Kid-Friendly Fun in Michigan: Things to Do in Michigan With Kids
If you’re looking for the best things to do in Michigan with kids, you’re in luck!
There’s no question that Michigan is made for kids. From the Upper Peninsula to the lower peninsula, the Great Lakes State is the ultimate children’s playground, a family friendly place filled with loads of amazing outdoor attractions, and some pretty cool indoor ones, too.
If you’re planning to vacation in Michigan with kids, need a Michigan summer vacation getaway, or simply need some fun spring break activities, look no further than these great kid-friendly Michigan adventures. Each one is sure to leave your children smiling, and we’re pretty sure you’ll be smiling too.
Read on to learn the 25 best things to do with kids in Michigan.
Things to Do with Kids in Southeast Michigan
Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum
220 E Ann St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
This is the perfect place for kids in Michigan to get their hands on just about anything. Located right in downtown Ann Arbor in a former fire station, this interactive museum is as delightful for children as it is for adults.
Enjoy features such as the permanent H2O exhibit with a wide variety of hands-on water activities; the Keep Smiling exhibit which encourages oral health; Block Party, which features stackable foam blocks; the Tornado Vortex, which teaches about the weather, and more.
All of these exhibits will engage both you and your child, either through building something, observing something, and experiencing something they’ve never experienced before.
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Legoland Discovery Center
4240 Baldwin Rd, Auburn Hills, MI 48326
If you have a current or future Lego builder in your group, head to LEGOLAND® Discovery Center in Auburn Hills.
It’s the ultimate indoor LEGO® playground, where families with young kids can build, create and play together. At LEGOLAND Discovery Center, kids can enjoy two interactive LEGO rides, a 4D cinema showing 4 different movies, MINILAND—where dozens of Detroit-area landmarks are built entirely out of LEGO bricks. There’s also a Creative workshop, where they can take a class from an expert builder, Build & Test play zones, and more!
Uncover an incredible indoor world where LEGO experiences and rides join forces with hands-on creation to make a fun-packed family playdate.
Jefferson and East Grand Blvd., Detroit, Michigan
Did you know there’s an island oasis in southeast Michigan filled with kid-friendly fun? Belle Isle Park in Detroit is jam-packed with things to do all year long. Whether you want to visit animals at the zoo; peek in at some native Michigan fish at the aquarium; or simply enjoy the great outdoors by fishing, biking, or hiking, Belle Isle has it all.
Enjoy a family picnic by the Detroit River, or swing off the monkey bars at one of many of the Belle Isle playgrounds.
If you’re looking for options that do not include an admission charge, look no further than the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory. Over 100 years old, the conservatory homes many exotic and tropical plants for your kids to ogle at, and we’ll bet you’ll do the same.
PRO-TIP: Bring your camera: there is an eagle that calls the island home and there’s a good chance you might catch a glimpse.
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Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford
20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124
It’s a given that little kids love trains, and most big ones, do, too. At Henry Ford’s living history museum, you can create memories as you ride a steam-powered rail line around the Village’s 80 acres. You can ride in an old-fashioned Model-T, too.
Greenfield Village, part of the Henry Ford Museum just outside of Detroit, is full of historical landmarks to introduce the kids to science and industry in the most inspiring way possible.
From the Menlo Park laboratory where Thomas Edison first had his light bulb moment, to the Wright brothers’ bicycle shop where they made their dreams of flying planes a reality, to the Rosa Parks bus where she made a stand for civil rights, this historical site is a must-see for any child’s Michigan bucket list.
Don’t miss a dizzyingly fun time on a carousel made out of gorgeously carved animals that you (and your kids) can sit on. Greenfield Village is also equipped with a playground, and they celebrate each holiday with special kid-friendly events.
PRO-TIP: The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation is one of the top museums in the country and features some top-rated permanent and traveling exhibits. A favorite at this science museum is the Your Place in Time exhibit, where you can see everyday artifacts that defined us over the past century.
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SEA LIFE Aquarium
4316 Baldwin Rd, Auburn Hills, MI 48326
Bring your family to visit SEA LIFE, Michigan’s largest Aquarium, and experience some ocean magic. Come face-to-fin with over 250 species and 2,000+ creatures including sharks, rays, and green sea turtles.
