Sometimes, Mother Nature just doesn’t cooperate and you need to keep the family indoors. And sometimes, an indoor experience might be just what the doctor ordered. There’s no better place to spend time than in the southeast region of Michigan, the historic and cultural center of the state.
If you’re more of a hands-on person, and we all know kids prefer to touch everything, then this is the driving tour for you. Kids will love the hands-on activities at these indoor Michigan attractions that not only encourage them to interact, but to learn as well. It goes without saying, but it’s impossible to visit all of these spots in one day, whether you choose to do it all in one vacation or make it a point to stop at one of these locations each time you visit
Driving Time: 2 hours, 23 minutes
Distance: 132 Miles
Stop #1: Military and Space Heroes Museum, Frankenmuth
Rated consistently as a top attraction, the collections at the Military and Space Heroes Museum document the roles of Michigan men and women who have served in military campaigns, foreign wars, or pioneered space travel. Medals, uniforms, photographs, wartime artifacts, videos, models of aircraft and space capsules… it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon engrossing yourself in history and you’ll walk away with a deeper appreciation for their service and sacrifice. Pricing: $7 General; $6 Senior; $5 College Student; $3 ages 6-17; 5 and under free
If it’s nice outside…Go on a one-hour river cruise aboard the Bavarian Belle (tours begin in May each year). See www.bavarianbelle.com for more information.
Stop #2: Longway Planetarium, Flint
The state’s largest planetarium, visitors can enjoy educational and entertaining shows every day of the week. The website provides updates on what’s showing, and Saturday trivia night is a blast! Visit the adjoining Sloan Museum if you have the time. Pricing: $6 Adults; $4 Seniors; $4 Youth ages 2-11; 1 and under free; free for veterans, military families, and teacher
If it’s nice outside… Stepping Stone Falls, located where the Flint River meets Mott Lake, captivate and soothe any weary mind. Make your visit at night to watch the falls change color thanks to multicolored lights, all set against the backdrop of a sparkling night sky.
Stop #3: Sea Life Michigan Aquarium, Auburn Hills
Have a budding marine biologist? Love to see wildlife not native to Michigan? The Sea Life Michigan Aquarium gives you a glimpse of an underwater world. There are 250 species and 12 interactive exhibits, including a touch pool and a doodle reef. Purchase tickets online and save! Online pricing: $18 Adults; $14 Youth ages 3-12; 2 and under free
If it’s nice outside…One of the Detroit Zoo’s claims to fame is being the first zoo in the country to have open habitat exhibits; animals weren’t just kept in cages. There are plenty of outdoor as well as indoor exhibits, including the Polk Penguin Conservation Center, the largest in the world. Visit https://detroitzoo.org for details and tickets.
Stop #4: Michigan Science Center, Detroit
The ultimate hands-on destination, the Michigan Science Center is ideal for anyone with a natural curiosity. There are more than 250 exhibits and special exhibits (and yes, you can touch all of them) related to engineering, health, space, and motion; a planetarium; and a 4D theater. Make sure to stop at an Explainer Station, where educated scientists and researchers stand ready to show off an experiment or answer your questions. Pricing: Based on chosen exploration package
If it’s nice outside…Go to Belle Isle Park, an island conservancy in the middle of the Detroit River. Walk the paths, partake in a picnic lunch, and guess the destinations of the marine traffic traveling by.
Stop #5: Ann Arbor Hands On Museum, Ann Arbor
There’s no time to sit back and relax with the museum’s four floors and more than 250 exhibits beckoning growing minds – and frankly, you won’t want to hold them back. The Hands On Museum has activities specialized for each age group, from babies to high school students, but this museum is ideal for anyone who is a child at heart. Check the online calendar for a list of special events that may coincide with your visit. Pricing: $12.50 adults and children, free for children under 23 months
If it’s nice outside…Lillie Park on Platt Road, on the south side of Ann Arbor, is a quaint, lovely area to reconnect with nature in the midst of the city bustle. There are picnic tables, a playground, and walking paths, including long bridges over the ponds.
Have you ever been to any of these Michigan destinations? We’d love to hear what you think. Please make a comment on our website or social media pages!