The state of Michigan is home to a wide array of wildlife and scenery, along with cities that expand people’s horizons through cultures, foods, and experiences. Families and Michigan go “hand-in-hand”, so there are plenty of things to do with kids throughout the state. From animal sanctuaries and zoos to national parks to historical sites and children’s museum to boat rides and the famous Henry Ford Greenfield Village, there is no shortage of fun and fascinating attractions to entertain both children and adults alike.
© Air Zoo
The Air Zoo is a unique attraction for families with kids, located just outside of Kalamazoo in Portage, Michigan. The facilities offer a new adventure in space and time, providing two centers of multi-sensory and historic experiences for visitors of all ages. Open nearly every day of the year, the Air Zoo provides a variety of exhibits and activities that teach visitors about the history of space exploration and aviation in fun and interesting ways, including piloting a flight simulator, indoor amusement park-like rides, films in the Quonset hut-style Missions Theater, interacting with the restoration team, and much more.
6151 Portage Rd, Portage, MI 49002, Phone: 269-382-6555
© Abrams Planetarium
The Talbert and Leota Abrams Planetarium in East Lansing, Michigan is situated on the campus of Michigan State University, serving as a space science and astronomy educational resource center for the central Michigan area and an outreach of the university’s Department of Physics and Astronomy. The Abrams Planetarium puts on several planetarium shows for the public throughout the year on Friday and Saturday nights, as well as late afternoon on Sundays. There is a special planetarium show on Sunday afternoons designed for families. Visitors can also attend the public observing nights on Friday and Saturday evenings during warmer months.
755 Science Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824, Phone: 517-355-4672
3.Ann Arbor Hands On Museum
© Ann Arbor Hands On Museum
The Ann Arbor Hands On Museum focuses on interactive and hands-on exhibits, aiming to help both adults and children alike discover their inner scientist by promoting scientific knowledge through education, exploration, and experimentation. The Concourse area is home to several different exhibits, including Explore Your World, Tornado, Block Party, Keep Smiling, and H2Oh. The World Around You exhibit gallery offers a variety of interactive and fun activities for kids, such as the Magnet, Climbing Wall, and Bubble Capsule exhibits. The Michigan Nature exhibit provides a true Michigan experience, featuring geology samples, native lake fish, interactive nature wall, and a soundscape.
220 E. Ann St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, Phone: 734-995-5439
4.Automotive Hall Of Fame
© Automotive Hall Of Fame
The Automotive Hall Of Fame is a place that celebrates the women and men whose innovations in the automotive industry helped change the world, as well as revolutionize everyday life. Located in Dearborn, Michigan, the facility is situated just across the parking area from The Henry Ford. Within the Automotive Hall of Fame, visitors can explore the intersection of cars and the aspects of their daily lives. Exhibit galleries with both changing and permanent exhibits focus on the beginning of the automobile, the automotive industry’s rise worldwide, and the art of auto styling among several other exhibits.
21400 Oakwood, Dearborn, MI 48124, Phone: 313-240-4000
5.Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park
© Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park
The Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park in Alto, Michigan prides itself on providing guests with hands-on experiences that are as close as people can safely get to the wild and is home to a petting zoo, an aviary, guided safari tours, a reptile house, and more. With its diverse range of animals, the Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park is sure to include animals the whole family will enjoy seeing in person, including lemurs, zebras, and wallabies. Visitors can peer into the park’s gator pond, feed the parakeets, browse for souvenirs and gifts, explore the playground, or simply relax in the picnic pavilion.
8313 Pratt Lake Ave SE, Alto, MI 49302, Phone: 616-868-6711
6.Call of the Wild Museum
© Call of the Wild Museum
The Call of the Wild Museum contains a broad array of animals, activities, and habitat, including more than sixty wildlife displays, a Hands-on Learning Center, the Wildlife Theater, window displays with antique hunting and fishing items, a walk-in display with animals visitors can touch, and projected image displays, which feature an early Michigan fur trapper. Many of the animal displays include sound effects and display animals within their natural setting with a hand-painted background. There is also the Bavarian Falls Park next door offers even more fun for kids of any age, with go-karts and miniature golf.
850 S Wisconsin Ave, Gaylord, MI 49735
7.Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary
© Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary
The Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary is designed to be a place for any amphibian and reptile to find proper care and a safe haven in which to live out the rest of their lives securely and safely. A large number of the wildlife sanctuary’s residents come from many different places for various reasons, but all needing a good home. The Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary is open from 10:00am until 7:00pm to the public on a daily basis and features both an upper level and gazebo observation deck for visitors to view the variety of wildlife that now call the sanctuary home.
