Many Milwaukeeans who grew up in the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s remember the Kooky Cooky House – an electronic gingerbread cookie factory that featured dozens of moving parts – that was located in the now-defunct Capitol Court Mall.
This year, an updated version of the Kooky Cooky House returns to Discovery World on Friday, Nov. 28 and will remain open until sometime in January.
"This is a great fit for Discovery World and the community," says Joel Brennan, president and CEO of Discovery World. "It provides a sense of history and a sense of nostalgia – and it also brings a new audience."
Discovery World guests will be invited to walk through the house and observe dozens of components cranking out cookies. On Saturdays and Sundays, fresh gingerbread cookies – courtesy of Bartolotta catering – will be available for sampling.
Gino Salomone has been instrumental in the recreation of the Kooky Cooky House. In 2002, Salomone – while on the air with WKTI’s Bob Reitman and Gene Mueller – mentioned the Kooky Cooky House and the station received tons of calls from people with a great fondness for it.
Salomone was later contacted by a representative of Capitol Court who told him the mall was going to be torn down and he could have the Kooky Cooky structure – which was still in the basement of the mall – if he could move it within two days.
"I got goosebumps when I saw the structure," says Salomone.
Salomone went back on the air, asked for help with moving and storing the structure, and Kallas Honey offered to store it. The structure later moved to the Milwaukee County Zoo and for a while there was talk of reopening it there.
Salomone later received a box of slides featuring images of every angle of the Kooky Cooky House and decided to rebuild it instead of repair the original structure. A team of two are in the process of building the new "cookie factory."
The new structure is very similar to the old one, and will include a few original decorations.
"We’re trying to recreate the same ambience and atmosphere that somebody would have had walking through during the '60s or the '80s," says Brennan. "I hope this is something when people come here during the holidays they embrace and enjoy it, but also get a sense of the spirit of whimsy and fun in which this was created. That should be a part of everyone’s holiday season."
Discovery World is open Tuesday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.