For kids, visiting grandparents can be a great opportunity to spend time away from their usual surroundings, try new things, and of course, make amazing memories. And when grandparents are located in Michigan, there’s so many memories to be made! Here are some of our favorite activities, experiences, and destinations for family fun in the Great Lakes State.
1. Mackinac Island
Step into living Michigan history at Mackinac Island, one of the state’s most famous destinations. This beautiful island is home to the old French Fort Michilimackinac, the stunning Grand Hotel and its sprawling gardens, 70 miles of biking and walking trails, and no cars! Sample fudge at the main street’s famous fudge shops, tour historic houses, ride in a horse-drawn carriage, or watch the boats come in on a warm day. It’s just as easy to plan half a day as three or four, and there’s an activity to please even the pickiest of family members.
2. Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Located in Grand Rapids on the west side of the state, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is truly an incredible experience. Its main campus is 158 acres of both indoor and outdoor attractions, entirely barrier free and accessible to all. The indoor Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory is the largest in Michigan, and houses a spectacular exhibit of over 7,000 butterflies of 50 different species every spring. Other favorite events include Christmas trees from around the world in December, and ArtPrize exhibits in September.
3. Detroit Institute of Arts
For older children and the art-inclined, Michigan has no shortage of arts and culture experiences. The crown jewel, however, is the Detroit Institute of Arts. Regularly ranked among the top art museums in the nation, this 658,000 square foot space in the heart of downtown Detroit boasts over 100 galleries of artwork from different time periods, cultures, and nations. Exhibits change regularly, making it possible to enjoy outings to the DIA again and again.
4. Michigan State Capitol
Immerse yourself in the state’s past, present, and future with a tour of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing. With options for self-guided and guided tours, visitors can learn about Michigan’s state government at their own pace. Constructed from 1872-1878, the building alone is worth a visit for architecture buffs, as restoration projects have worked to invoke the grandeur of the original iteration after years of neglect.
5. Sleeping Bear Dunes
One of Michigan’s dearest legends is that of the Sleeping Bear Dunes. According to the Chippewa legend, a solitary dune marks the spot where a mother bear slept, waiting for her two cubs to make it to shore after a Wisconsin forest fire drove them across the lake. Today, Sleeping Bear Dunes is designated as a national lakeshore, and its stunning views of Lake Michigan and North and South Manitou Islands make it a popular Michigan destination.
6. Air Zoo
The Air Zoo in Portage, Michigan is unlike any zoo you’ve been to before: in place of animals and aquariums, visitors get up-close and personal with the world of aviation. Museum exhibits display over 50 rare and historic aircraft, as well relics and artifacts from several landmark aviation events throughout history. In addition to physical aircraft, the Air Zoo offers immersive flight simulators, multi-sensory theater shows, and, during the summer months, vintage biplane rides. The Air Zoo also has several exhibits dedicated to space flight for space buffs and aspiring astronauts, and often hosts rotating exhibits that always delight.
There’s so much to do in Michigan that our list has barely scratched the surface -- one of the reasons that our Great Lakes State is a fantastic destination for retirement and assisted living. What is assisted living? Download our eBook below to learn more.