The First ‘Big Play Day” at the Arb June 23rd

For the first time ever, the “Big Play Day” will take place on Sunday, June 23, 2024, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at Nichols Arboretum in Ann Arbor, Michigan and promises fun for the entire family with nature-themed activities.

We interviewed Kerry Sprague, Marketing and Communications Manager at the Arb, to get more information on the fun-filled event.

“This is the inaugural year for Big Play Day, and we are thrilled to introduce this new event,” Sprague said. “Our hope is to make it an annual tradition.”

There is sure to be something for everyone at the event.

“Big Play Day is a family-friendly and kid-focused event that promotes open-ended exploration and guided activities in nature,” Sprague said. “It is free and open to everyone. “

The Nichols Arboretum is located at 1610 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor.

“The event is designed for all ages, offering a variety of activities,” Sprague said. “It aims to provide an inclusive experience for everyone.”

While the event has children mostly in mind, everyone can participate.

This is the first year they are putting on this event.

“The event is focused on being kid-friendly, but is open to all age groups,” Sprague said. “Teens and adults can also enjoy and participate in the various activities, ensuring a fun experience for everyone.”

Related Article: Free Washtenaw County Summer Fun in June

According to Sprague, some of the education activities include:

  • Wonder Walks: Guided walks that encourage discovery and learning about nature.
  • Nature Art: Creative activities that utilize natural materials.
  • STEM-focused tasks: Interactive activities by Leslie Science & Nature Center / Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum that highlight the world of trees and stimulate scientific curiosity.
  • Hands-on experiences: Provided by Natural Areas Preservation (NAP) to deepen understanding of local ecosystems.

Sprague added that there are many different offerings with various sponsors as well.

“Attendees can participate in a variety of activities offered by different partners, such as interactive STEM-focused tasks and nature activities by Leslie Science & Nature Center, communal drum circles by Drummunity, and oversized versions of classic games like Giant Jenga provided by the Ann Arbor District Library (AADL),” Sprague said. “Additionally, Matthei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum (MBGNA) will be hosting their own ‘Wonder Walks’ and ‘Nature Art’ activities, highlighting their commitment to connecting people with nature and fostering a deeper appreciation for the natural world.”

Another great part of the event is that there are absolutely no costs involved.

“The event is free and open to the public,” Sprague said. “It is funded and organized by Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, with the support of cosponsors Ann Arbor Farm and Garden and Destination Ann Arbor.”

Also, according to Sprague, Big Play Day will proceed rain or shine, with the following exceptions:

  • if there is thunder and lightning or a tornado
  • in case of an air quality alert with a high-risk level
  • if there is an extremely heavy downpour that prevents setup and safe walking conditions in the Arb.
  • in the event of extreme heat

Please check the event website for updates in case of inclement weather.

Limited on-site street parking is available, and a free shuttle will transport participants from 1900 Fuller Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm.

For more information,  contact MBGNA at (734) 647-7600 or visit the event website at


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