Indoor Winter Activities Where You Can Pretend It’s Summer

Discover the best spots to warm up and shake off the wintertime blues.

While winter in metro Detroit is beautiful as the snow blankets the streets and the air nips at our cheeks, the quiet warmth that comes from gathering together around the fire while fighting over the remote can get old really fast. Already, the heat of summer feels like a distant memory.

But close your eyes and dream for a minute: What if the essence of summer could be captured and brought indoors? 

With just the right mix of creativity, frustration with the cold and a little bit of ingenuity along with the resources available here in the Detroit area, maybe we could summon summer for a magnificent day. Try these seven ideas out with your family.

Have an indoor beach party 

Who says you can’t have a beach party in January? Roll out the beach towels, set up kiddie pools and adorn the living rooms with tropical decorations. Streaming beach sounds and making summer-themed snacks only adds to the fun. Why not turn up the thermostat for an hour or two? Want to make some magic that won’t soon be forgotten? Hire a local hula dancer to perform for your party! Check out Hula Michigan, which not only performs but also offers classes! 

Bounce the day away

Even if you think you’ve done all the play places, there’s news: More have opened just in time for winter fun. Head to Play Big, which has opened a second location in Roseville at the Macomb Mall, has a 10,000-square-foot playground where kids can bounce on inflatables, get competitive with cornhole and test their skills on a giant pool table with pool balls the size of soccer balls. Or try Clawson’s T&B Play to bounce on trampolines or explore glow-in-the-dark tunnels. Burn off extra energy at Yoyo’s Fun Center in Clinton Township: Think ball pits, trampolines, jungle gym and a padded zoo animal carousel for littles.

Feel the splash of summer

Water parks are not just for summer. Metro Detroit boasts several indoor water parks, such as the Warren Community Center in Sterling Heights, where families can enjoy a lazy river, a zero-depth entry pool and hot tub, all within a comfortable indoor setting. It’s a fun way for kids and adults to feel like it’s summer, even when it’s snowing outside. Just remember to have a hair dryer and warm winter gear for the post-swim sprint to the car.

Watch summer happen

Host an indoor movie night featuring summer classics with a projector, some buttery homemade popcorn and lots of beach-themed decor. Or consider hiring a professional help to create the ultimate summertime movie escape with Sweet Slumberzz in Ann Arbor. Check out the Slide into Summer theme! Movies like “The Sandlot” or “Finding Nemo” can whisk families away to sunnier days.

Visit the Detroit Zoo’s Free Flight Aviary and Butterfly Garden

The Ron Kagan Wildlife Interpretive Gallery is a gorgeous, and, of course, warm sanctuary where it feels like a balmy 75 degrees all year round. There are nearly 25 species of butterflies and unique birds! It offers a magical experience for everyone who needs a break from winter. You might even forget the snow outside.

Grow your own summer

Gardening is not just for the outdoors. Growing herbs, vegetables or flowers indoors not only brightens up the house, but it also educates kids about the growth cycle of plants. Local nurseries like Willow Greenhouse in Northville are open year-round.

Play a summer sport

Missing summer sports? Facilities like Total Sports Complex in Wixom offer indoor soccer, baseball and other sports leagues during the winter. It’s a great way for kids and adults to stay active and engaged in their favorite summer sports, despite the chilly weather outside.


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Steffy McCourt
Steffy McCourt
Steffy McCourt brings over 15 years of experience in education, parenting, and travel writing for esteemed publications like We Are Teachers and LA Family Travel. Recognized for her commitment to advancing literacy and writing skills, Steffy is honored to be a Fellow of the National Writing Project. She collaborates with educators nationwide to enhance teaching practices and empower student writers.

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