Southeast Michigan has some super places to have babies on board when packing up the stroller: the Detroit Zoo, the Detroit RiverWalk, The Henry Ford and our 13 local Huron-Clinton Metroparks are among many other local community paths and places.
But there are times when you yearn for a walk that takes you on the path less taken, when you need a stroll for the soul. We found four fabulous places that give mom or dad a big boost for the senses – and places you may not have realized would welcome you for a stroll – with a stroller.
1. Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores
Not only are strollers welcome, but as a member, you can even enjoy a walk on the luscious landscaped grounds in off-hours – as well as when the Ford house itself is closed on Mondays.
You do have to park strollers when you tour the house, but the garage exhibit accommodates stroller use. This is not just any garage: It has some very special vintage autos on display, including Edsel Ford’s 1941 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet.
The biggest treat, though, is just taking a stroll on the grounds, with magnificent views of Lake St. Clair.
Here, a parent with a stroller can take time meandering by the masterpieces while baby is catching some zzz’s. Pamela Marcil, DIA public relations director, thinks it’s a great idea for babies and toddlers to visit. Just use the collapsible umbrella-type strollers, which she says are best for navigating through the galleries. The DIA always has some family activities in store on Woodward Avenue, too.
Toddlers can check out the Rivera Court and take a break in the cafe for a cookie and milk.
3. The Cranbrook Educational Community in Bloomfield Hills
It’s a landmark for students, artists and visitors. And for a parent looking for a stimulating stroll with baby, Cranbrook offers a healthy dose of everything in one visit – art, science and nature.
The famed Cranbrook gardens are open through late October on Sundays, but frequent visitors know it’s fun even to take a stroller walk outside the Cranbrook Institute of Science, walking over to the art museum or, in good weather, exploring the grounds of the Cranbrook schools.
You also can enjoy some special nights at the museum with a chance to see the stars thanks to Cranbrook’s terrific telescope.
4. University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor
Consider getting a jumpstart on scoping out colleges by taking walks at area campuses. University of Michigan’s campus in Ann Arbor, for instance, offers a very walk-friendly stroll. Cross the "Diag" and take a turn over to the Law Quad’s beautiful courtyard.
The renovated and expanded University of Michigan Museum of Art (UMMA) is another museum that welcomes strollers. You’ll also find plenty of benches and, like most museums, a place for a snack and a rest. Check out "The Digby Children" painting for an idea for your child’s portrait and the breathtaking "Mount Hood from the Dalles" for a boost if you can’t make it to another floor. If you want a bit more on your stroll, pick up "The Director’s Dozen Tour" brochure, which highlights favorites.
P.S. Yes: MSU, Oakland University, Wayne State and many of Michigan’s private colleges all have walks where you can bring up baby in your own college spirit!