Winter is officially here, and while the days might be short, gray and cold, it doesn’t mean you should put family fun on the back burner. In fact, it might be the best time to get out and experience the great outdoors.
The metro Detroit and Ann Arbor areas are packed full of winter fun spots for your family to get out in the cold and make some memories together.
Here, we’ve rounded up 10 of our favorite outdoor spots in Macomb, Oakland, Wayne and Washtenaw counties that are must-do for families during the winter months. Check them out — just make sure you bundle up first!
Note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some locations may have shortened hours or may be limit capacity. Check ahead before you head out.
- Address: 99 Pleasure Drive, Detroit
- Phone: 313-821-9844
- Time: 5 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
- Cost: $12/Recreation Passport
Detroit’s Belle Isle offers just as much fun during the winter months as it does during the summer months. Check out the animals at the Belle Isle Nature Center or take a walk around the snow-covered paths to take in the sights and sounds of nature. Feeling chilly? Stop into the museum, aquarium or conservatory to warm up.
- Address: 17985 Armada Center Road, Armada
- Phone: 586-784-5343
- Time: 8 a.m.- 6 p.m.
- Cost: Free
This family-owned orchard and cider mill is open year-round and, while the u-pick options are closed for the season, you can still take in the snow-kissed trees. There are also plenty of winter events and you can always swing by the tasting room for a treat or book out an igloo dining option.
- Address: 2751 Packard St., Ann Arbor
- Phone: 734-794-6234
- Time: Varies by day
- Cost: Free/park admission; call for skating fees
This 39-acre park offers playground equipment, a sledding hill and an open-air ice arena that features public ice skating and drop-in hockey.
- Address: West of St. Aubin St., Detroit
- Time: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily
- Cost: Free
This former Grand Trunk railroad line has been converted into greenspace. Take a walk down it to take in outdoor artwork that lines the two-mile path.
- Address: 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak
- Phone: 248-541-5717
- Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, December-March
- Cost: $10-$15/kids and seniors, $14-$19/adults, $8/parking
The zoo is open 362 days a year. That’s every day minus Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. So swing by to see more than 2000 animals – many of which are more active during the winter months – or try the zoo’s annual winter events.
- Address: 3001 Earhart Road, Ann Arbor
- Phone: 734-998-0182
- Time: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, by appointment
- Cost: $6/general, $5.50/seniors, free/kids under 2
Stop by to see a working farm during the winter months and visit with some of the resident critters, including an alpaca, barn cats, chickens, ducks, goats, pigs and sheep.
Take a walk down the Detroit RiverFront to take in the icy river and the unique winter scenes in the city. You can always stop by Campus Martius Park or Beacon Park for family fun events, including outdoor ice skating and holiday displays. Beyond that, there are plenty of eateries and venues to pop into and check out if you get too cold. Check with the spots you’re interested in for times and costs.
- Address: 12087 Klinger St., Hamtramck
- Cost: Free
This outdoor art installation took 30 years to construct, sits atop two garages in Hamtramck and is full of light-up and musical displays and more. You can view it from the alleyway between Sobieski and Clinger, north of Commor and south of Carpenter at your leisure.
There are 13 Metroparks throughout southeast Michigan, many of which offer family wintertime activities including ice fishing, ice skating, sledding, snowshoeing and skiing. Check ahead to see what activities are offered at each park, and don’t forget to bring $10 for parking.
- Address: 215 Griswold St., Northville
- Phone: 248-348-1845
- Hours: Dawn-dusk daily
- Cost: Free
Stop by and explore the grounds, which house a historical church, school, wooden bridge, blacksmith shop, general store and more. Most buildings are closed during the winter months, but the grounds themselves make for great learning and photo opportunities.
This post was originally published in 2019 and is updated regularly.