Top Outdoor Winter Fun Spots in Metro Detroit and Ann Arbor

Looking for a hot outdoor space for your family to chill out at this winter? We've rounded up our favorite outdoor winter fun spots for you to enjoy.

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. 

Belle Isle Park

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.

Blake’s Cider Mill

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, book out an igloo dining option or twirl around on the outdoor ice rink.

Buhr Outdoor Ice Arena

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.

Dequindre Cut Greenway

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.

Detroit Zoo

  • Address: 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak
  • Time: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. daily, December-February, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, 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.

Domino’s Petting Farm

  • Address: 3001 Earhart Road, Ann Arbor
  • Time: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday and Friday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, closed Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
  • 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. 

Downtown Detroit

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 outdoor 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.

Hamtramck Disneyland

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.

Huron-Clinton Metroparks

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.

Mill Race Village

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. 

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