Warm weather brings outdoor activities and open patios

CREATED Jun. 11, 2013 - UPDATED: Jun. 11, 2013

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MILWAUKEE - Temperatures are finally ticking up toward normal after a rainy and cold spring.

Disc golfer Angelo Arenal who was finally out on the course Tuesday after cooler temperatures kept him and others away.

"Very cold, even for Wisconsin!," he said. "I wasn't expecting it but days like this, you just hope that it keeps going."

Because then the time spent outside can continue. We’ve only had six days hit 80 degrees so far this year but gardeners like Bekki Willems-Solc are just fine with the rain and cooler temperatures,

"It's been nice to have the balance of the warm days with the cool days," she said.

Even the smallest green thumbs, like Bekki’s two-year-old daughter, can agree.

"She likes digging in the dirt and poking around and finding what's out there," Willems-Solc added.

Plus, the outdoors offer a pretty nice bonus.

"It's free, you just come out here and you just come out here and throw a frisbee around, walk around the park, there's nothing wrong with that," she explained.

One hidden gem of nature may be the perfect way to spend the day without spending too much.

"Our programs range, you can come visit the Urban Ecology Center for free at any time, you can come visit our animals, our animal room on weekends for free anytime, if you want to learn how to rock climb, there's a little fee," Urban Ecology Center’s Senior Director of Education & Strategic Planning Beth Heller explained.

Paying members can get all kinds of summer-fun benefits: from bike and canoe rentals to camping equipment.

"Even in the heart of the city, we are all connected to nature and this is a great way to learn about how we are connected,” Heller says.

Of course if the weather gets too hot, you can always seek refuge inside the Urban Ecology Center to learn about some of Wisconsin's native species like Edward, the Tiger Salamander.

Many people in southeastern Wisconsin couldn’t wait until this warmer weather arrived, especially local businesses who were having a hard time with the colder weather.

Nas Musa wasn’t a fan of the spring, he owns Casablanca on Brady Street.

“We staff five employees just for the patio and when it starts raining we have to send them home and when it stops raining they come back and it's just a nightmare,” Musa says.

Casablanca completed a new outdoor patio last October but today was the first time it opened to the public.

“We were anticipating in May but of course with the weather being like this," he said. "Today is actually the best day to open it, so hopefully it stays like this.”

If it doesn’t, Casablanca will be ready; they are spending money so they don’t lose potential patrons, “We're actually anticipating getting more heaters on the patio as well,” Musa states.

Lake Michigan is taking plenty of time to warm up as well, but as the temperatures turn around, so do lakefront visitors. Noah Wing at the Gifts of Wing Kite Store has noticed a flock of people to the water.

“Spring has been a little cool but we're excited to have people coming back down now, it's great to have the sunny weather again," Wing said.

And the customers who come with it.

"I think we're more than making it up for it right now," Wing says.

Businesses just hope that with the warmer weather, sales will start to soar.