Get hands-on with a ‘splash’-tacular sea star or sticky anemone at the Touchpool and then walk through Michigan’s only 180-degree ocean tunnel! ‘Sea’ what other amazing discoveries you and the kids will uncover when you visit SEA LIFE Aquarium.
Detroit Institute of Art
5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202
Located in the heart of the Motor City, the Detroit Institute of Art is one of the biggest and most significant collections of carefully crafted art in the USA, with over 100 art galleries.
Recognized for stellar collections of American paintings from the 19th century and Dutch, Flemish, and Italian paintings from the Renaissance through the Baroque period, this art museum is an easy spot to visit with kids.
They’ll love climbing the spiral staircase to the medieval gallery, where they can suit suits of armor and other amazing artifacts of old.
PRO-TIP: Make plans to visit the sculpture park at the nearby College for Creative Studies, located at 460 W Baltimore St, Detroit, MI 48202.
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Upland Hills Farm
481 Lake George Rd, Oxford, MI 48370
Get in a nice farm visit with horses, cows, pigs, and sheep, at this southeast Michigan farm. You can also experience some awesome seasonal events like their spectacular harvest festival in the fall.
The great thing about Upland Hills Farm is that they also offer summer camps for kids: a perfect option for kids who love animals and the great outdoors of Michigan.
PRO-TIP: The children’s petting zoo here is really top-notch. The animals are well-tended and care-for, which makes the experience even more pleasant for all.
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Peppa Pig World of Play
4316 Baldwin Rd, Auburn Hills, MI 48326
Peppa Pig World of Play is an indoor play center that’s perfect for families with young children. You and your little piggies will enjoy exploring (and playing in!) more than a dozen free-roaming play areas, all lovingly inspired by the cherished TV series.
This indoor attraction for families is located at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets and is perfect for children ages 1-year-old to 8-years-old. You’ll explore 14 oink-tastic play areas: Peppa’s Treehouse, Rebecca Rabbit’s Underground Adventure, George’s Fort, Granddad Dog’s Garage, Madame Gazelle’s School Bus, and more!
Parmenter’s Northville Cider Mill
714 Base Line Rd, Northville, MI 48167
Cider Mills are the perfect place to take the kids on a chilly Autumn day in Michigan. A special treat here is watching how the cider gets pressed through the viewing window.
Afterward, you can enjoy a nice steaming cup of hot cider with their homemade donuts, or choose from one of the other tasty treats.
PRO-TIP: Visiting Michigan in the fall? Michigan is home to some amazing Apple Orchards and Cider Mills, and many offer a funday for the entire family with petting zoos, hayrides, games and more.
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University of Michigan Campus
500 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
The University of Michigan is much more than just a University, in fact, and exploring this iconic campus offers a fun time for all ages. Get in for free at the Natural History Museum and catch a planetarium viewing under the stars.
Check out exhibits such as the whale evolution exhibit to see how whales have evolved over thousands of years. After the planetarium check out one of the observatories and see the stars and planets for yourself with your own eyes.
Michigan Science Center
5020 John R St, Detroit, MI 48202
Located in the heart of Metro Detroit, this Science Center is perfect for educating your kids in a fun and interactive way. Check out the countless galleries to educate your kids on anything from space, and nanoscience to the science behind the making of steel.
PRO-TIP: Equipped with a planetarium and many other theaters you can sit back and relax while a booming voice teaches you everything you need to know about what you are seeing.
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Things to Do with Kids in West Michigan
Millenium Park in Grand Rapids
1415 Maynard Ave SW, Walker, MI 49534
Millennium Park is a popular spot for family outings and fun activities, and for good reason. There is plenty to do throughout the park’s 1,400 acres and you can easily spend an entire day here.
With endless miles of hiking trails, a beach, splash pads, fishing ponds, boat rental, park playgrounds and more, this is a top spot for outdoor adventure in Kent County.
