Hunting for Something Fun to Do with the Kids on Black Friday? Head to St. Joseph, Mich.

It’s Black Friday on Thanksgiving weekend. Houses are teeming with relatives. Moms, dads, aunts and uncles are raring to hunt for bargains. Others for best beers and bar stools to watch football games. Still others a tree stand to spy a 10-point buck. But what is there to do with all those pre-schoolers and off-from-school, eager-to-do-something-fun cousins?

Head to St. Joseph, Mich., to go nose-to-nose with two live reindeer from noon to 5pm at the Silver Beach Center, 333 Broad St. It’s only a $1 per person (free to kids 2 and younger) to enter the Christmas Corral in Shadowland Ballroom (just across the indoor boardwalk from the Silver Beach Carousel). Children can pet the soft muzzles of these gentle draft animals of North Pole fame. Listen to the click-click of their hoofs and the jingle of their bells. And families can capture the magic-filled moment with a professional keepsake photograph for $3 or 2 for $5.

But the Black Friday family fun doesn’t stop here. Cross the boardwalk to the Carousel and hunt for a favorite figure to ride among the magnificent two chariots and 48 hand-carved and painted choices. Finding “Noel, the Christmas Horse” is always a delightful challenge. 

Starting this weekend, the Carousel glitters with holiday lights and is festooned with decorations. The band organ fills the air with happy seasonal tunes. Which makes it the perfect time to snap photographs of kids’ smiling faces to add to holiday cards. Ride tokens are only $2 and bargain hunters can save more by buying multiples.

But the Carousel isn’t just about whirling with joy. It’s a great place to find respite from the frenzy of shopping. Play a game of checkers with a grandchild. Color pictures. Hula hoop. Show kids how families had fun in the past at the Silver Beach Amusement Park that once thrilled thousands just down the street from the Carousel. Or rock and rock in chairs with babies and toddlers.

Yet avid bargain hunters won’t be disappointed with this Black Friday destination either. They’ll find The Brass Ring Gift Shop shelves brimming with ideas for anyone still on their lists. There are collector ornaments, carousel pins and music boxes, handmade scented soaps, jewelry, jigsaw puzzles, charming stuffed animals, custom-designed t-shirts, snow globes, stocking stuffers, books, bags of tokens and much more. Store hours match the Carousel hours from 11am to 8pm.

After time in the Carousel house, families can continue to have fun at the Silver Beach Center by looking up into Michigan’s tallest kaleidoscope or exploring the Curious Kids’ Museum Discovery Zone.

Other fun holiday events are planned at the Carousel, too. For up-to-date information, visit, or call 269-932-1141.