Calling All Parents! Combat Cabin Fever With These Family Fun Activities

Has your family come down with a case of cabin fever? When you can’t brave the elements for a Pure Michigan snow day, there are plenty of other exciting ways to beat the winter blahs. Get the kids out of the house with these fun indoor activities that are sure to put a spring back in their step.  For more indoor family fun, visit michigan.org

Swim, Bounce, Play and Create

Michigan Waterparks

With a number of indoor water parks right here in our state, there’s no need to travel far far to make a splash! Make it a day trip or a full weekend getaway. Indoor waterparks in Michigan include the Fairview Beachfront Inn & Waterpark in Mackinaw City, The Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City, Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark in Frankenmuth, Soaring Eagle Water Park and Hotel in Mount Pleasant and others.

See what kids have to say about their Pure Michigan waterpark adventures in the video below.

Sky Zone Trampoline Park – Multiple Locations

This is a reason to jump for joy; Sky Zone Trampoline Park is high energy family fun! Their goal is to promote fun fitness while flying through the air. The parks offer open jump, a SkySlam court to test your basketball skills, SkyRobics fitness classes, ultimate dodge ball and a foam zone. Sky Zone is a safe and fun way to use up all of that stored energy. Jumps times start every 30 minutes.

Glow Golf – Multiple Locations

Practice for summertime putt-putt with a glow-in-the-dark twist! Enjoy 18 holes of miniature golf that will truly test your putting ability. Aim for a hole-in-one with just the glow lighting leading you through the course. Some courses also offer laser tag for an even bigger interactive challenge.

Paint a Pot – Holland

Cater to your creative side and pick out a piece of pottery to make all your own. This is a fun activity to do with kids when you only have a short amount of time. Once you have your piece, pick out the paint colors and get creative. The process is very simple and the atmosphere is inviting. It’s art therapy for every age! Paint a Pot is located in Holland, with other similar attractions located throughout the state.

Animal Lovers

Bat Zone – Bloomfield Hills                              

Take a personal, behind the scenes tour with a bat expert at the Bat Zone. You will experience bats in flight, flying squirrels, owls, a two toed sloth and the largest species of bat in the world. The tour themes change each season so you are able to learn more throughout the year. Also, don’t miss your chance to get a glimpse of a T- Rex and spend some time learning at the Cranbrook Institute of Science Museum.

Photo courtesy of SEA LIFE

Photo courtesy of SEA LIFE

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium – Auburn Hills

The Sea Life Aquarium located at Great Lakes Crossing Mall will transport your family to an underwater experience they won’t forget. Come nose to nose with sharks, walk under the underwater ocean tunnel and encounter more than 5,000 creatures. You can even hold a crab or touch a sea star in their Touchpool Experience. Enjoy fun talks and feed shows throughout the day. Make a day of it by eating at the Rainforest Café or stopping at Jeepers! for arcade games and mini rollercoasters.

Great Lakes Zoological Society – Ann Arbor

This is a conservation-oriented zoo and rescue center. The center houses a 5,000 square foot indoor exhibit area focusing on reptiles and amphibians, as well as birds and invertebrates. There are over 90 animals and over 60 species from around the world.

Learning and Discovery

Michigan Museums

Keep your family’s curiosity alive. A visit to Michigan’s art, science and history museums can bring a richer appreciation for the world around us.  With over 400 museums in Michigan, one may be closer than you think. Children’s museums like the Grand Rapids’ Childrens Museum or Ann Arbor Hands On Museum are educational but also hands-on, which can be fun for both children and their parents.

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Photo courtesy of The Henry Ford

Detroit is home to a number of world class museums like the Detroit Institute of Arts, which features over 100 galleries with art from ancient to modern times, as well as The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village in Dearborn. The Henry Ford boasts four one-of-a-kind attractions, 200 acres including Greenfield Village (closed during the winter season) and the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, that will bring you through the ages. Notable treasures such as John F. Kennedy’s Limousine, Rosa Parks bus, and Abraham Lincoln’s chair, plus experiences such as Model T Rides and an assembly plant walking tour make your visit to The Henry Ford truly unique. The Henry Ford offers a glimpse inside centuries of American life with hand-on activities for the kids throughout!

If you ever catch yourself looking up at the stars, searching for the big dipper or just gazing into space, Longway Planetarium  and Sloan Museum in Flint offers the largest indoor star gazing facility in Michigan!  The shows last for about an hour where you will be transported to a sky full of stars, while an expert gives you an astronomy lesson.  You can also explore the Sloan Museum which features exhibits for all ages. This winter, check out Videotopia, an exhibit on the art, science and history of video games!

