Take your kids on a unique vacation through West Michigan! There is plenty for them to enjoy with many winter activities, resorts, parks, and more. Area museums and arts centers are also very kid-friendly, so they may end up learning something without even knowing it! There’s something for kids of all ages, and we’re sure that these activities will leave them itching for more West Michigan fun.
Fun in Northern West Michigan
The Harbor Springs History Museum in Harbor Springs has a number of fun interactive exhibits designed to educate the young and young at heart! The museum is very family friendly and welcomes children of all ages to learn about the history of the Harbor Springs community. The museum’s Discovery Gallery is specifically oriented towards children and includes a train set, fishing shanty, mock grocery store, and more! Visit one of West Michigan’s more interactive museums with a trip to the Harbor Springs History Museum.
Whether spring, summer, fall or winter, there is always something happening for kids at Shanty Creek Resorts in Bellaire. There’s still plenty of time, and snow, to enjoy Michigan’s winter wonderland. With two distinct mountains and a 450’ vertical drop, multiple terrain parks, and a multi-lane alpine tubing park, Shanty Creek is where quality family time happens with the wind in your hair and smile on everyone’s face.
When the weather warms, return to Shanty Creek Resorts where an unforgettable golf getaway awaits. Shanty Creek has developed and implemented a variety of programs aimed at attracting youth, beginners, and families to play golf. If you’d rather use your feet instead of a club, try something new with FootGolf at Shanty Creek’s Summit Golf Course. A hybrid of soccer and golf, FootGolf is played with a soccer ball and many of the basic rules of golf (first shot at each hole has to been taken from the tee, players must play past the usual array of bunkers, trees, and water hazards) all trying to sink a shot into the 21-inch diameter cup.
Make Traverse City your kids’ playground! A huge draw to the area is, of course, the great outdoors. All the lakes, beaches, woods, and trails are waiting to be explored, with most of them are free of charge. If you’re looking for something unique, the Grand Traverse Butterfly House & Bug Zoo in nearby Williamsburg is the place to be to see interesting bugs up close and personal. Their Butterfly House has hundreds of live butterflies from around the world, while their Bug Zoo includes a tarantula tree, honey bee observatory, frog area, and more! If you’re scared of any of the bugs, don’t worry! Their goal is to educate you, not scare you beyond enjoying your visit.
Marquette has museums designed specifically for your curious kid. With hands-on and interactive exhibits, your whole family will enjoy learning. These museums also have innovative programs for children to learn through participation! Make your way up to Marquette, and explore their special brand of family fun!
Kids of all ages love the Petoskey Area in every season. Miles of bike trails to stretch their legs, paths leading through frog ponds, beaches to splash at, and enormous parks are just a few of the attractions in the spring, summer and fall. Come winter, fun goes downhill on skis, snowboards, and sleds, and when it’s time to return to the indoors, a huge waterpark is waiting.
Does your child enjoy hockey? St. Ignace hosts some of the Midwest’s largest pond hockey events, including the 4-on-4 Youth Pond Hockey Championships, February 24th to 26th. All levels and divisions are invited to play and the event is fun for the whole family, whether you’re on the ice or in the stands. Come play on St. Igance’s “pond,” which is actually Lake Huron!
- Adventure Mining Company
- Bella Vista Inn
- Boyne Highlands Resort
- Camp Daggett
- Castle Farms
- Crystal Mountain
- Evergreen Resort
- Fort de Buade
- Great Turtle Kayak Tours
- Great Wolf Lodge
- Heart Lake Cottages
- Holiday Inn Express Lakeview – Munising
- Inland Seas Education Association
- Inn at Bay Harbor, Autograph Collection
- Jacob’s Corn Maze
- Mackinac State Historic Parks
- Mission Point Resort
- Mt. Holiday
- Music House Museum
- National Cherry Festival
- Oliver Art Center
- Pine River Paddlesport Center
- Portage Point Inn and Marina
- Shetler Family Dairy
- The Blue Pelican Inn
- Wildwood Rush Canopy Tours
Fun in Central West Michigan
The Grand Rapids Treetop Adventure Park has six (soon to be seven!) courses that are broken into four different skill levels. These range from very easy to expert. Each course takes 30 to 45 minutes to complete, but you have three hours to do as much or as little as you please! They have activities for kids of all ages with a mini zipline course designed for kids ages 4 to 6, and a main deck which starts with kids that are 7 years old. You may have a hard time getting your kids to come back to the car when you visit this outdoor adventure park!
Downtown Market is in Grand Rapids is hosting a family Valentine’s Day celebration on Saturday, February 11th from 10am to 12:30pm. You and your family will create a red and white parfait, grilled cheese and tomato soup, red velvet cheesecake brownies, heart-shaped sugar cookies, and festive dipped pretzels. Spread the love with the whole family at the Downtown Market!
