Exploring Tosa: Five Things to Do Outside in Wauwatosa

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Exploring Tosa: Five Things to Do Outside in Wauwatosa

It’s beautiful. It’s historic. It’s a truly unique kind of green space you have to see to believe.

And recently, it was decided that the isolated woods of oaks and aspen north of the Ronald McDonald House on Watertown Plank Road will be preserved.

Located where the old Milwaukee County insane asylum stood until the mid-1970s, County Executive Chris Able recently declared the woods would be designated as a park and protected from development.

Hundreds of residents supported the decision to maintain and preserve the land, which is north of the Ronald McDonald House on Watertown Plank Road and northwest of a parking lot at the Wisconsin Athletic Club.

There are dozens of hidden gems like the Asylum Woods throughout the city to explore.

Here are a few of our favorites:

Oak Leaf Trail

The Oak Leaf Trail has been described as a treasure of the Milwaukee County Park System. 

Voted the Best Urban Bike Trail in 2012 and 2013, the Oak Leaf features 118 miles of multiple loops through all the major parkways and parks in the system, including several in Wauwatosa, which make for amazing walking, hiking and biking options.

Hoyt Park, the Tosa Pool and the Landing

Each of these offers something unique for its visitors. Located at 1800 N. Swan Blvd, Wauwatosa resident Liz Paulsen said Hoyt Park and Tosa Pool are top destinations for her family.

“With three young boys, the park offers something for each one with its sandbox, swings, slides and monkey bars,” she said. “Located near the Menomonee River, the park also has hiking trails along the river with spots to toss rocks (a particular favorite for my boys) and attempt to catch frogs.”

The zero-depth area at the Tosa Pool is a draw for Paulsen’s littlest, who just turned four.

“The small slides and spray features can keep him entertained while his older brothers go into deeper water,” she said.

Pocket Parks and School Playgrounds

Pocket parks are common throughout the area, and many of the hidden gems for families with small children can be found on playgrounds at district buildings. Located at 12121 W. North Ave., the Fisher Building playground has a lot to offer, as does the playground near Wauwatosa West, 11400 W. Center St.

Currie Dog Park

Fairly recent expansions of this Milwaukee County facility have made the off-leash Currie Dog Park the place to be for Wauwatosa dog owners. 

The former fenced-in park is now home to small breeds, while a newer, adjacent and larger fenced-in area offers plenty of room for dogs of all sizes to explore with their owners. The park features wooded trails and several acres of space for dogs to run, chase and make new friends.

Just like the Asylum Park grounds, each of these places are beautiful and unique to explore.

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