11 Interactive Michigan Museums for Young Explorers

Everyone from tykes to teens—and parents, too—will love these interactive museum exhibits showcasing pirate ships, woolly mammoths and more. Or, you can check out the puppet shows, dinosaur tours and animatronic saber-toothed tigers. Kids will spend hours exploring and learning at these top-flight educational museums in Michigan.

A life-size schooner ship model in a museum
Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

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Southeast Michigan

1. Detroit Institute of ArtsDetroit

The museum has interactive signs throughout exhibits, with fun facts, and activities like Drawing in the Galleries, where folks can grab a pencil and paper and make their own sketches of the art.

2. Michigan Science Center –​ Detroit 

Not only does the museum have rotating exhibits and shows, but it is home to numerous interactive learning opportunities from the STEM Playground to the SPARK!LAB.

3. Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum –​ Ann Arbor 

Make a splash at H2Oh!, an area where kids pump, crank and pour water through 12 contraptions that teach the science behind fluid motion.

4. University of Michigan Museum of Natural History –​ Ann Arbor 

The museum, after a large investment and updating, is home to a mix of interactive, hands-on engaging activities for all ages.

5. Alfred P Sloan Museum –​ Flint

The Alfred P. Sloan Museum offers various interactive exhibits from Forces and Motion to Weather and the science of Ice Cream Making.

6. Impression 5 Science Center –​ Lansing

Creative minds make light paintings and upload them to the museum’s website before using their hands as plasma conductors at the Spectrum zone.

Southwest Michigan

7. Grand Rapids Public Museum –​ Grand Rapids 

Grand Rapids Public Museum is among the oldest history museums in the United States, with rotating hands-on exhibits!

8. Air Zoo –​ Portage

Air Zoo features many amusement park-style rides, Full-Motion Flight Simulators, a newly upgraded RealD 3D/4D Missions Theater, Magic Planet and Paratrooper Jump, as well as historical exhibits and educational activities.

9. Curious Kids’ Museum and Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone –​ St. Joseph 

This spot is perfect for busy kids! With Farmer’s Market, Veterinarian Clinic, Space and more, there are exhibits for every kind of young explorer.

Northern Michigan & Upper Peninsula

10. Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center –​ Alpena

Get an out-of-this-world view of clouds, storms and other weather patterns swirling across a 6-foot-diameter model of Earth at Science On a Sphere. It’s one of just 100 in the world.

11. Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum –​ Marquette

Visit this Marquette museum to pilot a plane, dig for ore and climb up a model stomach before sliding down the giant intestine.