Family Friendly Sojourns

Meijer Children's GardenMichigan abounds with activities for families and kids. Whether your family enjoys recreation, museums, sightseeing or exploring nature, there's sure to be an adventure or two waiting for you.

So, how do you spell fun? We have a list of delightful ways to help you figure it out.

Ann Arbor
Discover the scientist within you at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. Ignite your imagination. As you explore nine unique galleries containing more than 250 interactive exhibits, science demonstrations and special events that bring chemistry, physics, geology, math, music and more to life.

Dominos Farms Petting Farm is situated in a country atmosphere with a old farmhouse and a large barn. This hand-on farm experience features over 150 farm animals including rare African Watusi Cattle and Poitou Donkeys. The farm includes a duck pond, 15 acres of pasture lands and a picnic area. Hayrides, group rates and birthday packages available.

Battle Creek
At Binder Park Zoo, south of the city, a zebra-striped tram transports you to the Wild Africa Exhibit. There, the sights and sounds of an African village await you along with an award-winning, 18-acre savanna that's home to more than 80 of Africa's most spectacular animals. Wild Africa also features a ranger station, research camp, gold mine and forest farm. At Twiga Overlook, kids can hand-feed a giraffe from an elevated boardwalk.

Kingman Museum features planetarium shows plus three floors of hands-on science and cultural exhibits.

Linear Park offers nearly 20 miles of handicapped-accessible paved pathways for biking, walking, roller-skating or just strolling.

Discover Americas Greatest History Attraction, where the extraordinary happens every day. Located in Dearborn, The Henry Ford includes Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour and The Henry Ford IMAX Theater. This museum complex is where the exploits of America's heroes come alive in fascinating, breathtaking and educational ways. Feel the rush of the world's premier automotive exhibition, Driving America.

While you're in Detroit, you can't miss Hitsville USA, also known as the Motown Historical Museum. The Motown sound was born in these two interconnected houses between 1959 and 1972. Kids and adults alike marvel at Motown memorabilia such as the Supremes' shimmering dresses, and tour the studio where the stars including Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and the Temptations recorded.

Detroit ZooThe Detroit Zoological Park features 125 acres of naturalistic exhibits including 1,300 mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and invertebrates of 250 different species. Guests will experience the tundra, open sea and pack ice of the Arctic environment, and the animals that are distinctively adapted to life there.

Zehnders Splash Village Hotel and Waterpark offers 152 deluxe accommodations including 63 new suites. Enjoy over 30,000 sq. ft. of aquatic fun with Splash landing play area, dumping bucket, giggling gorge and Perilous plunge-a four story tube slides. Relax in the whimsical whirl hot tub or just float along the Crooked Brook Creek lazy river.

In a town surrounded by nature, there's a lot to see and do. You can experience life on a Depression-era farm at the Wellington Farm Park. This working replica of a 1930s farm conducts activities year-round using vintage equipment, tools and practices.

Trails for hiking and biking lead from Grayling to Hartwick Pines State Park. Inside the park, travelers will find five trails ranging from approximately five miles long to more than 12 miles long. Some trails are hiking only.

Grand Rapids Children's Museum - Courtesy of Midwest Living MagazineGrand Rapids
The downtown Grand Rapids Children's Museum hands-on exhibits provide a great complement to a visit to the gardens. Kids can blow giant bubbles, build skyscrapers from Lego blocks and dress up like beekeepers.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is filled with exhibits on history, nature and culture. Kids love the planetarium's laser light shows and Digistar theater. You can also ride a 1928 carousel or eat in the museum's cafe overlooking the river.

Older kids appreciate the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library & Museum across the street. Called "the most entertaining presidential museum," it allows you to attend a White House State dinner, step inside the Oval Office and Cabinet Room and see the original Watergate burglary tools.

The Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, Michigan's largest tropical conservatory, features arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; and a 1900-seat outdoor amphitheater. The parks Lena Meijer Children's Garden is one of the largest childrens gardens in the country and offers young visitors five acres with the highest point being Tree House Village.

Air ZooKalamazoo
Check out the Air Zoo, where you can zoom into the Fly By store for books, model aircraft and flight-themed gifts and souvenir items.

Then head north to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum downtown. Noted as one of the top small museums in Michigan, it offers "adventure you can touch," celebrating history, science and technology in a hands-on, family-friendly way. There's a theater and planetarium, interactive history gallery, 2,300-year-old mummy and Science in Motion gallery.

Continue north you'll come to Kalamazoo Nature Center. This 1,100-acre nature preserve features hiking trails, interactive exhibits, nature programs, butterfly garden, bug house and more.

Located along the Red Cedar River, Lansings Potter Park Zoo covers 100 acres and features a large zoological park with over 400 different animal species, plus playground, picnic areas, pony and camel rides, petting zoo and gardens.

Midland's history comes alive at Heritage Park, a complex of buildings and artifacts recalling the town's pioneer days. It includes the Herbert H. Dow Historical Museum in a replica of the building in which young Dow made his pioneering experiments; the Bradley Home Museum, one of the few hands-on Victorian home museums in existence; and the Carriage House Museum, filled with a variety of carriages, sleighs and blacksmithing tools.

At P.J. Hoffmaster State Park, a few miles south of Muskegon. Walking trails top the forest-covered dunes and a visitor's center interprets these landforms.

Downtown, the Muskegon County Museum and the Fire Barn Museum offer fascinating looks back in time. The County Museum highlights some 10,000 years of the county's history and offers hands-on children's exhibits and a science center. A 1923 fire engine and other vintage equipment and photographs fill the Fire Barn Museum, a replica of Muskegon's Hackley Hose Company #2's firehouse.

If your kids are interested in maritime history or seafaring adventure, feed their interest with a tour of the SS Milwaukee Clipper, a steam cross-lake ferry (open for tours only; doesn't run anymore) known as the "Queen of the Great Lakes." You can also check out the LST393, a former U.S. Navy transport ship.

Traverse City
A stay at Great Wolf Lodge is a must for families traveling to the area with kids. This full-service, log cabin-style family destination with 281 northwoods-themed rooms features a 38,000 square-foot indoor water park with eight waterslides, five pools, two whirlpools and a 4-story/12-level interactive Tree House Water Fort. The Lodge also offers a therapeutic spa, two casual restaurants, a confectionery and a large arcade.

Traverse Citys Great Lakes Childrens Museum affords kids a hand-on, interactive experience, in an informal educational environment which fosters the curiosity, exploration, and participation that your kids will love.

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