1698 M-66, Athens, MI 49011, Phone: 269-729-4802
© Deer Ranch
The Deer Ranch is known to be North America’s oldest live whitetail exhibit, located in the town of St. Ignace in Michigan. The grounds are home to dozens of whitetail fawns and deer native to the state, including white deer within a natural setting that visitors can feed and photograph along the ranch’s nature trail. Established in 1950, the Deer Ranch has now expanded to include not only whitetail deer, but albino deer and white whitetails as well. The property, including a unique gift shop, is open to the public daily from the middle of May to the middle of October.
1540 W. US 2, St. Ignace, MI 49781, Phone: 906-643-7760
9.Detroit Historical Museum
© Detroit Historical Museum
The Detroit Historical Museum boasts that it is the only known museum that is dedicated to telling the history of the region. The museum features Signature Exhibitions that are permanent installations, showcasing over three hundred years of the rich history of the city of Detroit. These permanent exhibits include Detroit: The Arsenal of Democracy, the Legends Plaza, the Kid Rock Music Lab, Frontiers to Factories: Detroiters at Work, the Glancy Trains, America's Motor City, the Allesee Gallery of Culture, the Gallery of Innovation, Streets of Old Detroit, and the Doorway to Freedom: Detroit and the Underground Railroad.
5401 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202, Phone: 313-833-1805
, Michigan beaches
10.Diamond Jack's River Tours
© Diamond Jack's River Tours
A trip with Diamond Jack's River Tours is a narrated, two-hour tour along the Detroit River in Detroit, Michigan. There are two docks the river tours depart from: the Detroit Rivard Plaza Dock (or also known as the Cullen Dock) and the Wyandotte Dock. Departing from the Wyandotte Dock, passengers are taken on a sightseeing tour of the sights along the Lower Detroit River, while those departing from the Rivard Plaza Dock take a tour of the Upper Detroit River. Each of the two tours with Diamond Jack’s River Tour features different attractions for guests to see in Detroit.
1340 Atwater St, Detroit, MI 48207, Phone: 313-843-9376
11.Domino’s Petting Farm
© Domino’s Petting Farm
The Domino’s Petting Farm is one of the most fun destinations in Ann Arbor, Michigan for kids, offering an exciting and enriching hands-on experience for visitors of all ages. First open at Domino’s Farm in 1984, the Petting Farm is designed to be a symbol of the owner’s commitment to and appreciation of the agriculture industry, as well as the traditional farm values still evident in the area’s culture today. The days and hours the Domino’s Petting Farm is open to the public change on a seasonal basis, but it is typically open an hour later on the weekends.
3001 Earhart Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48106, Phone: 734-998-0182
12.Flint Children’s Museum
© Flint Children’s Museum
The Flint Children’s Museum provides a wide variety of hands-on, interactive experiences for kids between the ages of two and ten. Exhibits areas in the museum include the Discovery Zone, How Things Work, Sproutside, Tot Spot, Our Town, Health and Fitness, and Performing Arts. The Discovery Zone is the Flint Children’s Museum rotating exhibit area and changes every three months. How Things Work is a fascinating area for children and includes an augmented reality sandbox, gravity wall, raceways, build a bridge, big blue blocks, dancing marionettes, vortex, slide and sketch, simple circuits, make it balance, and more.
1602 W. University Ave, Flint, MI 48504, Phone: 810-767-5437
13.Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
© Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is a place that celebrates childhood, as well as the joys of learning by offering a hands-on and interactive experience for children that aims to encourage self-directed exploration. The museum houses eighteen different and fun permanent exhibits in which kids can learn as they play. These exhibits include “Bubbles, Bubbles, Bubbles,” Buzzy Buzzy Bees, Puppet Stage, Wee Bank, We Discover, Giant Lite Brite, Treehouse, Mom and Pop Store, and Aunt Daisy’s Farm. The permanent exhibit at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum are supplemented by rotating featured exhibits that encourage and engage young minds.
