Kids’ soccer game in the morning meant a short hike in the afternoon. So lucky to have this hidden gem close to home!
I parked and immediately noticed the Urban Ecology Center (UEC) building, made with a mix of wood and brick it has architectural interest to me. As I crossed the bridge, I took in the view of the UEC, Oak Leaf Trail, and the path to Riverside Park. I had been here with school for many field trips, so it’s hard to believe I never had been there on my own. I was greeted by a mural that was both beautiful and thought-provoking. The details used recycled material of cans and plastic bottles and caps. Installed in 2016, the plant growth near helped it blend into the natural environment. I started to make my way down the hill and immediately felt deep in a forest. I wasn’t exactly sure which way to go, but all paths seemed to beckon me to go down.
I was taking in the forest around me, looked up, and saw this HUGE bird. I truly wasn’t sure what it was until I shared a photo with my mom and she thought a hen, female turkey. It barely moved the whole time I watched it and Maxie was clueless about its existence. I was happy to show a fellow hiker who admitted he would have missed it.
“Be like a river. Be open. Flow.” Julie Connor
Let it Flow
I finally made it down to the Milwaukee River. It’s wide at this point and I just took it in. This was the walk I was looking for when I came here. I started heading east towards the bridge and could hear the river make a small descent. Graffiti under the bridge reminded me I was still in the city. It was a conflicting feeling seeing the graffiti, here I was by a river, trying to take in all the nature, but was distracted by the pictures and writing. Nature won and I gave in to the sounds and watching the river flow by.
King of the Hill
Remember that game?? That’s what I thought of when Maxie hopped up on this huge rock. She stood up there posing and acting like she owned the place. I think she loves being high and getting a different view.
More graffiti appeared on old walls and foundations as the trail went on. It’s an interesting site with the river on one side and colorful art and words on the other side. Once again I had the nature vs. art conflict but this time I was more drawn to the graffiti.
The Way Back
A duck couple entertained me for a bit as the male splashed a bit in the river and the female stood by on a branch. We found an area with direct access to the river and Maxie dipped in a paw in then backed away a bit. She’s curious about water, but still unsure she wants to go in. There was still so much to explore in the Park and UEC, but it was time to end our short adventure.
And that, my friends, is today’s Tail from the Trail.
Trail: Mix of wood chips, dirt, rock
Trail type: Out and Back
Parking: Parking lot as well as street parking
1500 E. Park Place, Milwaukee WI 53211
Bathroom facilities: The Urban Ecology Center was closed for COVID when we hiked. Call or check their website for current hours of operation. There are bathrooms available when the building is open.
Dog Friendly: Yes, must be leashed at all times. BYOB Bring Your Own (Poop) Bag! I did not see any bag dispenser. Please carry out your dog’s poop!
I have been to the Urban Ecology Center (UEC) numerous times on field trips through the school where I work. They are AWESOME! They provide transportation and the people are so great with the kids and make learning fun!