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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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Leslie Science and Nature Center

  • Address: 1831 Traver Road, Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-997-1553
  • Hours: grounds open sunrise-sunset daily (call for Critter House hours)
  • Cost: free/admission

Discover the creatures that swoop up high and slither down low: From owls and hawks to turtles and toads, the Leslie Science and Nature Center invites you to experience some of earth's neatest critters. You can view the raptor enclosures from sun-up to sun down daily, or wander through the Critter House every weekend, where staff is available to answer any questions. Walk the Black Pond Woods Trail and observe the animals in their natural habitats, too, while you hunt for tracks or try your hand at geocaching – an outdoor treasure hunt – with any GPS-enabled device. The 50-acre property is open every day of the year.

Lexi's Toy Box

  • Address: 328 S. Ashley St., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-332-1101
  • Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday

This independently owned and operated store offers toys, play sets, clothes and costumes for kids of all ages. Haba, Green Toys, Klutz and Fat Brain Toy Co. are just some of the brands this store carries.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum

  • Address: 1800 N. Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-647-7600
  • Hours: open daily, sunrise to sunset
  • Cost: free (conservatory entrance has fees to enter)

Enjoy looking at native Michigan plants along with varieties from around the world at this 123-acre arboretum, which has both indoor and outdoor sections.

Michigan Theater

  • Address: 600 E. Liberty St., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-668-TIME
  • Hours: vary by show
  • Cost: $9/general, $7/students and ages 12 and under

This magnificent old-fashioned theater houses two auditoriums under the same roof. Don't miss the Not Just for Kids live stage shows, as well as a series of occasional flicks children will love.

The Peaceable Kingdom

  • Address: 210 S. Main St., Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-668-7886
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday

This local gift store has an eclectic mix of finds, including jewelry, toys, folk art and even a fairy door. Ask inside about the fairies that built the store!

Planet Rock

  • Address: 82 Aprill Drive, Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-827-2680
  • Hours: 3 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday, 3-11 p.m. Thursday (open during the week at 11 a.m. September-May), 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
  • Admission: Rental and play prices vary, packages available

Seeking a new adventure? Try your hands (and feet) at Planet Rock – a huge indoor climbing gym. Rock walls, ropes and play gyms are open to climbers of all ages and levels for an exciting day of finding new heights. For first-timers, the training session will teach you everything you need to know to reach the top. Camps, daily passes, lessons and teams are also available, whether you're looking to climb competitively or for recreation. ABC for Kids climbing is even open to tykes as young as 3.

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