Dow Gardens | @jes_salvador7

Explore Gardens + Forest

Bring the kids to Dow Gardens in Midland, where they’ll “ooh” and “ahh” while pointing out favorites from 22,000+ colorful bulbs that flower here each spring! Pack a picnic with everyone's most-loved snacks (Midland Area Farmers Market is a must for that) and enjoy on the grassy lawns.

Adventure in Nature

After your pop-up picnic surrounded by blooms, cross the bridge within Dow Gardens into its Whiting Forest, where the kids can explore the country's longest canopy walk — and say they soared up to four stories high in the trees! After, let them play on the massive playground (while you sip on specialty coffee outside Whiting Forest Cafe).

See the Sugarhouse

Head to Chippewa Nature Center in Midland to experience one of the largest private, non-profit nature centers in the country. This place has an old-fashioned log cabin — with farm animals you can meet come May — plus a Sugarhouse where the kids can watch while sap gets turned into sweet maple syrup each March! Best of all? Admission here is free!

Find Fun on the Farm

Take a hands-on tour of a working Centennial Farm at Grandpa Tiny’s Farm in Frankenmuth — where your little ones can pet and even help feed some of the farm animals!

Grandpa Tiny's Farm | @x_stina

Go Wild

Mid-April on, have an up-close encounter with more than 150 animals (and downright adorable African penguins) at the Saginaw Children’s Zoo. Take the kids for a whirl on the miniature train and hand-carved carousel (or multiple, when you buy unlimited wristbands).

Less than 30 minutes away, try Wilderness Trails Zoo in Birch Run for a Parakeet Encounter, Reptile Sanctuary, and full Rainforest Experience — plus the chance to say you saw two zoos in one trip!

Make Weatherproof Plans

Let the kids burn off some energy at Airborne Adventure Park in Saginaw or book a private, two-hour playdate where they'll have The Playground in Midland entirely to themselves! You can even make take-home souvenirs together when you glaze handcrafted pottery at Space Studios in Midland or Painterly Pottery in Bay City.

Sample All the Fun Zones

Try Stardust in Saginaw for a 60-game arcade, laser tag, bowling, and bumper cars, or bring everyone to Kokomo’s for laser tag and an arcade (plus outdoor mini-golf, go-karts, and bumper boats, if the weather's nice). Valley Lanes in Midland has bowling, mini-golf, bumper cars, and a laser maze — and if the kids can’t decide on just one of these spots, guess you’ll just have to try them all!

Frankenmuth Aerial Park
Frankenmuth Aerial Park

Family bonding happens naturally when you’re ziplining, climbing, and cheering each other on through aerial ropes courses packed with challenges! Head here with ages seven on up for this unique adventure in the trees.

COVID-19 Update Under Michigan's current orders, some or all aspects of the experiences below may be unavailable (but we hope you'll keep them in mind for future trips). Please verify details with individual businesses before visiting! Learn More
Zehnder's Splash Village

Splash Around

Home to two of Michigan's top indoor waterparks (that both have epic arcades), Frankenmuth is a spring break hit for families. Enjoy 50,000 square feet of aquatic fun at Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark, Zehnder’s Splash Village. Or, make the most of multiple pools and whirlpools, waterslides, and waterfalls — plus the Midwest’s largest hotel family fun center — with a stay at Bavarian Inn Lodge.

Midland Center for the Arts

Explore Museums for Minis

Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum in Saginaw is 16,000 square feet of interactive exhibits with colorful fun for kids under 10, and trust us when we say: they won’t want to miss one inch! And the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science & Art at Midland Center for the Arts? It has hands-on galleries in its Hall of Ideas, rotating exhibitions, and permanent spaces like Spark!Lab? Smithsonian, where everyone can be an inventor. You can even take the kids to Delta College Planetarium & Learning Center in Bay City for an out-of-this-world experience they'll never forget!

Blair Cook

A Great Lakes Bay native, Blair is the Founder at Brandscape — a boutique creative company specializing in content. Her favorite part? Sharing stories about the Pure Michigan places she loves!