It’s the dog days 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 Michigan 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 H20 Zone in Westland. Check out our list of Top 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.
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 Treat Dreams in Ferndale. Check out our list of the Top Independent Ice Cream Shops in Southeast Michigan for more sweet stores.
Looking for that perfect summer vacation for your kids? Read our FREE Guide to Summer Camps in Michigan. Download it for FREE right now! BONUS: Get a FREE subscription to Metro Parent magazine for year-round fun!