June’s a double whammy. Kids are getting serious ants in their pants right around mid-month, and then the first day of summer hits June 21 – the longest day of the year. Burn some of that extra time (and idle energy!) at these local family spots.
“Ready, Set, Cache!” is the name of the geocaching game in Washtenaw County Parks. “Geocaching is basically like a scavenger hunt, or Easter egg-finding expedition, in the woods using GPS,” says county park planner Peter Sanderson.
There are 18 official – and dozens of unofficial-but-registered – geocaches hiding in the county’s park system. Using a GPS, you can hunt for them and get the codes inside. Collect all the codes and you win a prize!
The newest cache launches July 1, but the 2016 one is still active, too. It’s free other than a solid smartphone app, which can run about $10, and park entry to Rolling Hills or Independence Lake – the most family-friendly picks. For details, visit ewashtenaw.org.
Way up in the trees. Is it a bird? A plane? No, it’s your kid! The Adventure Park in West Bloomfield will have your kids feeling like Superman as they climb, shimmy and zip line their way through 10 challenging trails perched high in the trees.
“The objective is to get from tree to tree on each trail by getting through obstacles while you are suspended by a safety system that you cannot get out of,” says park manager Thomas Knuth. That includes ladders and bridges made of rope and wood, all cinched to the trees. “This is really a nature experience, too.”
Climbers can be as young as 5, and each trail is color coded by ability. Make your reservations a few days ahead. Costs start at $48/ages 12-plus, $43/10-11 and $38/7-9. Kids 5-6 climb for $1 with a paying adult.
Want to climb at twilight? During the final three hours, pay $32 for “Last Call Special” and zip around under twinkling LED lights. Find more at westbloomfieldadventurepark.org.
Combat a scorcher with a rip-roaring waterslide or two. Find a pair of full-on water parks in Oakland County complete with tipping buckets and lazy rivers.
At Red Oaks Waterpark in Madison Heights, the highlight is a “triple-flume” waterslide prime for three-people races, while Waterford Oaks Waterpark serves up a three-story raft ride in Waterford. Both offer wave pools and kids water playgrounds, too.
“It’s really good for all ages,” says Matthew Pardy, parks supervisor at Red Oaks. “There are some height restrictions, but anyone at any height or age will have at least three features to enjoy.” Refuel at either locale’s Blue Water Grill.
Both water parks are typically open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. weekends all summer – and the parks’ trails till 30 minutes past sunset. Water park admission ranges $8-$20. For details, visit oakgov.com/parks.
Can’t agree on one thing? Why not do it all? C.J. Barrymore’s in Clinton Township offers a massive amount of family fun all in one spot.
Chief among it is the new Loop Roller Coaster, a quick-but-exhilarating ride with a 360-degree loop that’s just $7 per go. Let the teens and kids do their thing on the go-karts, rock-climbing wall and laser tag while mom and small fries try out the mini bowling or bumper boats and dad hits up the driving range – and round it out with a family swoosh on a 650-foot zip line. Find more at cjbarrymores.com.