MILWAUKEE — At the recently renovated Southgate Playfield, Domoni Banks and Joshua Velarde competed step-for-step in “Just Dance” on Nintendo Switch. The two youngsters were among the first to experience Milwaukee Recreation’s new mobile video game van, which offers a different gaming experience for kids used to playing inside.

What You Need To Know

  • Milwaukee Recreation summer playgrounds opened for the season Monday, June 21

  • A new video game van joins the list of roving activities at 18 Milwaukee playgrounds

  • Many playgrounds offer free meals for kids ages 6-17

  • Splash pads and wading pools are now open

“It’s really weird,” Domoni said. “But it feels great to feel the air really breathe on you.”

Aidan Galindo is the MKE REC video game van play leader. He debuted the mobile gaming setup at Lyons Park before packing up the three TVs and Switch consoles and making the two-mile drive at Southgate Playfield. He said he might have the best job in the rec department.

“We’re going park to park playing video games with kids,” Galindo said. “I couldn’t really ask for more. It’s a great job.”

Rick Knack has been a park and playground supervisor for almost 40 years. He said kids should be flocking to outdoor activities this summer after spending much of last summer unable to socialize during the pandemic.

“We’ve been waiting for a long time and we’re so anxious,” Knack said on the opening day for MKE REC summer playgrounds. “We just need more people to come out and be with us.”

Splash pads and wading pools also opened for the season Monday at rec playgrounds. The popular Wacky Wheels Skate Van also started its tour of 18 parks, many of which offer free meals for kids ages 6 to 17.

For the full schedule of Milwaukee Recreation’s roving playground activities, click here.