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Top 10 Family Fun Summer Musts in Southeast Michigan

It's the 'last hurrah' of summer here in metro Detroit; savor the final month of vacation with these 10 top things to do all around town

It's the dog says of summer in the Motor City – and, for local families, August is that final chance to send vacation off right (especially with that late Sept. 5 Labor Day!). Here are 10 sure-bets family fun opportunities in southeast Michigan that you'll definitely want to cross off your list before the school bell rings.

1. Woodward Dream Cruise

Tote out the folding chairs and take in the awesome autos this weekend at the Woodward Dream Cruise, officially rolling the classic cars into town this Saturday, Aug. 20 (though locals know the show has already begun. Try to get up and down Woodward for errands. It takes for-ever!). Or check out the oodles of upcoming parades and kids' activities at a bevy of hometown shebangs.

2. Take in a Detroit Tigers game

Head on out to the ballgame at Detroit's Comerica Park. No matter how the home team's doing out on the field, the family promotions and fun are a homerun. Sunday's home games promise giveaways for kids, like foam paws and baseball mitts, plus free carousel and Ferris wheel rides. And don't forget the Friday and Saturday night fireworks!

3. Go sightseeing at local attractions

Be a tourist in your own town. In Royal Oak, the Detroit Zoo offers Wild Summer Nights, featuring kid-friendly music every Wednesday in July and August. Or catch a historic baseball game at Greenfield Village in Dearborn. Don't forget about the fun at the Detroit Science Center, Cranbrook Institute of Science, the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum and all of the awesome museums and attractions in southeast Michigan.

4. Visit a water park

Flip for your local wet spot. Families love Oakland County Parks' popular pair – in Waterford Oaks Waterpark and Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights – or get doused at Ypsilanti's Rolling Hills Water Park. Metroparks also offers fun options, including the newer Turtle Cove Family Aquatic Center in Belleville. Zero-depth "spray 'n play" options are fit for tots. Or check out the K.L.R. Splashpad in Oxford and H20 Zone in Westland. Check out our list of Top 10 Waterparks in Southeast Michigan for more inspiration and details.

5. Get sports nutty

Hit the park – or backyard – and set up a zany obstacle course, the ladder-golf set or badminton net. Limbo only takes a broomstick, and tag is gear-free. Round up a few of the neighborhood kids for lemonade and a heart-pumping afternoon in the sun.

6. Hike or 'camp'

The wild outdoors is a trail-stroll away in local, county and state parks. Try the 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks for themed hikes, and detour to the nature centers for fun programs. And a Summer Nights Program hits the Howell Nature Center on select dates. No matter where you live, in fact, there's a nature spot near you.

7. Make-and-take

Instead of schoolbooks, cram that backpack with handmade treasures. Downtown in Detroit, for instance, PuppetART has puppet-making workshops after Saturday matinees. Check your local library for loads more.

8. Gone fishin'

Catch a new skill – or at least some memories. The Michigan Kids Fishing Center suggests Ford Lake Park in Ann Arbor, Trenton's Elizabeth Park, and William G. Milliken State Park off Detroit's riverfront for a great first experience. Plus, most public marinas on Lakes Erie and St. Clair and the Detroit River have a fishing pier.

9. Beach bum

Our neck of the Great Lakes State brims with beaches, like those at Camp Dearborn in Milford, or Metro Beach Metropark near Mount Clemens. Swim in buoyed areas or slap on the SPF and soak up some rays. Try Independence Lake County Park, in Webster Township, for its sandcastle-prime shore, too.

10. A sweet summer ending – ice cream

They're already screaming for it. And local dairy delights abound, from Bob Jo's Frozen Custard in Wyandotte to Yum Yum Tree in Brighton to Stroh's Ice Cream Parlor  in St. Clair Shores. Check out our list of the Top Ice Cream Shops in Southeast Michigan for more sweet stores.
 

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