You want to find places that will be enjoyable for everyone, but you can’t do that if you don’t know where to look. This list gives you a good starting point for planning your upcoming family quest for fun in Michigan’s Motor City.
Belle Isle Conservancy
Belle Isle has it all if your kids are crazy about the natural world. Within the park, you can visit the aquarium that houses one of the largest collections of air-breathing fish in the world, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory (the oldest continually-running conservatory in the US), and even a giant slide during the summer months. For the littlest ones, Belle Isle’s Nature Center hosts its Nature Tots program on the third Friday and Saturday of each month. This includes time for crafts, stories, and nature exploration, all geared toward children ages 2-4.
Michigan Science Center
This museum features a Kids’ Town that helps the youngest ones (ages 2-5) understand how the laws of science look at the world around them. But this isn’t the only part of the Science Center that’s kid-friendly. In addition to its hands-on exhibits, the Science Center continues its list of features with a planetarium, 4-D theater, and friendly staff who explain scientific concepts to the children. Your little science geek will thank you!
At Greenfield Village in Dearborn, kids can watch history come to life! Reenactors go about their daily business in historically accurate replicas of famous buildings, including shops, homes, and even Thomas Edison’s laboratory. Kids can peruse around Wilbur and Orville Wright’s bike shop, mess with a gramophone, and even ride a train across the village. There is also an enormous historically-themed playground on site in case your kids need to blow off some steam.
The Detroit Zoo
One of the most famous parts of the Detroit Zoo is the Giraffe Encounter, an up-close-and-personal platform overlooking the giraffe habitat. Kids and parents can stand on it and feed the giraffes. Among the programs the zoo has to offer are Family Fun Nights, which give your kids the thrill of seeing what happens at the zoo after normal closing time. Another part of the zoo, the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, is a must-see for your kids. Not only does the building look like an iceberg, but it is home to over 75 penguins!
If you have a team of little sports fans, you’ll want to include a baseball game at Comerica Park on your travel itinerary. Every Sunday game at Comerica Park is Sunday Kids’ Day, full of free fun for kids 14 and under! The fun activities include face painting, carousel rides, and an opportunity to run the bases after the game has ended.
Legoland Discovery Center
There’s something for every age at Legoland, from preschoolers to adults. If you have very young children, you can get a special Toddler Time pass for you and your little one to see all of Legoland Discovery Center at a discounted price. The normal pass for school-age children and their parents gives you access to a lot as well: two rides, a 4-D cinema, several stations to build and play, and a mini Detroit constructed from over a million Lego bricks.
Sanders Chocolate Factory
Have your kids ever read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? How about something better: what if they could tour a chocolate factory for themselves? Now’s your chance to walk in Charlie’s footsteps and get yourself some free samples in the process! Touring the factory is free, and if you call or email ahead you can book a tour guide.
Mangonadas del Barrio
Whether or not your kids have ever tried mangonadas, a family trip is a perfect time to enjoy a frozen treat. This shop in the southwest of the city has a tantalizing selection of Mexican ice cream and fruit creations. If you’re feeling like you might need more than just fruit, Mangonadas del Barrio also serves tamales for only a dollar.
If you and your kids have a sweet tooth, it’ll be well worth your time to visit Mootown. This ice cream shop has plenty of kid appeal besides the clever pun in its name. Inside the shop is filled with bright, cheerful decor. Better yet, they serve Hudsonville ice cream, which is made right in Michigan!
Mercury Burger & Bar
After a long day hunting down fun in Detroit, your kids are going to need a pit stop. Burgers are a classic favorite, and Mercury is frequently reviewed as being kid-friendly. Located on Michigan Avenue, the burger and milkshake joint has a retro feel. Your kids will love the food, and you’ll love how the parking doesn’t cost much.
As a parent, you know it can be hard to find attractions on family trips that everyone will love. Sometimes the kids’ age differences or interests just don’t gel with the activities you’ve planned. But there are so many kid-approved destinations in Detroit that each family member, no matter how small, will find something to enjoy!