Nelis’ Dutch Village
12350 James St, Holland, MI 49424
This Dutch theme park celebrating the Holland area’s rich connection to the Netherlands will delight both you and your kids. You’ll find a replica Dutch Village, a petting farm, a carousel and other rides, too. There’s also a store, and The Hungry Dutchman restaurant whee you’ll find Dutch Food specialties like Banket, a traditional Dutch almond pastry, that you and your kids will love.
Bumbleberry Acres Farms
6906 103rd Ave, South Haven, MI 49090
Whether it’s blueberry season or pumpkin season, both you and the kids will find someting fun at this cute U-pick farm in South Haven. Ths kids can visit minature farm animals, dig for treasures, ride on a barrel train or play in the corn maze.
Binder Park Zoo
7400 Division Dr, Battle Creek, MI 49014
One of the largest zoos in America, the Wild Africa exhibit is the star here. Make sure everyone is wearing walking shoes, because you’ll follow a half-mile trail (there’s a tram, too) up a hill, where you’ll find giraffes that you can hand-feed. Be prepared: the aniamls are in a Savannah-like setting where the animals have free-range, so you might not see everything up close.
Silver Lake Sand Dunes
Silver Lake Sand Dunes is one of the top travel destinations in Michigan, with endless acrs of sandy dunes leading to a beautiful Lake Michigan shoreline. Your older kids wil love traveling the dunes on an ATV: you can bring your own or rent one.
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Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
9922 W Front St, Empire, MI 49630
It may well be one of the most beautiful spots in the world, and you won’t find better beaches or more perfectly aqua blue freshwater anywhere in the country.
The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is the perfect place for Michigan families to enjoy any activities that require being outdoors. Head for dunes and Lake Michigan, for sure, but don’t miss the Crystal River.
If you have younger children, the Crystal River is the perfect place to float down in a kayak or a tube. The water is only as deep as two feet in most places, and is safe for most first-time kayakers or tubers.
Hike up the Sleeping Bear Sand Dune Climb, and then sprint down and jump in the cool Lake Michigan waters to off rinse the sand from your feet.
PRO-TIP: Relax after a busy day exploring the dunes on a drive through the seven-mile-long Pierce Stocking Drive, home to the iconic Dune Overlook.
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Great Wolf Lodge
3575 N U.S. 31 S, Traverse City, MI 49684
Looking for more than just a day trip with your kids and family? Look no further than the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City for your family vacation. It’s one of the top indoor water parks in Michgan, and the bonus is that it is located in one of Michigan’s best travel destinations, Traverse City.
You can visit this lodge any time of year: the indoor waterpark includes splash pads, as well as many more fun activities for old and young alike. It’s the perfect place for indoor play and the perfect place to make lasting memories with your kids.
PRO-TIP: Avalanche Bay indoor waterpark at Boyne Mountain is another must-visit Michigan water park. Avalanche Bay is open year-round, and both and the kdis will enjoy relaxing in the water after a day of skiing.
Michigan’s Adventure Amusement and Water Park
4750 Whitehall Rd, Muskegon, MI 49445
The largest amusement park in Michigan, your kids are sure to have a fun-filled day at this park, whether they stick to roller coasters or they prefer the water park features.
Check out their new Camp Snoopy that features five new rides based on the characters in the Peanuts comics.
Need some energy to walk around the amusement park and spend some time standing in line for the rides? You’ll find many dining options at this park as well: find everything from pretzels, Dippin’ Dots, and ice cream, to full meals.
PRO-TIP: You’re just minutes away from P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, one of the most beautiful state parks in Michigan, with one of the best interpretive nature centers, too. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit. Why not make it a beach day and spend your time splashing on the shores of Lake Michigan?
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Mystery Town USA
200 S Nicolet St, Mackinaw City, MI 49701
This is such a fun place to take the kiddos to immerse themselves into some of the greatest mysteries of all time.
With physical experiences based on mysteries such as The City of Atlantis, Area 51, the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, and more your kids will not know the difference between reality and the mysteries that unfold before their very eyes in this sideshow attraction.
Is it a tourist trap? Maybe, but it’s also some good, old-fashioned fun for all.
