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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Friday, July 25, 2014

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In Kids & Family Reviews

Kids can pretend to ride through a ring of fire or shoot a doll-sized Knievel through one. (PHOTO: Royal Bonde-Griggs)

In Kids & Family Reviews

Teach your kids about good and Evel. (PHOTO: Royal Bonde-Griggs)

In Kids & Family Reviews

"True Evel: The Amazing Story of Evel Knievel" runs through Sept. 6. (PHOTO: Royal Bonde-Griggs)

Evel exhibit adds to Harley Museum's kid-friendly offerings


Somehow, my two school-aged boys and I never made it to the Harley-Davidson Museum until last week to check out the new Evel Knievel exhibit. From the moment we pulled into the parking lot, it was captivating for them, and I wondered why I hadn't made a break for it sooner.

Actually, the fun began with nothing that was motorcycle related. Hundreds of seagulls rested on the green space next to the museum, and upon seeing this, my kids ran towards the birds, only to have scores of white birds swirl above their heads. (Luckily there was not a bird poop-in-hair incident.)

Once inside the museum, the boys had an absolute blast. There are buttons to press that rev engines and smash cans. There are vintage motorcycles that look like "bicycles with engines" and an entire room of motorcyles anchored to the floor that kids and adults can pretend to ride in front of road footage projected on an entire wall.

Plus, there's a special kids' section with pink or black leather dress-up items, books about cycles including one that caught my eye called "Grandma Loves Her Harley, Too" and a craft table of motorcycle-themed art projects.

"True Evel: The Amazing Story of Evel Knievel" is as kid-friendly as the rest of the museum. It features two playable video games called "Evel Knievel's Daredevil Challenge" that allows players to cyber-attempt to jump Knievel over multiple trucks.

The exhibit showcases lots of vintage Evel Knievel toys, including a classic crank toy that shoots a doll-sized Knievel through a cardboard ring of fire. Plus, there are lots of cool vehicles for kids (and adults) to marvel at, like the half-motocycle, half-rocket "Skycycle" that Knievel used to jump the Snake River Canyon.

My only regret was that we did not set aside more time to visit the Harley-Davidson Museum. I thought a two-hour window would be perfect for my kids' short attention spans, but it turns out, we could have spent half a day in the museum. Hence, we will definitely return this winter.

"True Evel: The Amazing Story of Evel Knievel" runs through Sept. 6 and tells the story of Evel Knievel through artifacts drawn from the Harley-Davidson archives and the Knievel family collection.

This year is the 35th anniversary of Knievel's famous Wembley Stadium jump in London during which Knievel crashed while trying to jump over 13 buses. Knievel broke his back and announced to fans he would never jump again even though, to no one's surprise, he did.


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