Candy Tours 

ohmylilliIs your sweet tooth calling? Indulge in some comfort food while experiencing how some of Michigan’s sweet sugar confections are made.  Oh My Lolli in Brighton lets you  behind-the-scenes.  Get a personalized tour through the production experience – from the molten candy to the folding and rolling, and finally to the finished product! Don’t forget to grab a lollipop of your own for the car ride home.

Morley Candy Makers in Clinton Township is the place where Sanders chocolate and desserts are created. Morley Candy Makers free factory tour is perfect the family and available Monday through Friday. The journey begins with the story of chocolate, how chocolate is made and how Sanders and Morley Candy Makers got their start in Detroit. Observe Michigan’s largest candy maker create delicious treats in the 100 foot observation walkway, enjoy a chocolate sample and visit the unique candy shop to put the finishing touch on your visit.

What indoor activities do you and your family like to do during the winter months? 

Pure Michigan March 2015 Events Roundup

In just a few weeks, the month of March will bring a change in season, some signs of springs and plenty of fun events to go along them. From LaughFest in Grand Rapids to St. Patrick’s Day festivities around the state, there are so many ways to get out and enjoy March in Pure Michigan!

Below is a roundup of some of the many events happening in March. Please visit michigan.org for a complete listing of Michigan events.

March 1 – 8

Back to the 80’s
March 1 – 8, Alpena
From the era that brought the world The Rubik’s Cube, Max Headroom and The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comes the “totally awesome” musical Back to the 80′s. In the style of movies such as Back to the Future, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and The Karate Kid, Back to the 80′s is a nostalgic romp through the greatest hits of the decade. Visit the website link for show dates/times.

Retro Weekend Ski Event
March 6 – 8, Harbor Springs
Pull out your vintage gear for a celebration of an era gone by. Come celebrate Retro Weekend at Boyne Highlands Resort with a weekend full of events celebrating decades of winter fun! Saturday night features a Retro Party in the legendary Zoo Bar with the most awesome collection of 80s songs you can dream of!

Photo courtesy of LaughFest

Photo courtesy of LaughFest

Melting Mann Dirt Road Bike Challenge
March 8, Marcellus
The Melting Mann is a flat tire bike race through Cass and St. Joseph Counties in Michigan. You may choose from either a 14 mile or a 28 mile route, both routes are single loops and will have you riding over 90 percent of unpaved roads. Visit the Melting Mann website to keep informed on the event.

LaughFest
March 5 – 15, Grand Rapids
The nation’s first ever community wide festival of laughter has quickly earned a reputation for being one of the nation’s most enjoyable event for both participants and artists. This major 10-day Midwest festival is based in Grand Rapids and includes events throughout West Michigan. LaughFest 2015 will feature Jim Breuer, Kathleen Madigan, Sinbad, Justin Willman, Michael Kosta and many more. There are free and ticketed shows. For a list of talent and participating venues in Grand Rapids and West Michigan, visit the website link.

March 9 – 15

Kid’s Festival Weekend
March 13 – 15, Boyne Mountain
Kids’ Festival Weekend is when kids rule the mountain! Event highlights include a Village Party with a cookout; face painting, lively entertainment; inflatable obstacle course, bounce house and Euro Bungee Ride; family après ski and dance party; on-hill kids’ race events.  Plus, bonfire and s ’mores, horse-drawn wagon rides, story time, appearances by Fritz, the resort mascot, family movies, arts and crafts, and more. Join us at Boyne Mountain for a weekend full of fun!

Thumbs up Detroit Exhibition
March 13 – 14, Detroit
This is a time to showcase all that is available in Detroit, from the arts and food, to business and people. Helping Detroit rebuild and show what is possible in this great city. Mingle, check out exhibits, sample food and have a great time. This is a ticketed event.

MHM_main_atrium

Photo courtesy of Michigan Historical Museum

Michigan Historical Museum Fruit Festival
March 14, Lansing
Children can participate in hands-on activities, including crafts that relate to our exhibits. Learn about the new farm tools that led to booming fruit production in Michigan after the Civil War. Also, you’ll discover the variety of produce from Michigan’s “fruit belt” and investigate planting and canning. This program is included with museum admission. Be sure to tour our special exhibit, Conceived in Liberty, which examines Michigan’s role in the second half of the Civil War and the postwar period.

