There’s a chill in the air, complete with Michigan’s colorful leaves and unmatchable autumn ambience. But if the change in seasons sends you packing for a little warmth, too, you’ve come to the right spot. Here, discover a trio of indoor fall fun escapes here in metro Detroit and a day trip (or plan flight) away for the entire family.
Metro Parent has picked three top destinations that are near, far and farther to southeast Michigan. Pick your fave, plan a trip with the kids – and let us know how it went in the comments!
Close to home: Detroit Kid City (metro Detroit)
Metro Detroit has so much to offer, from cars and sports to music and nature. But only one place makes it all pint-sized and plops it under one roof – ready for instant kids fun no matter how chilly it gets outside.
That would be the fun-packed Detroit Kid City play center. Its original location in Southfield opened shop back in 2012. Since then it’s branched out into a Clinton Township spot, and a Dearborn location is due to hit the scene sometime in late 2018.
It’s all based on a simple concept: “Creating a space where families and communities have the chance to unplug from the everyday distractions and enjoy time together,” says Laura Lewis, event and party coordinator.
This kid magnet beckons little visitors ages 1-8 to pretend play in distinctively Detroit style, making it surefire indoor fall fun (or fun, frankly, any time of the year).
There are toys and dress-ups so kids can be part of an automotive factory or bank, a music studio or mini baseball stadium – even an “Up North” story area. Plus find Michigan-made snacks, fruit smoothies and freshly roasted coffee for sale.
“Adults love that they can grab our ever-so-popular Motor City Mocha or Caramel Collision from our full cafe to help keep up with the little ones,” Lewis says. “And most of the time, they can’t help but join in on all the hands-on fun.”
An insider tip? Get half-off admission when you wear a Detroit Kid City T-shirt.
Its business hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Saturday. Admission is $10 and free for little ones 12 months and under (with an adult who buys a drink).
A day trip: Skokie Park District’s Exploritorium (Chicago area)
You might have a hard time tearing your kids from the life-sized Lite Brite at Skokie Park District’s Exploritorium, located just north of Chicago.
But if you can, your next stop should be the Engineering Megastation, where they can tinker with big and small magnets – building impossible towers and seeing how many they can link together.
There are also plenty of props for wannabe actors and places to play with water (no swimsuits required), create music, go climbing and scoot through a mini maze of tubes and tunnels.
Tickets ars just $6 for nonresident kids and $5 for nonresident adults – a couple bucks less if you happen to live in the area. And those under 1 get in free. Look into the “freebie Fridays” option, too.
Its hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Wednesday and Friday, plus 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday (it’s closed Thursdays and Sundays).
Even farther away: Galaxyland (Alberta, Canada)
Ready to go on a triple-loop roller coaster – inside? Indoor fall fun is in store with our neighboring country to the north, including some seriously cosmic coaters.
The Mindbender stands out among the 27-plus rides and play areas at Galaxyland, the world’s biggest indoor amusement park. For younger riders, try the slower-pace Solar Spinner. Or the Space Shot will make thrill seekers happy.
Located in the ginormous West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada, it recently scored a 2017 nod from TripAdvisor, amping up its appeal as a family destination.
Admission runs about $35-$45, while kiddos ages 2 and under get in free. Check ahead on special promos, too, like a “toddler time” package. Hours may vary seasonally, so be sure spec that out in advance, too.
Photo courtesy of Galaxyland in Alberta, Canada
This post was originally published in 2016 and is updated regularly.