficient, grey water reuse and timed programs all help to produce consistent size and quality of our plant inventories.

Milwaukee Water Works North Point Tower
2288 N Lake Dr
Sat 10 am to 5 pm
Sun Not Open
The North Point Tower was used by the Milwaukee Water Works, 1874-1963. The 175-foot tower houses a four-foot diameter vertical standpipe. The pipe absorbed pulsations from reciprocating steam engines that pumped water from Lake Michigan at the shore. The Victorian Gothic tower, designed by Charles A. Gombert, was built for $50,892. The Cream City Brick interior is clad with Wauwatosa cut limestone.

Milwaukee Water Works Kilbourn Reservoir Pumping Station
626 E North Ave
Sat 10 am to 5 pm
Sun Not Open
This 1950s-era brick building is home to three original Allis-Chalmers 20-million-gallon centrifugal pumps and giant transmission pipes, and the old scale used to weigh chlorine that disinfected water in the Kilbourn Reservoir, which was open to the air until 1979. Demand for water began a steady decline in the 1970s. The station was decommissioned in 2004, the water reservoir removed, and a hill in the park was built in its place.

Schlitz Audubon Nature Center
1111 E Brown Deer Rd
Sat Not Open
Sun 10 am to 5 pm
Located on the shore of Lake Michigan, the Dorothy K. Vallier Environmental Learning Center at the Schlitz Audubon Nature Center opened in 2003 and was the first new construction Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System® (LEED) certified building in Wisconsin.

Third Space Brewing
1505 W St. Paul Ave
Sat 10 am to 5 pm
Sun 12 pm to 5 pm
This building was erected in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s by the Geuder Paeschke and Frey metal and tinware company, whose factory complex spanned 17 acres of land in the Menomonee Valley at one time. Geuder Paeschke and Frey originally set up shop in the Valley in the 1890s. The building has a steal substructure with walls of brick and metal siding. The building laid vacant for over 30 years after the original inhabitants went out of business in 1984. Third Space Brewing began construction on the revitalization of the building in September 2015, completing construction a year later. The building now houses both the brewing operations and a tap room for customers to enjoy Third Space’s line-up of flavorful craft beers.

Urban Ecology Center
3700 W Pierce St
Sat 10 am to 5 pm
Sun Not Open
At the Urban Ecology Center, water is treated as a precious resource. The Center has two green roofs where deep rooted prairie plants help catch the water that falls on the roof and keep it from running off into the nearby Menomonee River. Permeable pavers on our roof and patio, as well as our many rain gardens surrounding the building, help with this stormwater management as well. The Center also has low flow toilets and faucets that automatically shut off when not in use, to help use less water.

Wells Street Vertical Lift Bridge
101 E Wells St
Sat 10 am to 5 pm
Sun 10 am to 5 pm
The City of Milwaukee developed the towerless vertical lift bridge in the 1960s. These structures combine selected advantages of two types of bridges in locations where requirements for raised vertical clearances are limited. See how a bridge works from a bridge operator’s perspective. There will be 2-3 openings per hour during the event.