BFK News

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Kids and their families are invited to come celebrate their own culture, explore informational texts, and experience local native stories and traditions through Celebrating Culture and Community Week with Molly of Denali sponsored by TDS.

This week-long event will take place during Native American Heritage Month from November 7 – 12 and will include daily programming in the museum as well as special after-hours events – all with special guest Molly of Denali!

Daily Programming

Every day during Celebrating Culture and Community Week with Molly of Denali, we will have programming in the museum at 10am and 2pm. These programs are included in daily admission. No pre-registration required.

10am – Native American Storyteller

  • With the support of a Wisconsin Humanities Grant, the BFK is partnering with First Nations Outreach to curate a series of storytellers. Through daily storytimes, these local tribal members will share a variety of traditional stories as we explore the many facets of indigenous culture and folklore in our area.

Click the link to read more about the local tribal members who will be visiting the BFK for daily storytimes.

2pm – Activity with Molly of Denali

  • Molly of Denali will join us for a themed activity based off her PBS Kids show every day. 
    • Tuesday: Animal Tracks
    • Wednesday: Molly’s Recipe Book
    • Thursday: Hand Drums
    • Friday: Beading Art
    • Saturday: Dream Catchers
    • Sunday: Molly’s Bird Field Guide

Special After-Hours Events

Molly of Denali will also be joining us throughout the week for special after-hours events at the BFK. Registration is required for all events.

Tuesday, November 7 – PBS Educator Resource Event

  • PBS Screening of Electa Quinney: Mohican Teacher & Mentor – An Event for Educators is an evening designed for formal and informal educators on Tuesday, November 7 from 4:30 – 6:00pm. They will have the opportunity to view the screening of the PBS documentary, Electa Quinney: Mohican Teacher & Mentor, access resources offered by PBS, and learn about engagement opportunities for educators and their students offered at Building for Kids. Childcare is available for school-age children.
  • Click here to register!

Saturday, November 11 – Playdate with Molly of Denali

  • Join us Saturday, November 11 from 5 – 7pm for Molly of Denali’s final night at the BFK. We will celebrate with food, stories, and lots of opportunities to meet Molly! Plus, enjoy exclusive after-hours playtime in the museum.
  • Click here to register!
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The BFK is excited to open a new exhibit, Food to Grow sponsored by Children’s Wisconsin, in Fall 2023!

In this new exhibit, kids and their grown-ups can engage in the whole food system as they explore concepts of food choice, food equity, and the cultural significance of food.

Visitors can check out the:

Farm – Milk a cow, collect some eggs, and harvest your crop at the Farm.

Food Pantry – Stop by the Food Pantry and pick up some essentials from milk to rice to chicken and more.

Farm Market – Pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables at the Farm Market. Weigh out the produce and pay at the cash register.

Kitchen – Prepare a meal with a healthy variety of ingredients. Take a look at the recipe book to learn about different meals and the array of ingredients used to make them.

Table – Enjoy a delicious and nutritious meal around the Table with family and friends!

After collecting food from the Farm, Food Pantry, and Farm Market, kids can bring their grocery bag to the Kitchen where the exhibit will ensure they have a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and dairy. Then, it will also recommend a recipe to try that uses the ingredients already in their bag.

Grand Opening Celebration

Join us for the grand opening of Food to Grow on Friday, October 6 from 4 – 8pm. To celebrate the new exhibit, we’re hosting a free admission night sponsored by Children’s Wisconsin. Come check out the new exhibit, participate in themed activities, and enjoy a night of free family fun!

Food to Grow is sponsored by Children’s Wisconsin with additional support from Schreiber Foods and the Fox Cities Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.

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The Building for Kids will be opening a new exhibit, Follow the Beat to East Asia, on Wednesday, July 12 at 10am!

In this exhibit, families can explore the role percussion music plays in the cultures of China, Japan, and South Korea. Featuring authentic drums and other percussion instruments, Follow the Beat to East Asia encourages movement and performance. Play a tune with chimes, blocks, gongs, and more in the Chinese section of the exhibit. Then, tap out a beat on Japanese taiko drums or make daitokuji bowls sing. In the South Korea section, practice your K-Pop dance moves or jam out on janggu drums!

