From the June 2015 issue

10 Tickets to Summer Fun for Families

On your mark, get set – summer! You know the drill. School is out, and fun is in. The official first day is June 21. But in metro Detroit, truth is, the weather is fine (and kids are already crying “bored”) way sooner. And you’re a long way from Labor Day (it’s Sept. 7, if you’re tracking).

We promise, though: Things will be OK. Pour yourself an icy lemonade (or mojito?), and download 100 Days of Summer Family Activities and Attractions in Michigan. What’s that? We call it a “freebie.” But you’ll call it a lifesaver. This mini magazine has 28 pages of festivals, activities and adventures in southeast Michigan, and the PDF is all yours; no charge. Sample what’s waiting here – and then get 10 times more (literally) at MetroParent.com/Freebies.

1. Summer Drive-In at Compuware Arena

In Plymouth, three screens show family-friendly first-run flicks. Catch the double feature action, al fresco, June 5-6 and June 8-Sept. 6. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. and flicks begin at dusk. $10/adults, $8/ages 4-12 and free/under 3. Bonus: Kids can run around and blow off steam.

2. SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

Lionfish and reef sharks and octopuses – oh, my! Find tons deep-sea critters at this hot 35,000-square-foot aquatic wonderland that opened earlier this year at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills. It’s open daily, but aim to buy in advance on weekends; it’s been known to sell out! Tickets are $18.50-$23.40 (free under 3).

3. A Good Old-Fashioned Campfire Circle

The Leslie Science & Nature Center in Ann Arbor hosts these free one-summer-Sunday-a month events filled with chitchat and s’mores. Drop by June 28, July 26 and Aug. 30.

4. Make Videos

It’s as easy as tapping your smartphone. Capture candid moments or get some family stories on “film.” Maybe even come up with a wacky play (sock puppets, anyone?). They’re a blast – and amazing memories later on.

5. Cedar Point

Make the drive down to Sandusky, Ohio and try out the new floorless thrill ride Rougarou, plus all your favorite rollercoasters and kiddy rides. Don’t forget the Dippin’ Dots and elephant ears (and to buy tickets online in advance for discounts).

6. Dive In!

Are you ready for a ginormous tipping bucket or two? We’ve got some incredible water parks here in southeast Michigan – not to mention very cool pools and zero-depth “spraygrounds” for tiny tots.

7. Primp Your Flip-Flops

A few pony beads or pieces of scrap fabric are all it takes to bling out a simple pair.

8. Zip It Good

There’s now a zip line and high-ropes course in town. You been? Hit The Adventure Park at West Bloomfield for airborne kicks up in the trees. Its 10 trails are color-coded by difficulty level. The 2015 season runs till Sept. 7. Costs range $39-$44/ages 12-plus, $34-$39/10-11, $29-$34/7-9 and free/5-6 with adult.

9. Coney Showdown

It’s a Detroit-classic faceoff. So why not try Lafayette and American Coney dogs as a family? Establish your allegiance!

10. Armada Fair

Michigan’s got deep down-home roots where farming’s concerned, and this countrified fest, back for a 143rd romp Aug. 17-23, is a darn fittin’ way to whoop it up with demolition derbies, rodeos, tractor pulls and festival fun.

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