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Family Fun in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Home to the Big House and famous for its big-city, small-town charm, this Washtenaw County college city is never a dull moment. Here are eight places to take the kids any day of the week for a fun-filled afternoon!

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Looking for a new place to explore not too far from home? Mark your calendar for a family trip over to Ann Arbor, one of our mitten's must-see cities. Throughout the collegiate atmosphere of the downtown streets – cozy cafes, theaters and artsy shops – fun adventures are always awaiting even the youngest visitors. With indoor inflatable playgrounds, a hidden fairy village and a crafter's ultimate dream, here are some of the city's best-kept secrets, just for you and the kids.

Ann Arbor District Library

  • Address: 3090 E. Eisenhower Parkway (Downtown Branch), Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-327-4200
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday

Spend an afternoon with the family at the AADL and explore all it has to offer. Aside from the art collection and seasonal exhibits, ongoing programs just for kids include baby playgroups, preschool story times and other cool crafts, movies, games and contests (check its events calendar for highlights before heading over). They've even got awesome things for residents (non-residents can pay to get a library card, too) to check out – like science kits, Family Field Guides, unusual musical gadgets and telescopes. And don't forget to look for fairy doors hidden through the children's section!

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

  • Address: 220 E. Ann St., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-995-5439
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday
  • Admission: $10/person, free/children 2 and under

This museum is a must-see (and do!) for creative and curious minds alike. Tons of exhibits showcasing fascinations with technology, light and optics, simple machines and the human body invite kids to learn and discover the world around them in a whole new way. They can even climb a rock wall, walk on life-size piano keys and step inside a massive bubble. Plus, there's an interactive gallery made just for children 4 and under. New exhibits are rolling in all the time, so be sure to check back often for more fun and surprises (we did!).

Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation

  • Address: Various locations in Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-794-6230
  • Hours: may vary by location

Consisting of a whopping 157 city parks, which include Buhr and Fuller parks, Tree Town's outdoor spots boast amenities such as basketball and tennis courts, softball and soccer fields, shelters, swimming pools, ice rinks and more.

Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra

  • Address: 220 E. Huron St., Suite 470, Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-994-4801
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday (office); show hours vary

Since 1928, Ann Arbor's premier orchestra has been wowing crowds with opera, classic concertos and contemporary pieces. Watch for its annual array of kid-pleasing family concerts, instrument petting zoos and free 30-minute KinderConcerts for ages 2-6.

Briarwood Mall

  • Address: 100 Briarwood Circle, Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-769-9610
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday

Anchored by Macy's, jcpenney, Von Maur and Sears, this regional shopping magnet is packed with a variety of shops for all budgets. Be sure to catch seasonal family fun events – and the cool play area for kids.

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