Apply for a Permit or Purchase a Pass
So that everyone enjoys Milwaukee County Parks more safely, some activities do require permits.
- Dog Parks
- Disc Golf
- Right of Entry
Formal Photography Permit
Personal photography and videography are permitted in every Milwaukee County Park. Boerner Botanical Gardens, Mitchell Park Domes and Wehr Nature Center have different fees from other parks. A photography permit is required for all wedding, engagement, family and school pictures or any other posed photography session that uses a park location as a backdrop and/or requires special attire.
*plus per person admission fees
**plus per vehicle parking fees
Commercial Photography & Filming
A WI tax exemption form, permit and certificate of insurance are required for all commercial and advertising photography.
*plus per person admission fees
**plus per vehicle parking fees
A Vendor Permit Application is required if you are interested in operating a food and beverage, retail, recreational or other service-oriented concession, to collect donations, or to host a raffle or silent auction on Milwaukee County Parks property.
In addition to the base fee for a Milwaukee County Parks Vendor Permit, the vendor is responsible for fees for
- Services provided by Milwaukee County Parks (such as utilities, trash removal, etc.)
- Additional expenses (such as cleanup, repairs, landscaping and restoration, signage etc.)
- Additional permits required by Milwaukee County
- Municipal permit, license or inspection fees
Note: Separate Fee structures are used at Boerner Botanical Gardens, Mitchell Park Domes and Wehr Nature Center
Downtown & Lakefront Parks: Bradford Beach, Cathedral Square, Juneau, Lake, Pere Marquette, McKinley, Red Arrow, Veterans, Zeidler Union Square
All other park and parkway locations
Fees do not include sales tax
Other permit fees may apply
How to Apply
Submit your application at least 90 days prior to your requested event date.
Note that submission of an application is separate from the decision to award a permit.
IF your application is approved, fulfill any additional requirements and make full payment at least 30 days prior to your event.
Please note that group-size restrictions will likely impact the Special Events World even after Safer-at-Home Orders are lifted.
Within three business days of your submission, we will notify you of the results of the initial review, which checks availability of your requested location and date/time. If there is no conflict, your application will continue through the review process. If there is a conflict, we will suggest available dates/times or nearby locations.
Parks Permit Request
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I have a license/permit issued by the City of Milwaukee. Will I still need a Milwaukee County Parks Vendor Permit?
Yes, Milwaukee County Parks issues vendor permits for its property. If you sell food, commodities or services on any Milwaukee County Parks property without a vendor permit, you may be subject to a fine and confiscation of your products and/or equipment. Additional licenses from local municipalities may also be required by the Milwaukee County Parks.
What type of insurance is required? Certificate of Insurance (COI):
Many applicants are required to submit a “Certificate of Insurance” in the amount of $1,000,000 of general liability coverage naming Milwaukee County Parks as an additional insured. Milwaukee County Parks must be listed as the Certificate Holder with the address listed as 9480 Watertown Plank Road, Wauwatosa, WI 53326.
Can I operate my business during a Special Event in the Park where I am permitted?
Not without prior approval; Seasonal Vendors cannot sell during Special Events in the Park unless approved by Milwaukee County Parks and the event organizer. This includes July 3rd and July 4th events in all Milwaukee County Parks.
Geocaching is a popular outdoor "scavenger hunt" that uses a global positioning system (GPS) device and internet-published coordinates to locate a virtual or physical cache. A virtual cache may be an amazing view; a physical cache may be a trinket or log book in a plastic container hidden under some leaves. Geocaching is an acceptable activity in the Parks when all the guidelines are followed.
To place a physical or virtual cache, you must have prior written permission from the Milwaukee County Parks Natural Areas Coordinator. For each cache location, complete a separate Geocache Permit Application and provide a map (a Google Earth or similar map).
Complete Geocache Permit Application
Boating / Launch Permits
Daily and seasonal launch permits are good for use at ANY of the Milwaukee County Parks launch sites, during the Official Boating Season, May through October.
- McKinley Marina
- Bender Park
- Riverfront Launch
- South Shore Park (NOTE: South Shore Launch Pier Availability for 2021 to be Determined)
Single day passes can be purchased at on-site pay stations at each boat launch. If you do not have a launch pass, you will be ticketed.
Get Details on Launch Permits!
Buy Your Launch Permit NOW!
Buy a single-use pass or an annual (calendar year) Disc Golf Pass to get unlimited play on all Milwaukee County Disc Golf Courses.
Full Disc Golf Courses
- Brown Deer
- Root River
Free Short/Practice Disc Golf Courses
- Milwaukee County Sports Complex
- Doctors Park
- Kops Park
- Wil-o-Way Grant
- Wil-o-Way Underwood
Get Details on Disc Golf Courses & Passes!
Players under 16 are not required to purchase a pass.
Purchase a Disc Golf Pass NOW!
Apply for a right-of-entry permit for utility work or other construction-related impacts to parkland. The Parks Department requires that any outside party seeking to access and/or impact park property for a project must first obtain permission in the form of a Right-of-Entry Permit signed by the Parks Director or his/her designee.
Before a right-of-entry request is reviewed, all applicants must explain the alternatives that were considered, and why access across parkland has been determined to be unavoidable. If there is an alternative that does not impact parkland, please select that option. Permittees are required to decontaminate their equipment before arriving and/or leaving a project area to prevent the spread of invasive species.
A Certificate of Insurance with Milwaukee County listed as an additional insured must be furnished with this application. Note that Right-of-Entry Permits may include a fee of up to $10,000, depending on the impact and duration of the proposal. Permits are granted at the discretion of the Parks Director, and submitting an application does not imply an approval will be granted.
Apply for a Right-of-Entry Permit
Moratorium Policy on Vegetation Management During the Bird Nesting Season
NOTE: The nesting season is not the same for all species, and not all sites will have nesting birds present during the entire nesting season.
Get Details on the Moratorium Policy