New Attractions Coming to Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor in 2021

Looking for something new to explore in 2021? Michiganders of all ages will look forward to these upcoming events and new attractions in metro Detroit and Ann Arbor this year.

If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to create more family memories, these new attractions for 2021 can lend a hand.

Leave the grueling days of 2020 behind with a new batch of exciting exhibitions and events throughout metro Detroit and Ann Arbor. This year, organizers have found new ways to keep families entertained while ensuring everyone stays safe.

Spend the day out at a new ice rink followed by a trip through an optical illusion installation, then cozy up for a family-friendly movie at a recently renovated drive-in. Or, if you’d like to expand your horizons without ever leaving the couch, plug in the computer and visit a planetarium or take an interactive tour of the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Many locations are operating with different hours and rules as the state’s COVID-19 pandemic guidelines evolve. Be sure to follow the links below to see helpful information about whether you need to buy tickets in advance or follow special safety guidelines.

Ames Room at the Detroit Science Center

This newly opened installation at the Detroit Science Center promises to bend the minds of young visitors. Enter the optical illusion room and see if you can figure out the tricks yourself.

Baby Lion at the Detroit Zoo

While the baby lion Binti was actually born last year, she’s now old enough to be seen by visitors. The lion is the first born at the zoo in the last 40 years.

Black Art Library at the MOCAD

This interactive installation includes children’s books and other tangible pieces of Black art through history.

Gardens at the Heidelberg Project

The Heidelberg Project is always searching for new ways to engage with the community. New permaculture design and gardens are coming in 2021, as well as virtual tours and the launch of art leadership courses.

Joseph Campau Greenway

The Joseph Campau Greenway will be extended to Vernor Highway in 2021 along with new benches, lighting and security boxes. Families can walk or bike along the 10-foot-wide path that begins at East Jefferson Ave.

Life on Earth at the Cranbrook Institute of Science

The all new “Life on Earth” permanent installation at the Cranbrook Institute of Science is now open. Stop in to see specimens like rock-eating bacteria and weird jellyfish in this exhibit that explores the diverse forms life can take.

Movie Magic Lakeside

What started in 2020 as a holiday movie event at Lakeside Mall is now a full-blown drive-in located in the parking lot of the former Sears. See family-friendly flicks with a concessions stand and bathrooms onsite.

School Field Trip from Home at the Detroit Institute of Arts

  • Address: Virtual
  • Phone: 313-833-7900

For parents hoping to give their kids a reprieve from online learning, the Detroit Institute of Arts now provides in-depth “virtual field trips” for different age levels with accompanying lesson plans and engaging prompts.

Sculptures in Dexter

Every June, three juried, temporary sculptures are chosen by the City of Dexter to brighten up the historic town.

Sculpture Walk in Chelsea

Each year, the city of Chelsea chooses to engage its residents and visitors with a range of larger-than-life sculptures. See the 2021-22 selections for the first time this May.

Sensory Friendly Programming at the Henry Ford

A recently-awarded grant means more sensory-friendly programming is coming to The Henry Ford. These sensory-friendly events will be added and there will be expanded staff training to better accommodate guests with Autism Spectrum Disorder or Sensory Processing Disorder.

Teen Council Film Fest

  • Address: Virtual
  • Phone: 313-833-7900
  • Date: Jan. 16, 2021

A virtual film festival and panel for ages 13-20 allows teens and young adults to watch films made by their peers and engage the creators in conversation afterwards.

UFOs Over Michigan

  • Address: Virtual
  • Phone: 734-482-4110
  • Date: Jan. 28, 2021

The Ypsilanti Public Library welcomes Michiganders to take a closer look at UFO sightings, as the state boasts some of the biggest UFO cases on record. Join the zoom meeting with passcode “UFO.”

Virtual Planetarium with the Michigan Science Center

  • Address: Virtual
  • Phone: 313-577-8400
  • Dates: Jan. 13 and Feb. 24, 2021

Visit outer space from the comfort of your couch. This virtual planetarium exhibit will answer “What color is space?” in the January session and explore red planets in the second.

Wings & Wheels presented by the Yankee Air Museum

Join aircraft and car fanatics at this exciting display of historic and rare vehicles. Dozens of classic cars and historic airplanes will line the airport ramp at Willow Run at this event, which is free for kids 15 and under.

Winter Skating at Blake’s

Blake’s Orchard and Cider Mill now boasts a new ice skating rink. The more than 2,000 square foot synthetic skating rink also has eight nearby dining igloos.

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