Guide to multicultural experiences for kids, 2010
Note: The contents of this guide were checked for accuracy when this article was updated on May 3, 2010 at 3:04 p.m. We continually update the thousands of articles on OnMilwaukee.com, but it's possible some details, specials and offers may have changed. As always, we recommend you call first if you have specific questions for the businesses mentioned in the guide.
Providing kids the chance to enjoy other cultures is fun, educational and important. Some parents introduce multiculturalism by making sure their child learns a second language or at least takes a foreign language class. But the easiest way to celebrate another culture is to sample its food, music or performance.
Here are a few suggestions of places that will provide your family with a multicultural experience. Feel free to add others via the Talkback feature.
Centro de la Comunidad Unida (United Community Center)
1028 S. 9th St., (414) 384-3100
The UCC features a variety of human services for the Spanish-speaking population, plus it hosts live music events, art shows and the popular restaurant Cafe El Sol.
1022 S. 1st St., (414) 672-1040
For kids who are a little older, Jacques is a great place to try French food. Crepes are kid-friendly eats because of the appealing fillings like fruit and cheese.
1023 S. Cesar E. Chavez Dr., (414) 643-1640
Whether you stop at El Rey to shop, eat in the cafe or just to check out the Latin candy and pinatas, El Rey is an authentic slice of Hispanic culture. Most of the staff speaks Spanish and English, so even if you have limited-to-no Spanish skills, you will still be able to communicate effectively.
For more Latin culture, take the kids to one of Milwaukee's many Mexican restaurants such as La Fuente, 625 S. 5th St., La Perla, 734 S. 5th St., and Conejito's, 59 W. Virginia St. These are great places to take kids, and will be even more family-friendly when the smoking ban goes into effect in July.
Holiday Folk Fair International
8100 W. Greenfield Ave., (414) 225-6225
The Holiday Folk Fair is held every November and showcases more than 50 ethnic groups and offers food, entertainment and shopping.
More than 20 ethnic dance groups will perform, as well, featuring dancers of all ages. The "Young Peoples Matinee" is on Sunday afternoon, featuring hundreds of youngsters performing traditional dances. Most of these groups are always looking for new members, so ask a performer for more details.
Italian Community Center
631 E. Chicago St., (414) 223-2181
The ICC has programs and live music, and houses the Italian restaurant and bar Cafe La Scala. The walls are lined with photos from Milwaukee's Italian community going back to its earliest days in the Third Ward. Other kid-friendly Italian restaurants include Palermo Villa, 2315 N. Murray Ave. and Buca di Beppo, 1233 N. Van Buren St.
2150 N. Prospect Ave., (414) 271-5278
Izumi's is surprisingly kid-friendly, mostly because it's spacious and the staff will usually make sushi and sashimi suggestions that will appeal to picky palates. Most children appreciate bento boxes because the individual compartments separate food items, much like toddler plates.
Ko Thi Dance Co.
342 N. Water St., # 300, (414) 273-0676
This performance group is dedicated to the preservation of traditional African-American and Caribbean dance and drumming. Their shows are captivating to people of all ages, including young children. Check the Web site for upcoming performance dates and times.
Milwaukee Public Museum
800 E. Wells St., (414) 278-2702
The museum is a great way to learn about other cultures. The European Village is a permanent exhibit on the first floor of the museum that shows European homes and shops from 1875 to 1925.
"The Public Market" depicts an open market in Antigua, Guatemala. Plus, the museum is a great place to learn about Native American cultures. And don't forget to press the secret snake button while you're there.
Summer ethnic festivals
Henry Maier Festival Park
1010 N. Lincoln Memorial Dr.
Festa Italiana, Fiesta Mexicana, German Fest, Indian Summer and Bastille Days (Bastille Days takes place Downtown, in Cathedral Square) are among the many ethnic festivals that take place every summer in Milwaukee. Make a point to check these out with your children.
Television programs / DVDs / Toys / Books
"Dora the Explorer," "Go Diego Go," "Ni Hao, Kai-lan," "Maya & Miguel" and "Sesame Street" -- particularly the "Fiesta" DVD -- offer an introduction to foreign language. Also, there are many videos, DVDs, books and toys -- like LeapFrog Spanish Learning toys -- that provide bilingual introductions.
Finally, if you decide to immerse your kids in another language, here are a few places to start:
Language immersion / bilingual schools
Milwaukee has multiple immersion and bilingual elementary schools, including: Milwaukee French Immersion, 2360 N. 53rd St.; Milwaukee German Immersion, 3778 N. 82nd St.; Milwaukee Spanish Immersion, 2765 S. 55th St.; Victory & Italian Immersion School, 2222 W. Henry St.; and La Escuela Fratney, 3255 N. Fratney St.
There is actually plenty of cultural throughout Milwaukee including 27th and Wisconsin. Check it out for yourself, www.youtube.com/sohimke !
I celebrated the hell out of a burrito for lunch.
Drop 'em off on the corner of 27th and Wisconsin. That'll culture 'em right up!
Why is it "celebrating" when we do something outside of our own culture? If someone from Mexico eats a brat, are they celebrating ours? Or just eating a tasty brat?
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