Resist the urge to stay indoors as the temps continue to drop. Instead, bundle up and spend some time at one of the 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks.
With more than 400 miles of trails to hike and bike, interpretive centers and educational opportunities, special events and more, there’s plenty to do all year long. And that could be just the incentive your family needs to keep moving during the winter months.
“People tend to just shut themselves inside and hibernate in the winter but they really shouldn’t. It’s a great time to be active outdoors,” says Danielle Mauter, Chief of Marketing and Communications at Huron-Clinton Metroparks.
Each of the 13 Huron-Clinton Metroparks — Delhi, Dexter-Huron, Hudson Mills, Huron Meadows, Indian Springs, Kensington, Lake Erie, Lake St. Clair, Lower Huron, Oakwoods, Stony Creek, Willow and Wolcott Mill — offers unique opportunities for family fun.
Here’s what you and your kiddos can do every season of the year.
November is prime time for owl watching at the Huron-Clinton Metroparks. Participate in Owl Prowl, Owl Hike or other owl-themed programs throughout the season.
“With sunset times being a little earlier because of daylight savings, you have the opportunity to be out in the park when it’s dark,” Mauter says of the Owl Prowl programs.
If you want to check out the changing leaves, there’s still time in November — and you’ve got plenty of ways to take in the views. Hike, bike or do things a little differently. Mauter suggests canoeing down the Huron River to get a different perspective of the changing leaves.
When the snow falls, the fun continues with sledding, cross-country skiing and much more. Sled at six different Metroparks or skate the ice rinks at Kensington, Lake St. Clair or Stony Creek Metroparks. Cross country skiing trails are available at nine parks — and some offer equipment rentals.
“I actually recently found out that I enjoy cross-country skiing,” Mauter says — and she enjoys it at Huron Meadows. “The great thing about Huron Meadows is that we make snow out there. Even if we don’t get a lot of snowfall, we still have the opportunity to cross-country ski.”
There is still year-round programming at nature centers and farm centers, and the playgrounds are open, as well.
“If there is cabin fever setting in and there is just extra energy in the household that needs to be burned off, take advantage of those playgrounds,” she says.
If you want to check weather conditions and Metroparks closures, click on the alert button at the top of the website, Mauter suggests.
Spring and summer fun in the sun
When the temps warm up and the sun begins to shine, “everybody is itching to get out of the house,” Mauter says.
Spring is a great time for wildflower watching and the trails are the most popular place to be.
Summertime brings on some big fun at Huron-Clinton Metroparks. “Summer is the most popular season to be out in the park and the amount of things you can do is endless,” Mauter says.
Get out on the water for boating, kayaking, canoeing or even swimming at Kensington, Lake St. Clair and Stony Creek Metroparks. Take a dip in the pool at Lake St. Clair, Lower Huron or Willow Metroparks or splash around at the splash pads at Indian Springs, Kensington, and Lake St. Clair Metroparks. The pools and splash pads open Memorial weekend. The Quadzilla waterslide at Stony Creek Metropark offers extra fun for the kiddos, too.
Stop by the playground with your little ones. There are universally accessible playgrounds that recently opened at Kensington and Lower Huron Metroparks, as well. Try disc golf or visit the nature center, too. No matter what you’re interested in, there’s something to keep you entertained.
“Every park is a little bit unique,” she says. “We encourage people to try and visit all 13.”
Getting in on the fun
Gifting experiences instead of toys has become even more popular, Mauter says, and an annual pass to the Huron-Clinton Metroparks for your family, friends — or even yourself — is a unique gift that will provides hours and hours of fun. Plus, you’ll make lots of memories with your loved ones.
While you can purchase a daily pass to your local Metropark, an annual pass allows you access to all 13 Metroparks every single day of the year.
Annual passes, which are good through Dec. 31, 2023, have just gone on sale. They are currently discounted for residents of Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.
“Annual passes are good to use as soon as they are purchased, so if you buy early, you could get up to an extra two months of use,” Mauter notes.
Visit metroparks.com/shop to purchase your 2023 Metroparks annual pass.
Content brought to you by the Huron-Clinton Metroparks. For more information, visit metroparks.com.