PRO-TIP: Pack a picnic lunch and unwind in the Alexander Henry park, where you can gaze in wonder at the amazing Mackinac Bridge and perhaps inspire a future architect or two.
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Things to Do in the Upper Peninsula with Kids
Kitch-Iti-Kipi at Palms Book State Park
Thompson, Manistique, MI 49854
Located in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, this is one of Michigan’s best-kept secrets.
The main attraction is the mesmerizing Kitch-iti-Kipi, or Big Spring, as the Native Americans called it. Here, you can look down into the crystal waters of Michigan’s largest freshwater spring.
Watch as the trout that inhabit the waters swim around, under fallen tree trunks, and other spring debris. Your kids will be amazed as you navigate the family across this pure Michigan natural wonder on the hand-pulled raft.
The park is also equipped with a playground if watching the water from the observation deck or the floating raft isn’t their cup of tea.
PRO-TIP: Just about 90 minutes north, located on the shores of Lake Superior, is the city of Marquette. This is an amazing spot to visit with kids any time of the year, you’ll find miles of hiking trails and lots to do in town, too.
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Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
N8391 Sand Point Rd, Munising, MI 49862
Both you and the kids will be amazed at these towering, colorful sandstone cliffs on the shores of Lake Superior.
The best thing to do at the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is anything and everything to do with nature. Teach your kids how to skip a rock on Lake Superior, or make a game out of finding Michigan wildflowers to smell. Make your kids fall in love with the great outdoors by taking a serene night hike under the stars.
Find a waterfall and listen to the burbling of it as it crashes to the ground. Make sure to take many photos while you’re here, you’ll want to remember this trip.
PRO-TIP: With 42 miles of national lakeshore to explore, chances are good that you’ll need a rest from the hiking. Head over to Munising and catch a Pictured Rocks Boat Tour, where you’ll see catch even more amazing views of these breathtaking sandstone cliffs.
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41382 W M-123, Paradise, MI 49768
Home to one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is actually two sets of falls, the Upper Falls and the Lower Falls.
This is a great spot to take your kids, especially if they are a lover of natural attractions. If they’re not, chances are good that they’ll walk away from this natural wonder with fond memories.
This is a perfect area to take your kids camping, too, as they have countless campgrounds to choose from. Hike some of the many trails at your disposal at this 50,000-acre plot of land. This is a great place to also freshen up your kayaking or canoeing skills, too.
PRO-TIP: If you visit Tahquamenon Falls in the winter, be sure and take a ride on dog-sled. It’s a great way for you and your children to experience the majesty of the pristine forest surrounding the Falls.
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Soo Locks, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783
Any current or future engineers in your family? The Soo Locks are a marvel of modern engineering, and your kids (and you, too) will find it amazing.
Watch as the waters of the St. Mary’s River are lifted and lowered 21 feet to allow ships to travel from Lake Superior to the other Great Lakes.
The Soo Locks is home to many attractions worthy of both adults and children visitors. One of our favorite, perfect-for-kids attractions is the Maritime History Museum, filled with artifacts from shipwrecks, artwork, and much much more. Here, kids can take hold of a steering wheel, and imagine that they, too, were the captain of a ship.
PRO-TIP: You can also take a Soo Lock boat tour to get up close and personal with the strange and large ships traveling through the Locks.
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More Great Places to Visit in Michigan with Kids:
- Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island
- Gull Lake near Battle Creek
- Whirlpool Compass Fountain and Splash Pad in St. Joseph
- Frankenmuth, MI
- Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Museum in Alpena
- Check out an old-fashioned drive-in theater, like the Cherry Bowl in Honor, MI!
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About the Author –
Charlotte Dennison is a content creation intern at My Michigan Beach. She grew up in Vermont and has summertime family ties to the great state of Michigan in both Ann Arbor and Lake Hamlin. In addition to content creation, she spends her time studying writing, editing, and publishing at Emmanuel College in Boston. Writing has been her dream since the start of high school, and she hopes to turn content creating into a life-long career. Charlotte is jazzed to be interning at MyMichiganBeach.com. Outside of writing Charlotte enjoys curling up with a Stephen King novel and her cat on rainy city days.
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