11 Sheldon Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, Phone: 616-235-4726
14.Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
© Christopher Cagney/stock.adobe.com
The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Paradise, Michigan has become one of the most popular places for the cultural tourism industry in Michigan, drawing more than 75,000 visitors every season. The Shipwreck Museum is open from 10:00am until 6:00pm from the beginning of May until the end of October. A tour of the grounds include a self-guided tour of the exhibits, a 20-minute film, and guided tours of the 1923 Surfboat House and the 1861 Lightkeeper’s Quarters. Visitors can also join one of the guided climbs of the Whitefish Point Light Tower with a small donation.
18335 N. Whitefish Point Rd, Paradise, MI 49768, Phone: 888-492-3747
Greenfield Village at The Henry Ford in Dearborn, Michigan allows visitors to experience the sensations, sounds, and sights of the fascinating formation of American firsthand, where more than eighty acres are full with ingenuity and resourcefulness. Guests can explore the workshop in which the Wright brothers reached for the sky or the laboratory where Thomas Edison first had the idea for the lightbulb. Working farms, world-class artisans, and much more can also be found at Greenfield Village. Visitors can also spend time with a variety of farm animals or take a ride aboard a steam-powered locomotive or a real Model T.
20900 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn, MI 48124, Phone: 313-982-6001
© Impression 5
The Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing, Michigan is an interactive and dynamic space for kids to create and play, as well as challenge the understanding they have of science. The center’s mission is to help facilitate scientific exploration through educational programming and a variety of hands-on exhibit spaces. Impression 5 is a space where imagination and curiosity lead children to discover the world of science in a different way, with all of their senses. Each exhibit area is designed for families to imagine, experiment, build, and test, all within a “choose your own adventure” science center experience.
200 Museum Dr, Lansing, MI 48933, Phone: 517-485-8116
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17.Indian Creek Petting Zoo
© Indian Creek Petting Zoo
The Indian Creek Petting Zoo is located in Lambertville, Michigan and is a locally-owned and operated zoological park that provides guests with an up-close and personal experience with an array of different animals. The Indian Creek Petting Zoo is a unique destination offering up-close viewing of both domestic and exotic animals, such as alpacas, lemurs, giraffe, coatimundi, camels, zebras, wallabies, emus, peacocks, alligators, horses, bison, cows, sheep, marmosets, Black Buck Antelopes, goats, donkeys, and more. There are also special animal encounters visitors can choose to participate in, which include the Sloth Encounter and the Giraffe Encounter.
2744 Consear Rd, Lambertville, MI 48144, Phone: 734-224-0390
18.Isle Royale National Park
The Isle Royale National Park is an isolated and rugged island situated far away from the sounds and sights of civilization. With Lake Superior surrounding it, Isle Royale provides adventures and solitude that is hard to match for scuba divers, canoeists, kayakers, boaters, hikers, and backpackers. Among the beautiful scenic beauty, visitors can find opportunities for discovery and reflection, or simply a fun adventure for families that will create lasting memories. Isle Royale can only be reached by crossing Lake Superior. Kayak, canoe, and boat rentals are offered nearby, as well as charter services. A lodge and campsites are also available.
800 East Lakeshore Dr, Houghton, MI 49931, Phone: 906-482-0984
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19.Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
© Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum takes visitors on a journey through mechanical history through more than five thousand square feet of unusual nostalgia, oddities, macabre, video game crazes, vintage coin-operated machines, and more. With a broad array of items to interest both adults and kids alike, Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum also offers free wireless internet, a convenient cafe, free admission, and games that guests can play for tickets, which can be redeemed for a large assortment of prizes. The interactive and unusual museum also includes photo booths and a few rides. There is also a souvenir shop with t-shirts and other items.
31005 Orchard Lake Rd, Farmington Hills, MI 48334, Phone: 248-626-5020
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20.Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum
© Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum
The Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum in the city of Saginaw, Michigan is a facility designed and created just for children, featuring gallery space totaling more than sixteen thousand square feet. Each exhibit gallery space was designed around the Michigan school curriculum, along with input from kids, educators, and children’s museum specialists. The Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30am until 5:00pm and on Sundays from 12:00pm until 5:00pm. The museum is a non-profit organization with a mission of providing abundant learning opportunities through play for children between the ages of 0 and 10.
315 West Genesee Ave, Saginaw, MI 48602, Phone: 989-399-6626
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21.Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is unique to the Munising, Michigan area and one of the region’s largest summer attractions. The lakeshore gets its name of “Pictured Rocks” from the mineral strain streaks on the weather-sculpted cliff faces. A variety of colors occur on the cliffs when groundwater flows through the cracks and then trickles down the rocks. The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is open to visitors during all seasons and is a great destination for recreation activities, such as hiking, camping, kayaking, canoeing, birding, sightseeing, ice fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing, and 12 miles of beaches.
