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Menomonee River History Tour w/ Milwaukee County Historical Society

June 18, 5:15 pm-8:00 pm


Milwaukee or “gathering place by the water*” was built on a Great Lake and the Milwaukee Harbor welcomes vessels and other boaters to our great city. As they enter our Harbor, boaters have the option of exploring the KK River (south), the Menomonee River (west) and the Milwaukee River which winds through Downtown Milwaukee.

“The Menomonee River Valley has a fascinating history: from wild rice marsh to manufacturing center to infamous eyesore, and now to a national model of economic and environmental sustainability.” Menomonee Valley Partners

Steve Schaffer, assistant archivist at the Milwaukee County Historical Society, along with MKC staff will guide us up and down the Menomonee River as we explore its history, buildings and natural state of the river. We may paddle up the main stem of the Menomonee or explore it’s canals… we will decide before we launch.

There are no rest stops planned for this trip but if we need to stop for any reason, we can and will at the best possible place for everyone.

• Cost: $35 per person; $20 will be donated back to the Milwaukee County Historical Society (MCHS)*
• Space is limited | pre-registration required.
• If this trip needs to be cancelled due to weather and river conditions, we will notify you by phone and/or email and you will receive a full refund.

These history trips are organized through a partnership with Milwaukee Kayak Company and the Milwaukee County Historical Society. Tickets are $35 each and $20 of each ticket will be donated back to the Milwaukee County Historical Society

We are also taking the COVID-19 pandemic very seriously (link to our COVID info page) and have new policies and procedures in place for this season. If we feel that this tour needs to be cancelled due to this, we will notify you in advance and refund your ticket. If you need to cancel for any reason, please let us know in advance (thanks!) so we can release your reservation and issue you a refund. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.

DATES: (we are offering 4 history tours this season)
#1) Thursday, June 18th @ 5:15pm-8pm – Menomonee River
#2) Thursday, July 2nd @ 9:00am-11:30am – Milwaukee River
#3) Tuesday, July 28th @ 5:15pm-8pm – Milwaukee River
#4) Friday, August 7th @ 9:00am-11:30am – Harbor & KK River

* 5:15pm: arrive, introduction, instruction, fitting
* 6:00pm: launch (or earlier)
* 6:00-8:00pm: paddle
* 8:00pm: return back to our dock

We will paddle as a group. We will launch together and paddle as time permits. We will then turn around and paddle back to our dock. There are no rest stops planned for this trip but if we need to stop for any reason, we can and will at the best possible place for everyone.

• You!
• Water bottle filled with water
• Small coolers okay
• Snacks okay
• Dress for the weather – consider bringing a windbreaker (do not wear jeans or heavy cotton)
• Camera
• ID
• A headlamp or two (we have extras)
• Towel to sit on (optional)

• Kayak
• Life jacket
• Paddle
• Dry-bag (if available)
• Water, snacks and sunscreen are always on-hand
• Safe and fun atmosphere
• Guides and a safety boater(s) always accompany our guided tours

• Lightweight clothing (do not wear jeans or heavy cotton)
• Sandals, flips or shoes with a thin sole
• Rain jacket/windbreaker
• Sunglasses and/or hat

• We will check you in.
• We will outfit you with the proper kayak, life jacket and paddle.
• We will have introductions, review information and rules of the river.
• Life jackets must be worn at all times when you are near or on the river.

Please contact Beth at Milwaukee Kayak Company
(414) 301-2240

Historical Perspective:
Four miles long and a half-mile wide, the Menomonee River Valley extends from the Harley-Davidson Museum® to the Brewers Stadium. The Valley was formed by melting glaciers more than 10,000 years ago and, for thousands of years, the 1200-acre Menomonee River Valley was a wild rice marsh, home to American Indians. The name “Menomonee” is derived from the Algonquin “meno,” meaning good, and “min,” a term for grain or fruit.  Wild rice (menomin) flourished in the extensive wetlands of the Valley. By the 1700s, the Potawatomi were the primary residents of the region.  Ojibwa, Fox, Menominee, Ottawa, Sauk, Winnebago and others also lived here at various times. (Menomonee Valley Partners)

The name “Milwaukee” comes from an Algonquian word Millioke, meaning “Good”, “Beautiful” and “Pleasant Land” (cf. Potawatomi language minwaking, Ojibwe language ominowakiing) or “Gathering place [by the water]” (cf. Potawatomi language manwaking, Ojibwe language omaniwakiing)


June 18
5:15 pm-8:00 pm


Milwaukee Kayak Company – Main Location
318 SOUTH Water Street
Milwaukee, WI 53204 United States
(414) 301-2240


Milwaukee Kayak Company & Milwaukee County Historical Society
(414) 301-2240


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History Tour-Menomonee River / Thursday, June 18, 2020 @ 5:15pm-8pm
History Tour-Menomonee River Thursday, June 18, 2020 @ 5:15pm-8pm
$ 35.00
6 available

MKC - Main Location

318 S Water St,
Milwaukee, WI 53204
*Located inside Jerry's Docks
*Reservations encouraged

Schlitz Park

1555 North RiverCenter Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53212
Thank you for a great season!
See you in Spring.

Say Hello!

For Reservations or Rental Availability
Call or Text: (414) 301-2240