The Kooky Cooky House, Milwaukee’s own gingerbread-making marvel of the 1960s and 1970s, was recreated and opened as part of the holiday floral show at The Domes.

The Kooky Cooky House will be on display through January 1, 2018, while the holiday show will run through January 7. Decades ago, crowds would gather during the holiday season at the Capitol Court open-air shopping mall to see a robot at the controls of Santa’s cookie factory.

The process included toy trucks making deliveries, boxing gloves kneading the dough, and rolling pins flattening the dough. A water wheel and a toy steam engine were used to power additional steps in the process. While only rubber cookies emerged from the oven, real cookies were handed out to the kids.

“We were overjoyed when Discovery World contacted us to see if we would be interested in displaying the recreated indoor exhibit at The Domes,” said Sandy Folaron, Director of The Domes. “It’s so much fun to bring together the Kooky Cooky House with the family tradition of visiting The Domes over the holidays. I’m sure we’ll see many Baby Boomers reminiscing and sharing the experience with their children or grandchildren.”

Discovery World worked with local movie critic Gino Salomone to recreate the exhibit. When Capitol Court was demolished, Salomone rescued pieces from the Kooky Cooky House. Using photos, film footage, and Salomone’s memorabilia, Discovery World recreated the magical holiday experience. For the past three years, the House was on display at Discovery World during the holiday season, and vintage toys were included in the display to give parents and grandparents a trip down memory lane.

“As we celebrate the holidays, we also have a major construction project underway at Discovery World. Santa will still be here, and many other great holiday traditions continue, but we simply don’t have any space to create a ‘home’ for the Kooky Cooky House this year,” said Discovery World CEO Joel Brennan. “We couldn’t think of a better way to live this season of giving and sharing than to work with a great partner to find a special temporary home for this uniquely Milwaukee landmark.”

Coloring sheets featuring illustrations from the original Kooky Cooky House coloring books will be available for free during the run of the show. The Kooky Cooky House exhibit is included in the price of regular admission to The Domes.

“I’m thrilled that the Kooky Cooky House is being showcased at The Domes this year. If it was only a memory, you need to see it in the beautiful setting at The Domes,” Salomone said. “Relive your childhood memories at Capitol Court and make new ones with your family.”

Milwaukee County Parks

Gino Salomone