Munising, MI 49862, Phone: 906-387-3700
22.Sleeping Bear Dunes
The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore near Empire, Michigan spans across approximately thirty-five miles of coastline on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan, along with the South and North Manitou Islands. The national lakeshore was primarily established for its spectacular natural features that include ancient glacial phenomena, dune formations, beaches, and forests. Things to do and see at Sleeping Bear Dunes include a historic rural farm district, three Coast Guard/Life-Saving Service Stations, the Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail, and much more. There are also an array of recreation activities possible at the lakeshore as well, including hiking and swimming.
9922 Front St, Empire, MI 49630, Phone: 231-326-4700
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© Sloan Museum
The Sloan Museum provides a wide variety of hands-on history and science exhibits, a play area designed for families, and an exhibit space with more than thirty historic vehicles from the history of Flint and Genesee County. An array of events are also put on by the Sloan Museum, which also school and community group field trips. The museum collection consists of more than 400,000 artifacts that represent the history of Genesee County and the city of Flint, Michigan. These artifacts include photographs, furniture, clothing, automobiles, and more. The Sloan Museum is open seven days a week.
4190 E. Court St, Burton, MI 48509, Phone: 810-237-3450
24.Soo Locks Boat Tours
© Soo Locks Boat Tours
Soo Locks Boat Tours boasts that they are one of the “top 5 Michigan attractions,” offering exciting and fun tours since the year 1934 through the famous Soo Locks. Situated only around fifty miles from the famous Mackinac Bridge, the boat tour company operates two dock facilities within historic Sault Ste. Marie that take guests on a sightseeing tour in the beautiful Upper Peninsula of Michigan through Lake Superior and Lake Huron. Along with the tours of the Soo Locks, the company also offers a variety of different maritime sightseeing adventures, as well as adventurous Lighthouse Cruises and Dinner Cruises.
515 & 1157, E Portage Ave, Sault Ste. Marie, MI 49783, Phone: 906-632-6301
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25.The Detroit Zoo
The Detroit Zoo encompass approximately 125 acres and is home to several award-winning attractions, including the Arctic Ring of Life, the Great Apes of Harambee, and the National Amphibian Conservation Center. The Polk Penguin Conservation Center is one of the newer attractions at the zoo and boasts the title of the world’s largest penguin facility, consisting of 33,000 square feet of space. The naturalistic and expansive habitats at the Detroit Zoo are home to around 240 different species and two thousand animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, and amphibians. Other attractions include the Simulator Ride and the 4-D Theater.
8450 W. 10 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, MI 48067, Phone: 248-541-5717
25 Best Things to Do in Michigan with Kids of All Ages
- Air Zoo, Photo: Air Zoo
- Abrams Planetarium, Photo: Abrams Planetarium
- Ann Arbor Hands On Museum, Photo: Ann Arbor Hands On Museum
- Automotive Hall Of Fame, Photo: Automotive Hall Of Fame
- Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park, Photo: Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park
- Call of the Wild Museum, Photo: Call of the Wild Museum
- Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary, Photo: Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary
- Deer Ranch, Photo: Deer Ranch
- Detroit Historical Museum, Photo: Detroit Historical Museum
- Diamond Jack's River Tours, Photo: Diamond Jack's River Tours
- Domino’s Petting Farm, Photo: Domino’s Petting Farm
- Flint Children’s Museum, Photo: Flint Children’s Museum
- Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, Photo: Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
- Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, Photo: Christopher Cagney/stock.adobe.com
- Greenfield Village, Photo: cameraman/stock.adobe.com
- Impression 5, Photo: Impression 5
- Indian Creek Petting Zoo, Photo: Indian Creek Petting Zoo
- Isle Royale National Park, Photo: sschremp/stock.adobe.com
- Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum, Photo: Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
- Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum, Photo: Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Photo: Nicholas/stock.adobe.com
- Sleeping Bear Dunes, Photo: snyfer/stock.adobe.com
- Sloan Museum, Photo: Sloan Museum
- Soo Locks Boat Tours, Photo: Soo Locks Boat Tours
- The Detroit Zoo, Photo: Shadia/stock.adobe.com
- Cover Photo: ehrlif/stock.adobe.com