Join us for the exhibit opening on Wednesday, July 12 at 10am. We’ll have a special opening ceremony, activities with our friends from the Northeast Wisconsin Chinese Association, and a treat to celebrate.

The Follow the Beat to East Asia exhibit will be in our Exhibit Gallery located near Station 99 and Construction Junction. This exhibit will be open through Summer 2024.

This exhibit was created by the Freeman Foundation as part of their Asian Culture Exhibit Series.

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You’re invited to the 14th annual BFK Children’s Parade presented by ThedaCare on Wednesday, July 26!

During this annual summer tradition, kids and their grown-ups stroll through the streets of Downtown Appleton dressed in themed costumes and non-motorized floats (bikes, wagons, strollers, etc.). Families are encouraged to brainstorm their theme together with costumes often ranging from old Halloween costumes to hand-made floats to simple group themes (like a day at the beach)!

Participants are welcome to arrive at Houdini Plaza any time between 5:50 – 6:15pm and will be sent down College Avenue in waves. Awards will be given by our panel of judges for creativity, imagination, and confidence.

Then after the parade, join us for a party in City Park, where we’ll host free activities and performances. Plus, grab a delicious snack or dinner from a variety of food trucks from the Fox Valley Food Truck Association. 

Sign up your family or put together a group of families from your school, daycare, work, or any other organization.

This is a free event!

Click here to register!

Or if you’re interested in signing up a group, use our group registration form here.

The BFK Children’s Parade presented by ThedaCare is one of the signature events of U.S. Venture Children’s Week. This community-wide celebration of kids will take place July 23 – 29 and offers a week full of free or reduced-cost activities for the whole family.

Click here to learn more!

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The Building for Kids is excited to once again be hosting Summer Explorer Camps! Campers will have the opportunity to build new skills, explore different weekly themes, and, of course, play, all while making new friends along the way.

We’ll be offering 8 themed weeks of camp, starting in July. Weekly themes include Robotics & Coding, Sculpture & Pottery, Music Makers, and more. We’ll also host a camp all around Appleton’s annual U.S. Venture Children’s Week and the BFK Children’s Parade. Click here to see the weekly theme schedule. Sign up for one week or all eight for a discounted price.

Each week will run Tuesday – Friday with both half-day camps (4K – 4th grade graduates) and full-day camps (Kindergarten – 4th grade graduates) available. Every day, campers will participate in a combination of facilitated programming based on the week’s theme and open-ended play around the museum.

  • Full-Days (Kindergarten – 4th grade)
    • 1 Week: Members = $144 or Non-Members = $180
    • All 8 Weeks: Members = $1,008 or Non-Members = $1,296
  • Half-Days (4K – 4th grade)
    • 1 Week: Members = $72 or Non-Members = $90
    • All 8 Weeks: Members = $504 or Non-Members = $648

Click here to learn more!


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Have you ever wished for some kid-free time playing with the crane? Or have you been looking for an idea for your next date night or get together with your friends?

Join us for Art Jam!, an adults-only (21+), after-hours event at the Building for Kids on Saturday, February 25 from 6-9pm!

Participate in art-themed activities such as a collaborative art piece on which all attendees can leave their mark as well as an art scavenger hunt that will lead attendees all over the museum. We’ll also have live music by local duo, Natural Satellite. Plus, all of our exhibits will be open for play!

Enjoy the event’s signature beer, “Paint Water” from Appleton Beer Factory or a drink from the cash bar. Bagelicious will also be catering the event. 

This event is $20 per person for members and $30 per person for non-members. Each admission includes a free drink ticket for a drink of your choice.

Pre-registration is required by end of day on Wednesday, February 22.

Click here to register!

Dec 19
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On Saturday, December 31, the Building for Kids will be hosting BFK New Year sponsored by First Impressions Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics. We’ll be ringing in the New Year with fun, family-friendly activities planned throughout the day. 

We’ll celebrate 2023 with countdowns, ball drops, confetti tosses, and parades around the museum at 10am, 12pm, and 2pm.

“New Year at the Building for Kids is a great way to welcome 2023 with the whole family,” said Oliver Zornow, Executive Director of the BFK. “If you have kids (or event adults) who won’t quite make it until midnight, we’ve got you covered with all the fun and excitement of midnight at various times throughout the day.”

