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Lifestyle Guides

Family

The Maker Faire in Dearborn

Ford-Wyoming Drive-In Theatre

Huron-Clinton Metroparks

What is there for families to do in metro Detroit? Plenty! The greater metropolitan area of Detroit has an almost endless selection of seasonal outdoor activities, year-round cultural attractions, youth programming at local arts and culture organizations, annual family-friendly events, and so much more for young families looking for fun, and educational, entertainment!
 
Year-Round Activities and Attractions
 
Henry Ford Museum and IMAX, Greenfield Village
Education, history, and entertainment, all in one: The Henry Ford is "America's Greatest History Attraction" with millions of artifacts and dozens of historical buildings. It is comprised of the Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, and the Ford Rogue Factory, and there's also an IMAX Theatre.
 
Ultimate Soccer Arena
The Ultimate Soccer Arena in Pontiac is the largest indoor soccer and lacrosse arena in the country. Check out their youth leagues and summer camps.
 
Marvin's Marvelous Mechanical Museum
Owner Marvin has been collecting vintage coin-operated machines since 1990 and is constantly adding more to his collection. His Marvelous Mechanical Museum in Farmington Hills is listed in the World's Almanac as one of the 100 most unusual museums in the world.
 
Detroit Zoo
The Detroit Zoo is truly a world-class zoo with seemingly-endless animal exhibits and beautiful areas to explore. Kids will want to spend the whole day here, and so will you.
 
Ford-Wyoming Drive-In Theatre
The Ford-Wyoming Drive-In Theatre is one of the few classic drive-in theatres left in the country, which makes metro Detroiters among the only people able to experience this straight-out-of-the-movies movie-watching experience. They run new releases and always in double features. You can listen to the movie on your radio or through radio-mounted speakers, and while the theatre is open year-round, summertime is the best time to enjoy it.
 
Belle Isle
The 982-acre island park designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, who also designed New York's Central Park, is Detroit's most vital outdoor recreation asset and is a year-round destination for families, outdoor enthusiasts, friends and lovers alike. Run or bike the seven-mile Strand that runs around the park, fish, fly kites, have a picnic by the water or a family BBQ at one of the picnic shelters, explore the statues and monuments including the majestic James Scott Memorial Fountain, or take the kids to the Nature Zoo. The island is also home to the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, honoring the city's maritime history, the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, a greenhouse and botanical garden with one of the largest municipally-owned collections of orchids in the country, and the Belle Isle Aquarium, now open (after being shuttered for seven years) on Saturdays.
 
Michigan Science Center
The Michigan Science Center spans multiple floors and has numerous fun and educational activities for families. The museum takes an interactive approach to science with hands-on exhibits, demonstrations, a 4-D immersion theatre, an IMAX theatre, a virtual reality planetarium, a gallery for the most pint-sized little ones, and a separate hall for blockbuster traveling exhibits.
 
PuppetART Detroit Puppet Theatre
The PuppetART Theatre is located in Detroit's theatre district near the Opera House, Music Hall, and Gem and Century Theatres. All members of the troupe are masters of puppetry art theatre, and the organization is dedicated to preserving the history and ethnic traditions of puppetry as an art form. All events include a theatre performance, a tour of the ever-growing collection of puppets from cultures around the world displayed in their museum, and a hands-on workshop in their studio. Students interested in puppetry can also join their unique apprenticeship program.
 
The Detroit Institute of Arts
Detroit's world-class arts museum also caters to families. Check out their Family Sundays with kids-geared puppet and dance performances, artist demonstration and family yoga. Free drop-in workshops are also held Fridays through Sundays and teach kids how to craft their own watercolor postcards, dream catchers, musical instruments like tambourines, Chinese slat books and so much more (check the website for the full schedule).
 
Seasonal Activities and Annual Events
 
Red Oaks Water Park
On a sweltering hot summer day, there's nothing quite like taking the kids to the waterpark. Red Oaks in Madison Heights features water jets, curtains and slides, plus a 990-foot flowing "river."
 
Michigan State Fair
After going on hiatus for a few years, the Michigan State Fair is back and is now being held at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. The State Fair includes the Shrine Circus, carnival rides, live music, and a celebration of Michigan's agriculture (including plenty of livestock for kids to see and pet).
 
