When you’re a kid, nothing sounds more appealing than being a grown-up. No nap time, unlimited access to ice cream, and all sorts of new freedoms. When adulthood rolls around, though, being a child again sounds like a blast! Luckily for us, Michigan is home to plenty of attractions that are great for kiddos and adults alike. Here are 11 of our favorites:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Mackinac Island
This is a no-brainer. For younger visitors, Mackinac Island feels like a wonderland of beautiful nature, ever-available fudge and ice cream, and horse-drawn carriages. The charm doesn’t wear off for adults, and you’ll feel like a kid again as you appreciate the car-free joy of Michigan’s most famous island.
2. Michigan’s Adventure (1198 W Riley-Thompson Rd, Muskegon)
Looking for the ultimate family outing? Head to Muskegon and check out Michigan’s Adventure, which offers thrill rides, roller coasters, and an awesome water park for non-stop fun. No matter what your age, there’s something here to make you giddy with excitement — just don’t forget the sunscreen!
3. Belle Isle Aquarium (900 Inselruhe Ave, Detroit)
There’s something undeniably magical about a visit to Belle Isle Aquarium, which is the oldest of its kind in the United States. Whether you’re 9 or 90, you’ll be mesmerized by the sight of tropical fish zooming through tanks in this Detroit gem. Parents will be especially glad to know that there’s no entry fee!
4. Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum (31005 Orchard Lake Rd, Farmington Hills)
As soon as you step into this fascinating arcade wonderland, you’ll be overwhelmed in the best way possible. From pinball machines to flashing neon signs to fortune-telling robots, there’s truly something here to amuse each and every visitor. You (and your kids) could spend hours at Marvin’s and never see all it has to offer.
5. Lake St. Clair Metropark (31300 Metro Pkwy, Harrison Charter Township)
A day in the sun doesn't get much more wonderful than this. Load up the family and head out to the water park at Lake St. Clair Metropark, which offers slides, a splash zone for younger visitors, and plenty of poolside lounging for parents who would rather get a little rest and relaxation while the kids swim. There’s no better place to unwind on a warm summer afternoon.
6. Great Wolf Lodge (3575 US-31, Traverse City)
If you’re looking to take the family on a vacation without venturing out of Michigan, Great Wolf Lodge might just be the destination for you. When you stay at this fabulous resort, you’ll have access to an amazing indoor and outdoor waterpark. Visitors of all ages will love zooming down water slides and frolicking in the refreshing water, while adults will appreciate the presence of age-restricted hot tubs!
7. Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park (1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids)
Head to Grand Rapids and check out this wonderful attraction, which never fails to delight with its unique art exhibits, outdoor sculpture gardens, and stunning greenhouse. Whether you stop by during springtime to explore the butterfly garden or attend an outdoor concert during summer months, there’s something truly exciting here for each and every visitor.
8. Detroit Zoo (8450 W 10 Mile Rd, Royal Oak)
Who doesn’t enjoy a day at the zoo? If you’re an animal-lover or the parent of an animal-lover, the Detroit Zoo is an absolute must-see. Bring along your kiddos or make a grown-up field trip of it as you observe monkeys, lions, penguins, and everything in between. There’s no better place to explore the wonders of the animal kingdom without venturing too far from home.
9. Windmill Island (1 Lincoln Ave, Holland)
Fields of tulips, a carousel, an ornate street organ, and a stunning historic windmill… sound like something out of a fairy tale? The fairy tale comes to life when you visit Windmill Island in Holland. Kiddos will love the island’s playground, carousel, and various animals, while adults will be fascinated with the sense of history that abounds. What’s not to love?
10. Greenfield Village (20900 Oakwood Boulevard, Dearborn)
Looking for an opportunity to step back in time? You’re in luck. Check out Dearborn’s Greenfield Village within the Henry Ford museum complex. Children and adults alike will enjoy interacting with historical re-enactors, riding in a real Model T, or simply perusing the various shops and homes that demonstrate what early life was like here in the Great Lakes State.
11. Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland (25 Christmas Ln, Frankenmuth)
It’s no secret that kiddos love Christmas, and there are plenty of adults among us who just can’t seem to shake that yuletide spirit either. If this sounds like you, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland will quickly become your new favorite spot. This massive store in Frankenmuth celebrates holiday cheer year-round, and you might just forget that you’re visiting in the heat of summer!
Did we leave any of your favorite family-friendly attractions off of our list? Where are your favorite destinations here in Michigan? We’re always eager to hear from you in the comment section below!