Good times with grandparents can make up some of the best childhood memories. If you’re lucky, you might have a few of your own: A trip to Woolworths, a day out fishing or that time grandpa took you to get your ears pierced. Why not give your kids the same? National Grandparents Day is Sunday, Sept. 11. Use that as inspiration to plan a special grandparent-grandkid “date” in metro Detroit.
For a low-key outing, try a souped-up movie experience at Emagine theaters. Save money with a matinee ($5-$8) and enjoy the leather lounge chairs and assigned seating. Upgrade to luxury seats for even more space for all the obligatory snacks.
“We pride ourselves on being family-friendly and provide a toy after every children’s movie, which makes our theaters a great place for a grandparent-grandchild outing,” says Melissa Boudreau, Emagine’s vice president of sales and marketing (toys are for ages 6-11, while supplies last). Add a round or two of bowling at the Royal Oak location’s built-in Star Lanes.
Locations in Birmingham, Canton, Macomb Township, Novi, Rochester Hills, Royal Oak, Woodhaven.
Add a dollop of history to your next trip with some easy-going strolling at this open-air museum, Greenfield Village. Gram, gramps and the kids can climb aboard the Weiser Railroad, take a ride in a Model T or enjoy a spin on the 1919 carousel.
“The Henry Ford offers plenty of opportunities for multi-generations to take a look back through our nation’s history and find some common ground and be inspired together,” says Melissa Foster, media and film relations manager here.
It’s open daily through Oct. 30, sporadically till Dec. 31 and closed Jan. 1-April 14. Tickets are $23.50/seniors 62-plus, $19.50/ages 3-11 and free/2 and under.
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn; 313-982-6001.
Adventurous grandparents can bring the kids here for miniature golf, arcade games, laser tag, go-karts, trampolines, a climbing wall and more at Paradise Park. Plus, there’s a full restaurant where you can grab a bite after a day of action.
“We have something for all ages,” says sales and marketing manager Dakota Brown. “If they have three or four different grandchildren of different age groups, we have something to accommodate all of them.”
You’ll also be glad to know the entire facility is handicap accessible. All activities cost $7 or less, Brown says. They’re open most days; call ahead for seasonal hours.
45799 Grand River Ave., Novi; 248-735-1050.
Leslie Science & Nature Center
Soak up some nature at Leslie Science & Nature Center, a relaxed destination. Swing by for a self-guided tour of the birds of prey, hike through Black Pond Woods or stop by the Critter House to see turtles, snakes and more. Bonus? It’s all free.
Plan your visit around special events like the Monarch Migration Festival or Fireside Fun, both Sept. 18. The center is open sunrise-10 p.m. daily; call for Critter House hours.
“This is a wonderful place for grandparents to bring their grandchildren to reconnect and explore their natural world,” says executive director Susan Westhoff. “They see the significant impact this place and these programs have on their grandchildren.”
1831 Traver Road, Ann Arbor; 734-997-1553.
Jimmy John’s Field Baseball Park. Visit this new Utica spot to catch a United Shore Professional Baseball League game. Lawn tickets are just $6.
Detroit Zoo in Royal Oak. Wander the 125-acre grounds, see the new Polk Penguin Conservation Center and, for a modern twist, have the kids introduce gramps to Pokémon GO (the zoo is full of PokeStops!).
Apple Charlie’s South Huron Orchards. This family-owned 95-acre farm in New Boston offers U-pick apples in time for fall (officially Sept. 22) and a petting farm.