School is out for the holidays and your kids are probably itching with a case of cabin fever. Want to cure it this year? Take a trip to Lansing.
The state’s capital is just under an hour and a half from Detroit and offers a variety of enriching, educational and fun opportunities to spend time with the kids.
“Whether families are coming to this region to visit family, as they sometimes do over the holidays, or if they are just looking for quality time with the kids over the holiday break, Lansing has something for everyone,” says Lori Lanspeary, the manager of social media & leisure marketing for the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau.
If you want to take in some holiday displays, you’ll find tons of beautiful decorations and lights at the Potter Park Zoo.
The zoo is open year-round and is super affordable at just $3-$4 a person. Here, you can check out more than 160 species of animal, including Amur tiger, red panda and snow leopards.
“I love this zoo because the Amur tigers and the lions have indoor and outdoor components and if you are inside you are about a foot away from them,” Lanspeary adds. Plus, “a lot of the animals enjoy the colder weather so they would be more active in the winter months than they would in the summer.”
In addition to the animal exhibits, the zoo offers its spectacular Wonderland of Lights, which is open 5-8 p.m. Thursdays-Sundays through Dec. 29.
“There are thousands of lights throughout the zoo,” Lanspeary says. “There’s also cookies and crafts and Santa is there on some days, so it’s a pretty awesome tradition.”
You’ll find even more holiday light displays at Cooley Law School Stadium, home to the Class-A minor league baseball team, the Lansing Lugnuts – which are affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays who play in the Midwest League – along with train rides and holiday crafts – plus, the state’s Christmas tree display in front of the Michigan State Capitol.
Of course, holiday-specific fun isn’t the only fun to be had in Lansing this time of year.
After you take in the state’s tree, you can hop into the state’s capital building, which offers free tours six days a week (closed Sundays) with the exception of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
The Impression 5 Science Center is always a great option for families, too, Lanspeary adds.
“They have something called Winter L.A.B.S., which is like a day camp where they’re learning about basic science,” she says. “It’s for ages 5-11 and you pick out one day to go. It’s 9 a.m.-4 p.m. and they have them throughout the week.”
On Dec. 23, the Winter Labs host a spy-themed option and on Jan. 3 there’s a focus on Kitchen Chemistry.
You’ll find more science fun at the Bug House at Michigan State University, which is hosting a holiday open house on Dec. 27, during which you can hold creepy-crawly bugs.
Looking for more of a low-key experience? You’ll find that in Lansing too.
“If the weather is right, there’s always tubing and sledding hills and the region has three nature centers that are open year-round,” Lanspeary says. “Meridian Mall has some great new options (including) Launch Lansing, which is a trampoline park and an arcade. The mall just opened High Caliber Karting, a place that has axe-throwing, pocket soccer and high-speed go-carting.”
Greater Lansing is also home to 53 hotel properties, half of which have pools.
“There’s all kinds of opportunities for families to get away for two or three days over holiday break,” Lanspeary adds. “It’s great for budget-conscious families and it’s got a lot to offer – even pickiest member of the group will find entertainment.”
For more information on the holiday offerings in Lansing, visit the Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau online at lansing.org.