Return to Clare Steam Train Excursion
March 14, Clare
Pere Marquette 1225 “Return to Clare” excursion is a one day excursion. The train will depart Owosso, Mich., at 9 a.m. and arrive at Clare, Mich., at 11:30 a.m. We will have a three hour layover in Clare so passengers can partake of the Irish Festival which will coincide with our excursion. The train then departs Clare at 2:30 p.m. running back to Owosso to finish up around 6 p.m. Please note that these times are subject to change. We will have at least one photo run-by so be sure to bring your camera. Visit their website for ticket prices.

March 16 – 22

Lansing Home & Garden Show
March 19 – 22, Lansing
The biggest Home & Garden Show in Mid-Michigan fills the MSU Pavilion on the campus of Michigan State University. Stunning gardens, extensive landscaping projects and a Standard Flower Show surround exhibits featuring new construction, remodeling, kitchens and baths, retail garden centers, pools and spas, and home services. Free seminars will be hosted on the Garden Stage, Home Stage, and Cooking Stage. Admission: $9 adults, $4 children 6 – 14, and under 5 are free.

Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival
March 19 – 22, Kalamazoo
The Midwest Regional Alternative Dance (RAD) Festival will take place at the Wellspring Theater in the Epic Center in Kalamazoo, Mich. RAD Fest will present five different live performances featuring 39 contemporary choreographers and over 250 dance artists from all over the Midwest and will also offer a film in the Atrium series featuring 10 different dances for the camera artists. For more information or a full schedule, please visit the website link.

Zipline-Adventures-are-available-year-round-at-sister-resorts-Boyne-Mountain-and-Boyne-Highlands-in-northern-Lower-Michigan-300x200

Photo courtesy of Boyne Highlands

Krazy Daze
March 20 – 21, Boyne Highlands
Celebrate spring with our something-for-everyone weekend of no-holds-barred festivities – Krazy Daze! Join us for live music, lighthearted activities and upbeat events tailored to every member of the family. Whether you’re a face-painted kid taking a pass at the Silly Slalom, or a kid at heart warming up for the Ski over the Pond competition at a tailgate party you’ll find enough fun and laughter to keep you smiling all weekend long. Ski & Stay lodging packages are also available. For complete event details, visit the website link or call (800) 462-6963.

Carnival Weekend
March 20 – 22, Boyne Mountain
For the Boyne Mountain faithful, Carnival Weekend is nothing short of a major holiday. Schedules are rearranged, elaborate plans formed, and the stops are all pulled out to avoid missing a moment of the fun. The weekend gets started with the Carnival Kick-off Party from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. in the Snowflake Lounge Friday night (free entry for those ages 21+). On Saturday, the infamous On-Hill Party takes place, along with the King and Queen of the Mountain Adult Costume Contest, and a Village Party in the afternoon. Saturday night features music to dance the night away. Sunday’s main event is the Slush Cup on Lower McLouth where you can skim or be soaked.

Maple Syrup Festival
March 21, Lansing
Celebrate nature’s own “Liquid Gold” at Fenner Nature Center’s Maple Syrup Festival! Participate in demonstrations in our Sugar Bush, try your hand at tapping a tree and treat your taste buds to savory treats like maple crème and maple cotton candy!

March 23 – 31

Michigan_Theater_Sign-199x300

Photo courtesy of Visit Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Film Festival
March 24 – 29, Ann Arbor
Internationally recognized as a premiere forum for independent filmmakers and artists, each year’s festival engages audiences with remarkable cinematic experiences. The six-day festival presents 40 programs with more than 180 films from over 20 countries of all lengths and genres, including experimental, animation, documentary, fiction, and performance-based works.

Family & Friends Race
March 28, Boyne Highlands
The Friends and Family Race was a new event last season and turned out to be a huge success so we’re bringing it back again. There are divisions for “Friends” and “Family” with teams comprised of up to four ski racers. This race is open to ski racers of all ages so get your team together and enjoy a fun day of racing at Boyne Highlands. There is a team entry fee.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park Maple Sugaring Day
March 28, Tahquamenon Falls
Discover how to turn sap from Mother Nature into sweet golden syrup for your pancakes during our annual maple sugaring event. The entire process will be on display, including traditional methods, hands-on activities and taste testing! Free guided tours begin at 12:00, 1:00 and 2:00 p.m. Tours start at the Upper Falls Fact Shack. Maple syrup experts will be on hand to answer questions and provide advice about at-home maple sugaring. Pancakes will be available for participants to taste a variety of homemade syrups from the region. Nature’s Kennel will offer $25 dog sled rides during the event (weather dependent).

