Most days, I am happily up to my ears with lists of things to do in Chelsea, Michigan. But what if we wanted to do something fun outside the city limits? [Gasp!]
Earlier this month, I posted a message on a local parenting board to inquire about "must see" things to do in Michigan. My brother and his family were visiting from California, and previously had only visited us for "the holidays", so I wanted to show them that Michigan isn't always cold and dark.
I have lived in southeastern Michigan my whole life, and in Washtenaw County since 1988. But I was still greatly impressed with this long list of suggestions for old favorites, and many places I had never heard of! Hope you find it useful as well.
Local Parents List of "Must See" Things To Do In Michigan
(NOTE: The original responses are included below, and were edited as needed. My own comments are the "Editor's Notes")
- Warren Dunes in Sawyer, MI right on Lake Michigan. It’s a state park so you will pay for the day or free if you have a sticker. It’s about 2.5 hours away, right off I-94. The dunes are fun to climb and the lake is nice, with a great beach. They also have a trail leading to mud pits. The kids love to go and play in the mud and walk back to the lake to wash it all off.
- If you want to stay close to home, don’t forget the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum.
- Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village - My kids have loved to
go there over and over again. It's a great place for all ages. [Editor's note: I received more suggestions for the Henry Ford Museum than any other place!]
- There are lots of great parks close by: Kensington, Independence Lake, Rolling Hills, Hudson Mills. I love to go to Independence Lake on a hot day. It is perfect for kids within that age range, because it also has a nice splash zone.
- The Leslie Science Center should be fun, too.
- Cabela's - The mounted animals are pretty neat, as well as the fish tanks.
- Ask your visitors if they have apple orchards where they are. I think that apple picking season is just starting, and it’s fun for kids to go to an orchard and pick some apples.
- Downtown Detroit is fun as long as you don't get lost!. You could go to a Detroit Tigers game, see Ford Field, visit Greektown, etc.
- Of course, a day on the beach at Lake Michigan is beautiful any time. The lack of salt water may surprise the kids. South Haven, Saugatuck or Holland (Hoffmaster State Park) make for wonderful day trips to see Lake Michigan and feel like you are worlds away.
- I’d definitely say Sleeping Bear Dunes!
- We went to the Corner Brewery in Ypsilanti with [our of town guests] last night, and that was fun because you can take kids and it’s very relaxed, with board games and stuff.
- There’s the arboretum, checking out the University, etc.
- If they're going to be here on a Sat., the Southern MI RR is fun. It goes from Clinton to Tecumseh, then back. You get a nice look at agricultural countryside, walk around a typical small town, etc.
- Of course there are also the Zoos (Detroit Zoo, Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek, Potter Park Zoo in Lansing and the Toledo Zoo is also within easy driving distance).
- The Detroit Science Center has a new exhibit called Fun Factory. It is sponsored by Great Lakes Steel and is supposed to be pretty cool.
- In Plymouth we have a very fun little restaurant in old village called The Caboose right by the train tracks that has corned beef sandwiches that are FAB (IMHO) minus the Zingerman's price tag! [Editor's note: price tag or no, Zingerman's is also a great place to bring guests!]
- The UM Botanical Garden is good – lots of native plants on the outside “Ethnobotanical” trail, garden area.
- Farmer’s markets – Chelsea, Ann Arbor or other local markets are a nice activity on a Saturday morning. Blueberry or raspberry picking might also be a nice outing for them.
- Canoeing or paddle boating on the Huron at Gallup Park.
- And there’s always the Historical Museum in Lansing.
- The 'Dinosaur Museum' in Ann Arbor (aka the Exhibit Museum of Natural History) - It's a great size for families. Not too big, not too small. Kids love the dinosaur bones!
- Michigan.gov website and the Michigan.org website
- Roadside America Online Guide to Offbeat Tourist Attractions!
- Manchester Community Calendar
- Michigan 2007 Fairs List
- Locate Festivals and Events around Michigan!
- Summer Activities in Washtenaw County
- Absolute Michigan – All Michigan All the Time
- “Things to Do In Chelsea” website [Editor's note: I love it when people recommend my own site to me!]
Partly because the weather was so crazy (hot, humid, cold, thunderstorms... we had it all!), and partly because the kids kept begging to go again and again, we spent more time than anticipated at the TreeHouse. I think we went 4 or 5 times in less than 2 weeks. Not that I'm complaining. Any time I can sit back and drink good coffee and let the kids have a blast is just fine with me!
We had a fantastic dinner --as always!-- at the Common Grill for my birthday. We visited Mike's Deli and Zou Zou's for more good food and coffee. We went to the Chelsea Fair twice (once for shows and animal viewing, and the other for rides and eats) and had our annual Parade Day celebration. We went to the 'Dinosaur Museum' in Ann Arbor. Another big event was going to the Huckleberry Railroad to take a ride with Thomas the Train. But most of all, the kids spent hours and hours and hours playing legos, pirates, dress-up, swinging and making mud-pies in the backyard. We watched some movies, played some cards. Enjoyed my husband's fabulous grilling skills and sat on the back deck.
The "Must See" things for families to do in Chelsea that we missed? Just a few...