Washtenaw County Museums Offer A Low Cost Way To Keep Children Learning This Summer

Whether you’re a stay-at-home parent or a working parent, it’s likely that summertime gets tough. When kids are home all day, or at least out of the routine of school, they seem to get bored easily, and entertaining children can be expensive.

Summer can also lead to the learning slide observed by teachers and researchers. Research shows that it takes teachers approximately five weeks to get students back into the swing of learning after their summer break. Museum visits, which are often free, offer a great way to keep kids engaged in learning this summer, keeping their minds active and thereby avoiding the summer slide.

Streaming access

Leslie Mueller is the producer and host of the new 10-part series Museum Access airing on public television station WTVS in Detroit and on Amazon Prime. Each 30-minute episode takes viewers behind-the-scenes at some of the country’s top museums such as Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium and the Museum of Science and Industry offering exciting stories, in-depth conversations with experts and fascinating footage.

Museums motivate learning, offering a wealth of knowledge on topics that we may not consider as interesting until we dive in i.e. marine biology, astronomy, history, music.

Parents can enhance learning by tasking simple projects related to the museum visits.

For younger children, create fun games i.e. “How many colors did you see in that painting?” or “How many planets did we learn about today?”

Take advantage of the museum activity sheets: visit the front desk before your visit and use the sheets as a teaching moment and discussion tools after your visit.

Follow these tips and check out the list of area museums that offer free or low cost entry to keep your children’s minds engaged in learning all summer long.

Area Museums Offering Free (Or Nearly Free) Admission This Summer

University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

Biological Sciences Building,
1105 N. University Ave.
734-764-0478 | lsa.umich.edu/ummnh
Sun-Wed & Fri-Sat, 9am-5pm.
Thurs, 9am-8pm.
Free admission.
Donations appreciated.

Michigan Firehouse Museum

Michigan Firehouse Museum

110 W. Cross St., Ypsilanti
734-547-0663 | Michiganfirehousemuseum.org
Thurs-Sun, 12-4pm
$5/adult | $3/children ages 5-12.
Free admission for children 4 and under.

The Museum on Main Street

500 N. Main St.
734-662-9092 | washtenawhistory.org
Sat and Sun, 12-4pm
Free admission.
Donations appreciated.

Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry

1011 N. University – G565
Mon-Fri, 8am-6pm
Free admission.

Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum

Ypsilanti Automotive Heritage Museum

100 E. Cross St., Ypsilanti
734-482-5200 | ypsiautoheritage.org
Tues-Sun, 1-4pm
$5/person. Under 12 free.

University of Michigan Museum of Art

University of Michigan Museum of Art

525 S. State St.
734-764-0395 | umma.umich.edu
Tues-Sat, 11am-5pm.
Sun, 12-5pm
Free admission.
Donations appreciated.

Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

434 S. State St.
734-764-9304 | lsa.umich.edu/kelsey
Tues-Fri, 9am-4pm.
Sat-Sun, 1-4pm
Free admission. Donations appreciated.

Rentschler Farm Museum

Rentschler Farm Museum

1265 E. Michigan Ave., Saline
734-944-0442 | salinehistory.org/rentschler-farm-museum
Sat, 11am-3pm
Free admission.

Saline History & Depot Museum

Saline History & Depot Museum

402 N. Ann Arbor St., Saline
734-944-0442 | salinehistory.org/depot-museum
Sat, 11am-3pm
Free admission.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library

1000 Beal Ave.
734.205.0555 | fordlibrarymuseum.gov
Mon-Fri, 8:45am-4:45pm
Free admission.

Ypsilanti Historical Society

220 N. Huron St., Ypsilanti
734-482-4990 | ypsilantihistoricalsociety.org
Tues-Sun, 2-5pm
Free. Donations appreciated.

Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments

Earl V. Moore Building of the School of Music,
Theatre & Dance, Vesta Mills Gallery, 1100 Baits Dr.
734-936-2891 | smtd.umich.edu/research/stearns-collection/
Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm
Free admission.

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

220 E. Ann St.
734-995-5439 | aahom.org
Mon, Wed, Fri, Sat, 10am-5pm. Tues, 9am-5pm.
Thurs, 10am-8pm. Sun, Noon-5pm
$5 admission after 5pm on Thursdays only with extended hours to 8pm
$12.50/adults and children
Free admission for babies 0-23 months

Imagination Station

Imagination Station

1 Discovery Way, Toledo
419-244-2674 | Imaginationstationtoledo.org
Tues-Sat, 10am-5pm. Sun, Noon-5pm
$5 admission after 5pm every third Thursday of
the month, with extended hours to 8pm
$13/age 13-64, $11/age 3-12,
Free for children 2 and under

Related Articles

Ann Arbor Storytellers Tell Tall Tales and True Stories

Ann Arbor Storytellers’ Guild (AASG) is currently striving for an in-person comeback from the pandemic, but has entertained children and adults alike since the...

6 Things Your Teen Needs But Doesn’t Know How to Ask For

My daughter’s eyes were filled with tears and my voice was louder than it needed to be. We were arguing over something trivial and...

Stir-fried Noodles with Chicken, Broccoli & Mushrooms

How are we doing out there, parents?  Checking in on you as we’ve just closed out our first full month back to school.  And...