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Historical Attractions in Southeast Michigan

These historical spots in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties are the perfect setting for families to learn and play together. Updated for 2014-15.

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In an area as historically rich as metro Detroit, there are countless opportunities for families to bring history to life at local museums, historical sites and other fun activities throughout the year. Whether you want to check out the latest exhibits at the Detroit Institute of Arts or take a trip into 18th century life at Greenfield Village, this list of historical hotspots in Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties has some great options for educational family fun.

Arab American National Museum

  • Address: 13624 Michigan Ave., Dearborn
  • Phone: 313-582-2266
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday; closed Monday, Tuesday and Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day
  • Admission: $8/general, $4/students, seniors and children ages 6-12, free/ages 5 and under

Visit the first and only museum in the United States devoted to Arab-American history and culture. Throughout the year there are performances, films, children's craft classes and cultural presentations.

Automotive Hall of Fame

  • Address: 21400 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
  • Phone: 313-240-4000
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday; closed some holidays
  • Admission: $8/adults, $6/seniors and students (ages 13-18), $4/ages 5-12 and tour groups of 15 or more, $2/school groups, free/under 5

Located beside the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, this place attracts automotive aficionados from all over the world. In addition to the 65-foot Hall of Honor mural, you can see a replica of the first gasoline-powered automobile – and a replica of UAW legend Walter Reuther's dining room.

Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History

  • Address: 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-494-5800
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 1-5 p.m. Sunday; closed most Mondays and major holidays (note: open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays during February for Black History Month and 9 a.m.-7 p.m. on Martin Luther King Jr. Day)
  • Admission: $8/adults, $5/ages 3-12 and seniors 62-plus, free/under 3

This mecca to African-American culture packs many activities and exhibits into its 125,000 square feet. The permanent A is for Africa exhibit, complete with 26 interactive learning stations, is designed for kids. Also, watch for monthly family events, ongoing temporary exhibits – and explore the 22,000-square-foot interactive core area that extends through 20 galleries.

City of Wayne Historical Museum

  • Address: 1 Town Square, Wayne
  • Phone: 734-722-0113
  • Hours: 1-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday; by appointment Monday-Wednesday
  • Admission: free

Formerly the village hall, this building also has served as a police station, fire station, junior achievement offices and the chamber of commerce before being restored to its original condition. These days, visitors find more than 100 displays including extensive early maps, documents and photos, plus a display of the Civil War, industry school and early home and village artifacts.

Cranbrook Institute of Science

  • Address: 39221 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills
  • Phone: 248-645-3200
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday Labor-Memorial days only. Closed holidays, April 20, May 4 and 17
  • Admission: $13/adults, $9.50/ages 2-12, free/under 2; Friday and Saturday evenings (5-10 p.m.): $6.50/adults, $5.50/kids; $5/planetarium

The history of the earth and beyond come to life in planetarium shows and the area's leading collection of mastodons – along with other extinct creatures that once roamed the earth.

Cobblestone Farm Museum

  • Address: 2781 Packard Road, Ann Arbor
  • Phone: 734-794-6230
  • Hours: office: 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays; tours by appointment
  • Admission: $1.50/kids, $2/adults, $5/family, free/under 3

Take a peek at mid-19th century living while touring an 1840s farmhouse, log cabin, barn, homes, gardens and history aplenty. Throughout the year, there are craft shows and old-fashioned holiday celebrations.

Crocker House Museum

  • Address: 15 Union St., Mount Clemens
  • Phone: 586-465-2488
  • Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, plus 1-4 p.m. first Sundays (except holidays); closed January and February; open for other special events (listed on official website)
  • Admission: check ahead for costs

This Italianate home, dating to 1869, was built by the first mayor of Mount Clemens: Joshua Dickinson (it's actually named, however, after the second mayor). The Macomb County Historical Society preserves local history here through artifacts and rotating exhibits and educational programs, including an etiquette tea for kids, holiday family fun and more.

Dearborn Historical Museum

  • Addresses: Commandant's Quarters, 21950 Michigan Ave.; McFadden-Ross House & Richard Gardner House, 915 Brady St.
  • Phone: 313-565-3000
  • Hours: Quarters: by request; Ross: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, 9 a.m.-noon Thursday; Gardner: by request.
  • Admission: donation only

Triple your historical discovery at these three spots dating back to the 1830s. Military is the theme at the Brady Street homes, part of the former Detroit arsenal in what was then Dearbornville. Exhibits at the McFadden-Ross House include photos, books and artifacts that reflect local families and changes in the community.

Detroit Historical Museum

  • Address: 5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-833-1805
  • Hours: 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, closed Monday
  • Admission: free; $6/vehicle parking

Nothing takes you back in time quicker than a visit to The Streets of Old Detroit –just one part of the 80,000 square feet of preserved history. If you've ever wondered about the intricacies of an assembly line, check out The Motor City. Watch for favorite annual kids events throughout the year, from Halloween to Black History Month to Easter.

Detroit Institute of Arts

  • Address: 5200 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Phone: 313-833-7900
  • Hours: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; closed Monday, call for holiday hours
  • Admission: free/residents and school students of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties; others $8/adults, $6/seniors, $5/college students (with valid school photo ID), $4/kids (ages 6-17), free/ages 5 and under

This art collection is one of the top six in the United States and includes more than 100 galleries and the spectacular Detroit Industry fresco by Diego Rivera – plus Vincent van Gogh's Self Portrait and much to explore in the General Motors Center for African American Art. The DIA is open late every Friday night with live music, and on Family Sundays you'll find family performances, storytelling and art-making workshops.

Dossin Great Lakes Museum

  • Address: 100 Strand Drive, Belle Isle, Detroit
  • Phone: 313-833-5538
  • Hours: 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday-Sunday; otherwise, closed to public (appointments for group tours welcome) and major holidays
  • Admission: free but donations welcome; event prices may vary

This recently renovated museum, located on the shores of Detroit's historic Belle Isle, offers a variety of permanent and changing exhibits and attractions showcasing the industrial-rich and social history of the Great Lakes. Explore Detroit's waterways in Built by the River, plus other exhibits like the Miss Pepsi 1950s championship hydroplane and William Clay Ford Pilot House.

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