50 Things To Do With Kids Around Detroit Before They Grow Up
I saw this great list of “100 things to do in New York with your kids before they grow up” at Mommy Poppins. It inspired me to come up with a list of 50 things you should do with your kids if you live in the Detroit area before they grow up.
Michigan is full of great museums, parks and amusement parks, but I tried to keep my list to destinations within an hours drive. If you’re in the Detroit area, please leave your own ideas in the comments.
1. See the baby animals in the spring at Upland Hills Farm.
3. Rent a Canoe at Gallup Park. Bring a picnic lunch for the halfway point.
4. See how cider is made at Yates Cider Mill
6. See the Detroit Fireworks, hopefully you have a friend with a rooftop view downtown.
7. Attend the Thanksgiving Day Parade, pray it isn’t freezing.
8. Visit The Henry Ford to see an amazing collection of artifacts, including the chair Abraham Lincoln was sitting in when he was assassinated and trains up close in person.
9. Visit the zoo on Animal Enrichment Days to see how zookeepers keep the animals happy and challenged with different toys, treats and games.
11. See a game at Comerica Park. Ride the Ferris Wheel and the Carousel all before viewing a single inning.
12. Visit The African American History Museum
13. Visit the newly remodeled Detroit Institute Of Arts. Make sure you attend one of the evening kid’s concerts in the main hall surrounded by suits of armor.
16. See the Bassett Hounds Waddle through Birmingham in May.
17. Just an hour away, the Toledo Museum of Art has a wonderful Family Center; just use the search bar for their programming.
18. After the museum, visit Tony Packo’s for dinner before your drive back. The kids will love all the autographed hot dog buns lining the walls.
19. Visit the Cobblestone Farm
20. See the toy trains and old time streetscape at the Detroit Historical Museum.
21. Take the train from Royal Oak to Ann Arbor.
22. Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum. Bring lots of quarters and make sure to use the photo booth before you leave.
23. Spend a few hours on Detroit’s River Walk. Ride the carousel and play in the water fountain, preferably while in clothes. It’s a lot more fun that way.
24. Visit The Ann Arbor Hands On Museum.
26. Watch blocks of ice become amazing sculptures at The International Ice Sculpture Spectacular in Plymouth.
27. (closed as of Dec 2016)
You can’t be in the Motor City without developing at least a little interest in the history of cars. The Walter P Chrysler Museum is a small exhibit, perfect for short attention spans.
28. Red Oaks Water Park offers hours of fun.
29. Pack a picnic for the summer concert series at the Detroit Zoo.
30. Visit Greenfield Village at Christmas time or during any of their special events. Visit the Eagle Tavern to warm up, have hot cider (with a historically authentic hollow noodle as a straw) for the kids and spiked hot cider for the grown ups.
31. Hike Through Cranbrook, watch for sculptures, wildlife and beautiful gardens. If you can find the Greek Theater your kids will feel like real archaeologists.
32. Dally In The Alley is a great street fair in Detroit. It hasn’t been over-run by corporate tents and a lemonade doesn’t cost $15.
33. See The Nutcracker at The Detroit Opera House
35. The Michigan State Fair.
36. See a kid’s play at the Greek Theatre at Cranbrook.
37. Visit the conservatory at Bell Isle.
38. Visit Guernsey Farm Dairy. Tours are no longer available but you can visit their new indoor ice cream parlor or eat an ice cream cone– made by the Guernsey cows– outdoors on their famous big rocks.
39. See the stars at the Cranbrook planetarium.
40. Go Ice Skating at Campus Martius.
41. Take your kids to another country, and back, all in one day.
42. Visit Troy Daze, a huge community fair.
43. Ride the Paint Creek Trail.
44. Take a boat ride on the Detroit River.
Eat a meal (or just dessert) at the Coach Insignia at the top of the Renaissance Center and enjoy the view. (No longer open for business)
46. Attend Oktoberfest at Clarkston Union. A Kid-Centric festival that’s fun for adults? It just seems wrong.
47. See a Candy Band concert.
48. Ride The People Mover just for fun. The best 75 cents you’ll spend.
49. Take a candy factory tour.
50. Visit Henry Ford Estate, Fair Lane, specifically the miniature farmhouse.
Published June 10, 2008. Last updated July 22, 2018.