20 Uniquely Ann Arbor Summer Spots to Visit with Kids

People having hands on fun
Photo from @ann_arbor_hands_on on Instagram.

1. Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

This museum has lots of interactive and educational exhibits to entice young minds in science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM.) The emphasis is on recreation and discovery. The staff is super helpful and welcoming as well as a comforting space for all ages.

2.  Leslie Science and Nature Center

There are various educational workshops, nature trails and outdoor exploration available to the entire family. There is also a great strong environmental consciousness prevalent throughout the grounds. Specific workshops and camps are available related to wildlife conservation or astronomy.

3. Matthaei Botanical Garden

Matthaei offers a multitude of themed gardens such as bonsai, herbal, perennial and even a Children’s Garden which includes interactive and educational displays, and plantings selected for children.

Pretty flowers
Photo from @matthaeinichols
on Instagram.

4. Nichols Arboretum

Visit the Huron River, play frisbee in the pastures and traverse nature-rich trails and paths. Students can learn about a wide array of natural habitats including forests, pastures, and aquatic life, and get some important physical activity in the process.

5. Fairy Doors

Fairy doors can be found throughout the city and even in various neighborhoods. Children can be challenged to find them at certain known locations such as Ann Arbor District Library, Michigan Theater, or Motts Children’s Hospital.

6. Kerrytown

Children will enjoy all the fun and one-of-a-kind shops in Kerrytown. Don’t forget about the Ann Arbor Famers Market that is held there offering fresh fruits/veggies, baked goods, and crafts. Lots of fun places to get a meal or snack as well.

7. Cobblestone Farm

This is a great place to learn a bit about local history in this 19th-century farmhouse. Kids can interact with animals, such as chickens, sheep and goats. There are gardens and open spaces for children to roam around in or play.

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8. Gallup Park

Gallup Park has so much to offer in terms of access to water fun, trails, and wildlife. Enjoy pedal boats, kayaks, or canoes on the water. Walk, bike, or run on the beautiful, paved paths. Some even like to go fishing there and watch the variety of birds, such as ducks and swans.

9. Domino Farms

Domino Farms offers a great integration of buildings, sculptures, and animals. Inside the grounds is a gift shop and an art gallery. The grounds include a petting farm to pet or feed cows, goats and more. The entire area offers a family-friendly feel and multiple places to relax or even plan a picnic.

10. University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

Kids love the dinosaur exhibits, planetarium, and interactive displays at the Natural Science Museum. Life-sized dinosaur skeletons and educational exhibits in the prehistoric era are available. Kids can dig for fossils and gaze at the stars as well as learn scientific and historical facts.

Wolfy doggos
Photo from @thecreatureconservancy on Instagram.

11. The Creature Conservancy

The Conservatory has a diverse collection of more than 70 exotic animals for children to explore, including alligators, sloths, and kangaroos. Special exhibits are available like “Reptile Encounters,” or “Art and Animals.” Private tours, birthday party bookings, and summer camps are available.

12. White Lotus Farms

Get face-to-face with a llama named Gia, hang out with some cute goats and frolic in the gardens and farmland. They also offer plant-based self-care products and artisan food delicacies.

13. Argo Cascades

It is so much fun to tube, kayak and raft down the Argo cascades. You can either bring your own equipment or rent from the Argo Canoe Livery. Even just watching the beautiful bubbling water and nature along the river is a pleasant experience.

Person throwing a bowling ball
Photo from @revelandroll on Instagram.

14. Revel and Roll

Get out of the sun and into the bowling lanes where there is an arcade games area. This is another venue where birthday parties and nighttime specials are available, as well as fun food like fries, wings, and cold drinks.

15.  Rolling Hills Water Park

Cool off in the water slides, wave pool and lazy river. There is also an activity pool for younger children. Parents can also participate in the water activities or just lie back in the lounge chairs.

16. Ann Arbor Art Fair

The Ann Arbor Art Fair is an amazing activity for children of all ages. It includes vibrant art of so many styles and mediums. Lots of musicians and performers, such as jugglers and clowns entertain. And there is a special Children’s Art Fair section that highlights art created by children.

17. Ann Arbor District Library (AADL)

Various branches of the AADL hold story times for kids, workshops and their annual Summer Games to promote summer reading.

18. Michigan Firehouse Museum

This museum has an impressive collection of historic fire engines, many of which date back to the 19th century. There is an educational emphasis on fire safety throughout. Kids can dress up as firefighters along with role play to help put out dangerous fires and help others.

19. The Michigan Theater

The Michigan Theater offers many family-friendly movies including animated and classic movies and a summer kids series as well.

20. University of Michigan Museum of Art

Art is a great resource to share with the entire family. The University of Michigan’s Museum of Art is no exception. They have family-friendly tours as well as hands-on workshops, and an art lab for creative projects.