The Hidden Gems of Equipment Lending

Written by Danny Pirtle
    Friday, 07 September 2018
The Hidden Gems of Equipment Lending

Our equipment lending membership benefit is well known as a way for people to get outside by borrowing canoes, kayaks, bikes, and tents. However, there are so many more types of recreational equipment our members can borrow! Today, I’d like to highlight some of the “hidden gems” of our equipment lending program that you, our members, can borrow for free anytime!

Burley Trailer

We have a burley trailer that can attach to the back of our bikes. This is a great option if you have little ones that you want to bring along on a bike ride, but their legs aren’t long enough to reach the pedals yet. From our Riverside Park branch, you could borrow bikes and a burley trailer for a family bike ride down to Veteran’s Park or North Beach. From Menomonee Valley branch, you could go for a family bike ride along the Hank Aaron trail.


At Riverside Park, we have binoculars or a spotting scope that you can borrow. There is great birding in all three of our parks. At Menomonee Valley, you can look for sparrows in the prairie grasses or at Washington Park, you can look for Green Herons on the lagoon. Binoculars make it easy to enjoy birds up close without having to scare them away!


We have a backpacking hammock at Riverside Park that makes a perfect companion for your backcountry trip! A hammock is my favorite thing to take when I go backpacking. Walking for long stretches of the day with a heavy pack on your back is tiring. It’s great to be able to stop, find two trees, string up the hammock and take a nice, relaxing break before the trek continues onwards.

hammock blog 2018

Geocaching Kit

We have geocaching kits at Menomonee Valley and Riverside Park. Geocaching is another fun way to spend some time outside, this time in pursuit of hidden treasure. Geocaches are hidden throughout our parks. With the geocaching kit, the GPS unit will guide you directly to where the caches are hidden. Once you’re there, it’s up to you to find the cache itself and the treasure hidden inside. Good luck!

Garden Tools

Need a shovel, tiller, hoe, wheelbarrow, watering can, or some other tool to get your plants planted and harvested in your personal garden? We’ve got you covered at Riverside Park and Menomonee Valley. We have a collection of garden tools that are available for use by our community garden plot holders, but can also be borrowed by our members as part of the equipment lending benefit.

Lawn Games

Possibly my favorite hidden gems of the equipment lending program are the lawn games. At all three branches, we have a collection of games you can bring home and share with family and friends in your backyard or local park. Croquet, bocce ball, kubb, whiffleball, ladder-golf, giant yahtzee, giant jenga, giant connect-four … the list goes on. If you are having a get-together in your yard in the near future, why not borrow some lawn games for family-friendly entertainment for all! We also have disc golf sets which, as Terrance explains here, is a great activity for a family or large group.

A group of friends playing disc golf in the park

Photo: Some of our staff enjoying a game of disc golf in the park. 

Whether taking a boat out on the Menomonee River, going for a bike ride on the Oak Leaf trail, searching for hidden treasure in Riverside Park, playing beanbag toss at Washington Park, or so many more options, the equipment lending program has something for everyone. In order to get in on this program, sign up to become a member of UEC today

Check out these links for a complete list of all the equipment available to borrow in summer and winter:


Summer Equipment Lending


Winter Equipment Lending

Danny Pirtle

Danny Pirtle

Danny grew up on the shore of Lake Michigan in Racine, Wisconsin. After spending time studying the natural world (and seeing a whole lot of birds) in Minnesota, California, Indiana, and Australia, Danny returned to Milwaukee and is now the Animal Care Coordinator at the Urban Ecology Center. Danny’s favorite bird is the Pigeon Guillemot and their favorite nature sound is the trill of the American Toad. When away from UEC, Danny can be found walking with Sara (their partner) and Reydog (their dog) on the Oak Leaf Trail, hosting trivia downtown, or curled up with the latest Star Wars novel.


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