The Tri-Cities Historical Museum in Grand Haven is the perfect place for young learners who don’t want to be limited to just reading. Instead, step in, see, touch, and even smell all things history. Each exhibit is housed in a structure that is appropriate for the era. For example, the Woodland Era of Native American history is found inside an authentic birch bark wigwam. While The Tri-Cities Historical Museum is open to all ages, parents and guardians typically find 1st grade and above to be the most invested in the exhibits, though highly engaged parents will find something teachable in each exhibit!
DeVos Performance Hall in Grand Rapids is hosting Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live! on February 7th at 6pm. The legacy of the beloved “Mister Rogers” lives on with the hit television series, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, which airs daily on PBS Kids. Now, Daniel and all of his friends are hopping aboard the Trolley to delight audiences in Grand Rapids! Donning his iconic red sweater, Daniel takes the audience on an interactive musical adventure as he and his friends explore the vibrant world of their much-loved Neighborhood of Make-Believe, sharing stories of friendship, helping others, and celebrating new experiences.
A visit to Catch Air in Grand Rapids is sure to have your kids jumping for joy! Their indoor adventure park has inflatable slides, jungle gym, bounce castle, and more. Catch Air is also the perfect place for a birthday party! Throw the most memorable and enjoyable party ever without lifting a finger. Whether you’re stopping by for an afternoon of fun, or celebrating a birthday, Catch Air is always a hopping place to be!
The Critter Barn in Zeeland is a nonprofit educational farm spanning three acres. Their curriculum focuses on promoting an understanding of agriculture, food sources, animal care, animal science, volunteer initiatives, and the farmer’s role in feeding the world. They have an authentic learning environment with many friendly animals! Working on a farm, even visiting a farm, develops character and deepens an appreciation for the world around us.
A palette of colors await you as you wind along the entrance to Holland’s treasured Windmill Island Gardens. Tour five stories of the DeZwaan windmill, the only authentic Dutch windmill operating in the United States. From the top, you can survey 36 acres of manicured gardens, dikes, and canals. Complete your immersive Dutch experience with their costumed guides, hand-painted Dutch carousel and children’s gardens, gift shops, and more. Mark your calendars for Opening Day on Saturday, April 15th, 2017!
Muskegon County has things for kids of all ages. With museums, parks, beaches, and more, you’re sure to find something that your kids will love. If you’re looking for some unique winter sports while you’re in the area, the Muskegon Winter Sports Complex located in Muskegon State Park is right up your alley. This huge complex offers exciting annual events and an outdoor sports facility to the public. They have one of only four publicly accessible luge tracks in the country in addition to cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, and sledding on five miles of groomed track! Their ice rink is perfect for hockey or free skating, and in the summer, enjoy a variety of sports including archery and wheeled-luge. With activities all of the county, Muskegon should be our your family’s shortlist of places to visit!
The Grand Haven Main Street is celebrating the return of their Frozen in Time event. Returning February 11th, the event features Grand Haven businesses creating scenes from their favorite Broadway shows in their window displays using live mannequins and theater sets. Shows include The Lion King, Hamilton, Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, and many other favorites. Stroll through downtown and vote on your favorites! This is the perfect family event, especially for families with older kids.
- Cannonsburg Ski Area
- Christmas Lite Show
- Coopersville Farm Museum & Event Center
- Country Dairy, Inc.
- Deer Tracks Junction
- Downtown Courtyard by Marriott
- Fallasburg Arts Festival
- Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
- Grand Rapids Ballet Company
- Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
- Grand Rapids Public Museum
- Herman’s Boy Inc.
- Historic White Pine Village
- Holland Museum
- Home, Garden + DIY Show
- Hudsonville Showcase: A Women’s Expo & Mancave
- Hudsonville Urban HayDay
- John Ball Zoological Garden
- Klackle Orchards
- Lake Odessa Area Arts Commission
- Lewis Farm Market
- Loutit District Library
- Michigan Irish Music Festival
- Michigan’s Adventure
- Michillinda Lodge
- Muskegon Farmers Market
- Muskegon Museum of Art
- Nelis’ Dutch Village
- Outdoor Discovery Center
- Parrot’s Landing
- Pigeon Creek Golf Course
- Post Family Farm
- Robinette’s Apple Haus and Winery
- Sailplane Grand Prix USA
- SE4SONS Gastropub at Muskegon Country Club
- Sietsema Orchard and Cider Mill
- Silver Lake Buggy Rentals
- St. Cecilia Music Center
- Teusink’s Pony Farm
- The Harris Building
- Townsquare Media – Grand Rapids
- USS Silversides Submarine Museum
- Walk The Beat
- WaterDog Outfitters
- West Michigan Whitecaps
Fun in Southern West Michigan
Pierce Cedar Creek Institute in Hastings is hosting their Full Moon Snowshoe Hike on Friday, February 10th from 6:30pm to 9:30pm. Enjoy the full moon with the Institute’s guided hike through the moonlit woodlands and prairies. With two hike lengths will be available, 1.5 miles and 3 miles, this event is suitable for all ages and experience levels. After your hike, warm up with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate and a cookie around a roaring fire in the Visitor Center.
The Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven has three ships to explore and summer day camps for your kids! Bring the whole family sail Lake Michigan aboard Friends Good Will, or check out the US Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat, 36460, from the Disney film The Finest Hours. Later in the summer, the museum will be offering their STEM Kids Summer Camps on July 17th through 21st. Students in 3rd through 5th grade will receive hands-on lessons and experiences relating to maritime sciences. Registration is limited and opens in March. No matter what you’re up to, your kids will love their time at the Michigan Maritime Museum!
The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts offers free admission for kids through age 12, and admission for adults is only $5 (students are $2)! Ten galleries filled with art include a “Please Touch” Kids Corner, recently updated with a black light alcove, music making stations, art books, and more. Their Art Detectives programs for kids 4 to 8 with an adult introduce the youngest among us to the art museum, with a story, gallery stroll, and art-making.
The Air Zoo in Kalamazoo is a highly charged, multi-sensory atmosphere that goes beyond anything you’ve ever seen. It’s like no place else on Earth! Voted the “Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners” and “Best Place to Spend a Day with Your Family” three years in a row, the Air Zoo features more than 50 rare and historic aircraft, amusement park-style rides, Full-Motion Flight Simulators, RealD 3D/4D Missions Theater, as well as historical exhibits and educational activities.
The Leila Arboretum & Children’s Garden in Battle Creek is a one-acre garden and ever-changing environment where children can explore the world of plants. Using all the senses, children have the opportunity to investigate plants, vegetables, flowers, and much more! Now is the time to schedule spring and summer programs in the Arboretum and Children’s Garden. Programs are available for Scout Groups, Home schoolers, Play groups, School Field trips, and more!
You’ll find all the magic and wonder of the Silver Beach Carousel below the bluff in St. Joseph, just yards from Lake Michigan’s Silver Beach, named one of the top 10 family beaches by Parents magazine. Open all four seasons, you can ride a different carousel figure or chariot every week and fill the year with a new memory each time. Their sea serpent chariot is wheelchair accessible, so everyone can ride! Tokens are available for cash or credit card at the admissions desk or for cash from their token machine.
The City of Hastings hosts children’s music and entertainment at the Hastings Spray Plaza every Thursday at 11am from June 15th through August 31st. The programs are geared towards ages 1 to 12 and include musical acts, magicians, John Ball Zoo, and more! Don’t forget to bring and lunch and bathing suits to keep the fun going!
Winter in South Haven is full of fun for those willing to brave the cold! Coast Guard Hill is a native favorite for sledding, and the area offers beautiful views of the beach and marina. Those looking for vertical fun can climb the huge dune at Van Buren State Park or horizontally-hit the Kal-Haven Trail for a day of cross country skiing. For even more adventure, take a short drive to area ski resorts such as Timber Ridge Ski Area, with trails and lessons for all skill levels.
Battle Creek has two unique events, both surrounding cardboard sledding. Yes, sledding using cardboard. On February 4th at the Leila Arboretum, get your cardboard sled ready for a race down the arboretum’s hill with their Festivus event! If you miss Festivus, but yearn for cardboard sledding, the 27th Annual Cardboard Classic Sled Race is on February 11th in Albion. Build your best cardboard sled and race your way through Battle Creek this month!
- A. W. Overhiser Orchards
- Barn Theatre School for Advanced Theater Training
- Berrien County Youth Fair
- Box Factory for the Arts
- Capri Drive-In Theatre
- Corey Lake Orchards
- Cornwell’s Turkeyville USA
- Cranberry Lake Campground
- Crane’s Pie Pantry, Restaurant & Winery
- Dutch Farm Market
- Gilmore Car Museum
- iRock Jazz Festival
- Kalamazoo County Parks and Expo Center
- Lake Bluff Inn & Suites
- Ledge Craft Lane
- Michigan International Speedway
- Michigan Princess Riverboat
- Olde World Village
- Saugatuck Dune Rides Inc.
- Sleepy Hollow Resort
- The Christmas Tree