In addition, the BFK will be hosting New Year themed activities throughout the museum. Families can make their own noise makers and hats in the Studio and can replicate famous architecture from around the world and build their own ball drop in the Innovation Lab.

No pre-registration required. Regular admission applies. We hope you’re able to come celebrate the New Year with us!

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Since 1992, the Building for Kids has served as a safe place to learn, grow, and explore for families in our local community and beyond, impacting generations. We believe in the power of play, and research continues to demonstrate that intergenerational, community-based play provides a singular opportunity to support cognitive and physical development, buffer against toxic stress, and build social-emotional resilience.

As we celebrate thirty years of play, we are looking to our community to ensure that we can continue to invest in our shared future through our Building for Tomorrow’s Kids Campaign. 


The campaign is broken down into three pillars:

  • Investment in Today – Investing in the core infrastructure of our facility to ensure continued effective and efficient operations
  • Stability for Tomorrow – Forming a facility investment fund to support future capital needs
  • Sustainability for the Next Generation – Investing in two permanent endowment funds that support general operations and our Access for All scholarship programs

As stewards of one of the largest children’s museums in Wisconsin, we all have a role to play to ensure this fundamental community resource continues to make an impact for generations to come. We currently have a $30,000 matching opportunity from the J. J. Keller Foundation for contributions made to support our Access for All scholarships which provide critical opportunities for play-based learning to families facing financial barriers.

To give, visit give.buildingforkids.org/tomorrow.

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Happy birthday to us!

The Building for Kids is turning 30 this year, and you are invited to celebrate with us. 

Keep reading below to learn about the different ways you can join in the fun!

BFK Birthday Bash!

Saturday, November 5: 9am – 4pm

Your family is invited to our 30th birthday party! We’re celebrating with birthday-themed activities, face painting, goody bags, and a happy birthday confetti throw at noon. Plus, all who attend will be entered for a chance to win a FREE membership to the BFK!

Admission is free for BFK members and $9.50 per person for non-members.

No pre-registration required.

Party Like Its 1992!

Saturday, November 5: 7pm – 10pm

Where were you in 1992? From grunge to pop, flannels to fanny packs – you’re invited to rewind and celebrate all things ’90s with this adults-only (21 and older) event!

Join us for ’90s activities such as:

  • Pizza Hut Buffet

  • Build Your Own Cereal Bowl: Assortment of your favorite cereals!

  • Jolly Good Soda Bar

  • Cash Bar
  • ’90s Fashion Contest

  • Party and Arcade Games

  • DJ

This event is $30 per person. Please register by November 1. 

Everyone is also invited to attend an afterparty at Player 2 Arcade Bar right down the street on College Ave.

Click here to register!


30th Birthday Membership Sale

Saturday, November 5 – Saturday, November 12

We are so grateful to all of our members who have helped us get where we are today, so to show our appreciation, we offering a week-long membership sale. Anyone who purchases a family, grandparent, or dual membership during the week will receive a discount of 15% off!

Current members can take advantage of this discount too! Memberships purchased during the sale won’t start until after any current memberships expire.

Memberships can be purchased online, over the phone, or in person at the museum. For online purchases, enter code BIRTHDAY at checkout.

You can learn more about our memberships here! 


We look forward to celebrating with you!

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You’re invited to join us for the 13th annual BFK Children’s Parade presented by ThedaCare on Wednesday, July 27!

Kids and their families are encouraged to stroll down College Avenue in themed costumes and non-motorized floats in a parade all about them. Families and friends are encouraged to come together to brainstorm their themes and create their own costumes and floats out of wagons, bikes, and strollers.

The parade will kick-off in Houdini Plaza across from the Building for Kids, where we’ll be joined by special guests, Pete the Cat and Clifford! We’ll leave Houdini Plaza in waves starting at 6pm and make our way along the parade route to City Park. Awards will be given by our panel of judges for creativity, imagination, and confidence.

After the parade, families are invited to stay for a FREE concert. A variety of food trucks will also be present with delicious treats and snacks.

This is a FREE event, but registration is required.

Click here to register!

The BFK Children’s Parade presented by ThedaCare is one of the signature events of U.S. Venture Children’s Week. This community-wide celebration of kids will take place July 24 – 30 and offers a week full of free or reduced-cost activities for the whole family.

Click here to learn more!

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