Free Kid-Friendly Events in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor

Searching for free things to do in southeast Michigan? Find great budget-friendly family fun in Livingston, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.

Free things to do in metro Detroit and Ann Arbor

With kids in tow, seeing the latest stage show or attending that super popular special event can put a real dent in the ol’ bank account. It’s great once in a while, but geez, where are all of the free southeast Michigan events this weekend?

Actually, there are plenty if you know where to look! Every activity listed here will cost you absolutely nothing for admission. Zilch. Maybe you’ll have to splurge a buck or two for parking. But that’s it!

Want to attend events in Detroit that won’t cost you a fortune? Searching for activities in Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties that won’t break the bank? Then check back here regularly and mark your calendars so you don’t miss any of the free family fun happening over the next week or so.

Note: Things change. We try our best to update details, but be sure to call ahead before attending just in case. Also, some events may require pre-registration. When noted, contact the organizer for more details.


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Macomb County

Squirrel Appreciation Day at the Sterling Heights Nature Center 

Jan. 19, 2019

  • Address: Sterling Heights Nature Center, 42700 Utica Road, Sterling Heights
  • Time: 1-4 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Explore the good that squirrels do for their ecosystem at this celebration.

Winterfest and Family Cookout at the Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center in Shelby Township 

Jan. 26, 2019

  • Address: Burgess-Shadbush Nature Center,  4101 River Bends Drive, Shelby Township 
  • Time: noon-3 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Find snow games, crafts and other wintertime activities; plus a bonfire.

Mount Clemens Ice Sculpture Show  

Feb. 1-3, 2019

Find ice carving displays and demonstrations; plus a warming center full of fun activities for kids.

Valentine’s Craft at the St. Clair Shores Public Library 

Feb. 6, 2019

  • Address: St. Clair Shores Public Library, 22500 E. Eleven Mile Road, St Clair Shores
  • Time: 5-8 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Make a unique piece of Valentine’s Day art to gift to your sweetie.

The 70s” Heavy, Hip and Happenin’ at the Lorenzo Cultural Center in Clinton Township 

Feb. 27-May 4, 2019

  • Address: Lorenzo Cultural Center, 44575 Garfield Road, Clinton Township
  • Time: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Thursday-Saturday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

This groovy exhibit introduces kids to the ’70s and covers everything from the Watergate scandal to technological advances and beyond.

Oakland County

Oakland County Fire & Ice Festival 

Jan. 18-20, 2019

  • Address: Downtown Rochester area
  • Time: 5-9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

This annual offers tube sledding, snow shoeing and ice skating; plus an ice carving competition and other winter family fun.

Cookies with Cops at the Orion Township Public Library 

Jan. 19, 2019

Kids have some cookies and milk with local cops to learn about the profession.

International Snacks and Movie Festival at the Southfield Public Library

Jan. 27, 2019 

  • Address: Southfield Public Library, 26300 Evergreen Road, Southfield
  • Time: 1-3:30 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Try some international snacks and watch movies from around the world.

Tinkerbell and Peter Pan Party at the Farmington Community Library – Farmington Branch 

Feb. 9, 2019

  • Address: Farmington Community Library – Farmington Branch, 23500 Liberty St., Farmington
  • Time: 11 a.m.-noon
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Your two favorite Neverland residents meet with kids for music and photo ops. Aimed at ages 3-plus.

Winter Fest at the Southfield Pavilion 

Feb. 17, 2019

Find snow tubing, ice skating, horse drawn carriages, games, inflatables and much more at this wintertime celebration.

Washtenaw County

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Ann Arbor District Library 

Jan. 21, 2019

  • Address: Ann Arbor District Library Malletts Creek Branch, 3090 E. Eisenhower Parkway, Ann Arbor
  • Time: 10 a.m.-8:30 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King with videos of his speeches, art displays, live performances, panel discussions and more.

Storytime at the Museum at the University of Michigan Museum of Art in Ann Arbor 

Jan. 26, 2019

  • Address: University of Michigan Museum of Art, 525 S. State St., Ann Arbor
  • Time: 11:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Kids enjoy an art-inspired movie with the art that inspired it.

Chinese New Year Celebration at the Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch 

Jan. 26, 2019

  • Address: Ann Arbor District Library Downtown Branch, 343 S. Fifth Ave., Ann Arbor
  • Time: 2-3:30 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Celebrate the Year of the Pig with crafts, performances and more.

Food & Flavors of the Chinese New Year at the Chelsea District Library 

Jan. 31, 2019

2019 marks the Year of the Boar. Celebrate it with a traditional snack. Registration required.

Kerry Tales: Lost Mittens and Mother Goose at Kerrytown Market and Shops in Ann Arbor 

Feb. 3, 2019

Trudy Bulkley, aka Mother Goose, entertains kids with themed-stories and rhymes.

Wayne County

Health Fair and Tastefest at Chandler Park Academy in Harper Woods 

Jan. 18, 2019

Parents find flu shots for kids, dental and vision screenings and much more at this seventh annual.

Quicken Loans Winter Blast Weekends at Campus Martius Park in Detroit

Jan. 19-21, 25-27, Feb. 8-10 and 15-17, 2019

  • Address: Campus Martius Park, 800 Woodward Ave., Detroit
  • Time: 4-11 p.m. Fridays, 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Sundays (opening weekend, Jan. 19-21: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday).
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

The annual Winter Blast has been redone to span four weekends. Swing by for ice sculptures, ice skating, live music, food and tons of fun.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation 

Jan. 21, 2019

  • Address: Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
  • Time: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Contact and details: See the Metro Parent listing

Enjoy all of the exhibits at this local gem free of charge in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.

Pirates! at the Livonia Public Library 

Jan. 26, 2019 

Local scallywags dress as a pirate to learn about real-life swashbucklers, play pirate games, make crafts and more. Registration required.

Shiver on the River in Detroit 

Feb. 2, 2019

Celebrate the Detroit River with eco-friendly games, educational displays and coast guard demonstrations. Note: An $11 recreation passport is required to enter Belle Isle. 

Livingston County 

Winnie the Pooh Winter Party at the Brighton District Library  

Jan. 18, 2019

Join Pooh, Tigger, Piglet and all of your friends from the Hundred Acre Wood for stories, games and crafts. Ages 3-5. Registration required.

Hartland Family Winterfest at the Cromaine District Library in Hartland 

Feb. 9, 2019

Meet live reindeer and Olaf from Disney’s Frozen. There will be games and more, too.

This post is updated regularly.