Families in search of adventure should check out Calhoun County

Play at Kids ‘N’ Stuff

Your kids are going to love splashing in the new water table at Kids ‘N’ Stuff in Albion. Of course, all the classics are still around to fill an afternoon with play: the costumes and theater stage, block mountain, the farm, the shopping mart and the auto garage. 

Kids ‘N’ Stuff is about more than toys – it’s about inspiring kids to be creative, to get messy, to engage in parallel play. 

Speaking of kids in Albion,  Esham Family Farm has baby goat yoga classes – indoors when it’s cold, outdoors when it’s warm. Animal lovers of all ages can hug the babies and watch them play as an instructor takes the humans through a series of simple stretches.

Go to the mall

Lakeview Square Mall is about more than shopping. There’s a movie theater and bookstore with cafe. 

Horrocks Farm Market is opening at the mall soon. It will provide the perfect snacks for any adventure, with every kind of gummy candy imaginable (and some healthy produce, too).

No matter the weather, you can pop ollies at Battleground Skate House. Bring a BMX bike, skateboard or scooter to try the rails and ramps in a large, open space located at Lakeview Square Mall. If you didn’t bring your gear, you can rent from Battleground. 

If your kids are just starting to learn, it’s recommended to come at opening time on weekdays or on Saturday morning to avoid experienced riders zooming around.

Take a food vacation

If you weren’t able to go on a Caribbean vacation this year, you can still catch the tastes and sounds at Island Style BBQ. Drizzle authentic homemade jerk sauce over smoked chicken with a side of cornbread and Haitian greens. 

If you want to go further afield, there are great options for Japanese, Korean, Thai, Malaysian, Burmese and more. Start with Umami Ramen, Shwe Mandalay, New Asian Taste and Kume Hibachi

Pick up Mexican street food like elote and Dorilokos (taco ingredients in a Dorito bag) along with paletas at San Francisco Taqueria.

Soar at Binder Park Zoo

The big new adventure at Binder Park Zoo will have you gliding through the air like a bird and swinging from ropes like a monkey.

Skylark Ridge is an intricate ropes course, three stories tall. Choose your path along different challenges then jump off a platform to fly along a zip line to another part of the course.

For the younger adventurers who might not be ready for the big course, there’s a smaller ropes course option right next to it.

Binder Park Zoo opens May 1.

See lots of cool cars

At Gilmore Car Museum, designing cars is an art. The campus is huge and there’s lots to see, from a movie set to muscle cars. Most of the cars are for looking (not touching), but if you go to Gilmore from 11 to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays in the summer, you can Ride the Classics. They’ll offer rides in cars such as a 1929 Ford Model A Phaeton or a 1973 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible.

Buy books and candy

Books are adventure essentials, the perfect companions for long car rides or sitting by the pool. New Story Community Books in downtown Marshall has books that are goofy, scary, magical and relatable. 

Grandma’s Toys & Treats also has a great selection of crafts and science experiments, if you want a project to work on.

 But you can’t leave Marshall without stopping at Great Lakes Candy and Cones. Create your own candy mix by shoveling different kinds of treats into a bag – pay by the pound. If you bring your dog, they can find treats down the street at Pawfitters. 

Celebrate at a festival

Summer is festival season in Calhoun County. Sit at the World’s Largest Breakfast Table for the Cereal Festival on June 10. Watch the skies during Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival June 29-July 4. Besides jets, pyrotechnics and hot air balloons, there will be giant kites this year! 

Leilapalooza is a family friendly music festival surrounded by the Fantasy Forest sculptures on July 29, or get the blues in downtown Marshall for the Blues Fest on June 24. 

Color the Creek lasts an entire week in August, but plan to be there for Youth Day when kids can make their own art and watch professional artists at work. 

Finally, meet the farm animals of 4-H during August’s Calhoun County Fair in Marshall. There will be fair rides, fair food and fair entertainment — including the popular demolition derby.

Ride bikes at Historic Bridge Park

Bring your bicycles to Historic Bridge Park for a paved trail that will take you through the woods. From the park to the wooden boardwalk and back again is about three miles. 

The park is also a great spot for a picnic, with a playground and some beautiful old bridges to explore. You can sit at a table right next to the Kalamazoo River and grill some hot dogs.

TikTok your mural tour

Stop by the Battle Creek Welcome Center to pick up a Color the Creek guide. It shows you where there are more than 30 murals in Battle Creek, many of them within walking distance of the Welcome Center. 

If you’re looking for a good TikTok background, try the Love mural. Or check out the origami sculptures while you’re walking around.

Journey to Fantasy Forest

See trolls, fairies and monsters at Leila Arboretum. They’ve been carved from trees that were dying because of the Emerald Ash Borer. The statues are weird and whimsical. 

Fantasy Forest is part of a larger park, with a walking trail, disc golf course, flowering trees and a children’s garden.

Pick your own flowers

ZEMR Family Farm invites you to their outdoor flower garden when the weather turns warm. They provide the scissors, so you can cut what you want and pay by the stem for a personalized bouquet or flower crown.

Make a splash at Full Blast

Go full speed down the water slides at Flash Flood. The two towering slides have recently been refurbished, along with new canopies and pool-side loungers. Little ones will have more fun in the wading pool area, where there are sprinklers and water spouts. Borrow an innertube for some floating under the sun at the outdoor pool.

Flash Flood is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day. Admission is $12 for ages 3 and older; it’s free for ages 2 and younger. Tuesday is Buy One Get One Free ticket day, and it’s $5 after 5 o’clock every other day of the week.

The Calhoun County Visitors Bureau was formed in 1979 and is the only organization that promotes Calhoun County as a destination for business meetings, sporting events, and tourism-related activities. Our cities include Battle Creek, Marshall and Albion.