Huron-Clinton Metroparks
A park system that covers five greater metropolitan Detroit counties, the Huron-Clinton Metroparks have over a dozen beautiful parks with hundreds of miles of hiking and biking (even horseback riding) trails, historic farm buildings, rivers for fishing and canoeing, family picnic areas, cross-country skiing, camping, boating, snowshoeing, and so much more. Get the kids outdoors and enjoy all that these spectacular parks have to offer.
 
Detroit Riverwalk
Easily one of Detroit's most impressive and scenic attractions, the Detroit Riverwalk will eventually extend five and a half miles along the Detroit riverfront from the Ambassador Bridge to the west and Belle Isle to the east, also connecting the Milliken State Park & Harbor, Chene Park, the Dequindre Cut, and Gabriel Richard Park. Along the walk are fountains for splashing, a carousel, a concessions plaza, bike rentals, the Detroit Princess Riverboat dock, and the Detroit Port Authority. The Riverwalk also accesses the GM Renaissance Center, Hart Plaza and COBO Center.
 
Campus Martius Park
In addition to the beautiful fountain, all summer long Campus Martius Park hosts a mid-day music series, movies in the park, walking tours, an early evening concert series on Thursdays, and a 4th Fridays concert and film series. All events are free.
 
Detroit River Days and Target Detroit Fireworks Display
As the official kick-off to summer held the weekend leading up to the annual Detroit Fireworks display (one of the biggest in the country), River Days is held on the Detroit Riverwalk and features live music from local and national acts, food from local restaurants, sand sculptures, carnival rides, kids' activities, and the coordinating Detroit River ArtScape national arts competition.
 
Maker Faire Detroit
Held every July at The Henry Ford, the Maker Faire is a demonstration/celebration of all things creative and crafty. 400 "makers" will bring in everything from robots, flame shooters and animatronics to solar-powered sculptures and fashion items. It's really the kind of thing that needs to be seen to be understood. This is a very family-friendly event with lots of hands-on activities for the kids and even more for them to look and wonder at, so if you are kid-friendly yourself pack up yours or someone else's (um, as long as they know about it) for a truly spectacular day full of maker magic and amazement. The Maker Faire is where science, technology, crafts and more converge for fun that is truly educational and truly fun. 
 
Comerica Park
Nothing says summer like a day at a ball game, and Detroit's urban ballpark Comerica Park offers plenty for families beyond what's happening on the mound. There's a carousel, a ferris wheel, a fireworks display after every Friday night game, and for the grown-ups the food and craft beer selection is the best it has ever been.
 
Apple orchards and cider mills
It's not fall in Michigan without a trip to one of the many apple orchards and cider mills in the area. In fact, it's not even Michigan. No Michigan childhood is complete without the annual cider sojourn, and the ample farmland that surrounds the outer ring suburbs provides plenty of opportunities for apple-picking and cider-drinking. There are dozens to choose from, but this guide from Oakland County Moms is well-researched and well-articulated to maximize your cider mill experience based on what you want most from it.
 
Christmas Wonderfest, Tree Lighting and Ice Skating at Campus Martius
The Christmas Wonderfest is a new holiday marketplace held every year in the style of European Christmas markets with specialty foods, unique gifts, a beer garden and a ferris wheel. Held two consecutive weekends in November in conjunction with the annual tree lighting at Campus Martius (which also kicks off the seasonal ice rink) and the huge Thanksgiving Day Parade, Wonderfest will continue to grow and offer more every year.
 
America's Thanksgiving Day Parade
The America's Thanksgiving Day Parade is one of the oldest and most celebrated parades in the country, held every Thanksgiving morning for over 85 years now. Hundreds of thousands of people line Woodward Avenue to watch all of the elaborate floats, balloons, and costumed participants go by. Pro tip: the floats are brought out to Woodward the night before and the street is closed off, making for a fantasy-like nighttime stroll down one of the country's most iconic roads.
 
Noel Night
For over 40 years, Noel Night has brought in people from all over metro Detroit to celebrate Detroit's rich culture in the Cultural Center. Now more than 50,000 people attend this single-night event in December that spans over 75 Midtown venues with more than 120 music, theatre and dance groups performing. Enjoy horse-drawn carriage rides, unique shopping, family craft activities, and a group sing-along on Woodward to endcap the evening. 

For more information and stories about cities in Oakland County, check out Oakland County Prosper
 
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