All Things Detroit
March 29, Detroit
All Things Detroit is returning to the Eastern Market Sunday March 29, 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Shed three. Come out and enjoy an afternoon of browsing the best local products Detroit has to offer, all under one roof! Come check out Detroit apparel, handmade jewelry, artisan food products, custom artwork and more. Explore 60+ local vendors; purchase Detroit/Michigan made products, convenient, FREE parking, free door prizes to the first 300 guests and more.

What’s on your calendar for March in Pure Michigan?

Cure Your Cabin Fever! Five Reasons to Take a Vacation Day and Head Outside

According to the U.S. Travel Association, U.S. workers only use 77 percent of their paid time off, resulting in nearly 169 million forfeited vacation days and $52.4 billion in lost benefits! Luckily, PTO days can be used any time during the year, and a quick winter trip is sure to cure any cold-weather blues. Here are six reasons to use those vacation days and explore what a winter day in Pure Michigan has to offer.

snowsports_main

1. There’s plenty of fresh powder! 

With more than 51 ski areas, 260 chairlifts, 1,000 runs, 50 terrain parks and an annual snowfall of more than 100 inches, Michigan offers some of the best ski and snowboarding slopes you can find in the Midwest. In-state resorts like Boyne Mountain Resort and Crystal Mountain are perfect for weekend away to shred some fresh powder or even take your very first lesson. Many resorts offer tubing and sledding fun, too!

2. Wineries are less crowded in the winter.

Take a winter winery tour! Many think that all Michigan wineries hibernate during the winter season, but some stay open all year long  for you to enjoy! One popular winter activity among foodies is to warm up with a glass of wine/small bites from a trio of wineries along a 7.5-mile ski and snowshoe path on the Leelanau Peninsula. The only question is, do you prefer red or white?

3. Trying something new can be thrilling!

Dog Sledding
Dog sledding is a wild winter adventure. The hot breath of the huskie pack fogs the crisp winter air as they pull you with focused determination across the glistening landscape. Imagine you’re racing against another team, over the same frozen terrain that explorers did long ago! Dog sledding is a fun activity for the whole family and can create memories that last a lifetime.

Iceclimbing

Ice Climbing
One of winter’s newest silent sports, Ice climbing, combines challenge and adventure. With ropes and harnesses, ascend stunning icefalls, cliffs and rock slabs, all waiting to be conquered. Swing your axe into the ice, hold on tight and inch your way up the frozen ladder. Be one of the first people to know to say you climbed a frozen waterfall!

Ice Luge
Did you know that one of lonely three luge tracks in the United States can be found right here in Michigan? Located near the shores of Lake Michigan in the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex, you’ll be able to fly down the track just like the winter Olympians do.

4. There’s always time for quality time.

Photo courtesy of Zehnder's

Photo courtesy of Zehnder’s

Romantic Getaways
Sweep your sweetie away on a romantic getaway. You don’t have to go far to find a perfect weekend getaway with that special someone in your life. Some romantic packages include champagne dinners, in-room Jacuzzi’s and wine tastings while others let you relax with spa treatments or special in-room amenities. There’s no wrong choice when surprising a loved one with a romantic getaway in Michigan.

Family Fun
If you’re experiencing some cabin fever, we bet the kids are too! Family-friendly waterparks can be found all over the state, just waiting to wash away the norm. Whether you splash in the shallows with the little ones, or race each other for bragging rights down the twisting water slides, nothing brings families closer together than a Pure Michigan water park adventure. 

Ice Fishing5. The fish still bite during the winter. 

During the winter, Michigan’s four Great Lakes, more than 11,000 inland lakes and hundreds of rivers and streams provide anglers with the perfect location to ice fish for bluegill, perch, pike and walleye. Whether you’re a master angler or don’t quite know your way around a reel yet, fishing in Michigan is fun for everyone. Make sure to mark Free Fishing Weekend (Feb.14-15) on your calendar and check out our Winter Angler’s Ultimate Packing List before hitting the ice!

How would you spend a winter day off in Pure Michigan? Share your photos enjoying the snow using #PureMichiganSnowDay on Twitter and Instagram or visit michigan.org/snowday.