If winter has cast a groggy spell on your family, banish boredom for good by grabbing the kids and engaging in some good old-fashioned winter fun. Whether you choose to venture out or stay in where it’s warm, the Ann Arbor area is full of exciting activities for children of all ages. Let this winter be the most memorable on record. Here are some ideas we came up with to lift everyone’s spirits.
Animal Fun at The Creature Conservancy
4950 Ann Arbor-Saline Rd.
Poco the sloth is February's featured creature, at the animal sanctuary and rescue behind Animal Kingdom Veterinary Hospital. He lives there with many other wild and domesticated animals, including a cougar, prairie dogs, and a ball python! Visit indoor winter habitats on Saturdays, 1-5pm, and Poco will take the stage at 2:30 and 4pm. Outdoor animal displays are viewable Monday-Saturday.
Take a Midwinter Break at Great Lakes Zoological Society
6885 Jackson Rd.
The "reptile zoo" has over 100 reptiles, amphibians, birds, insects and arachnids. Learn about both local and exotic species at this animal sanctuary. In February, there is a "Midwinter Break Camp," when the kids are off from school. Open 7 days a week 10am-4pm.
Put out the Fire at Michigan Firehouse Museum
110 W. Cross St., Ypsilanti
A visit to Depot Town's restored 1898 firehouse and firefighting museum is a must. A couple of the highlights are a horse-driven fire engine steamer, a crank-operated firehouse siren, and play area for kids. Most exhibits are hands-off (look but don't touch), however there is one fire truck there that kids are allowed to climb into and get their pictures taken. Current museum hours are Tuesday-Saturday 10am-4pm, and Sundays Noon-4pm.
Be Fascinated at UM Museum of Natural History
1109 Geddes Ave.
Among many museums on the University of Michigan's campus, the "dinosaur museum," is a kid-favorite. Fascinating science, biology, and geology exhibits, and more. Towering dinosaur fossils are the biggest draw. Museum hours are Monday-Saturday 9am-5pm, and Sundays Noon-5pm.
Get Busy at Hands-On Museum
220 E. Ann St.
Interactive learning is disguised as playtime at Ann Arbor's kids' science and technology museum. Multiply yourself in a room of mirrors, make a tornado appear indoors, and explore 250 "hands-on" exhibits. Open 10am-5pm on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, Tuesdays 9am-5pm, and Sundays Noon-5pm.
Conquer a Wall at Planet Rock
82 Aprill Dr.
Ann Arbor's indoor rock wall climbing gym offers day-passes and lessons for ages 5 and up. The "ABC for Kids" class takes kids as young as three years old. Open hours Monday-Friday 3-10pm, Saturdays 11am-8pm, and Sundays 10am-6pm.
Laser Tag Fun at Zap Zone
4177 Carpenter Rd., Ypsilanti
Blast those winter blues away with laser tag! Ann Arbor's laser tag arena also houses an arcade, bumper cars, and a cannon blaster. Open Monday-Thursday 4-10pm, Fridays 3pm-midnight, Saturdays 10am–midnight, and Sundays Noon-9pm. Discounted laser tag on Tuesdays.
Get Crafty at The Scrap Box
581 State Circle
You'll get 101 arts and crafts project ideas from a visit to this unique "creative recycling" shop. Reusable materials of all sorts- paper tubes and plastic containers, beads and ribbons, and lots of unusual finds. Check the website for workshops. Open Tuesday-Friday 10am-5pm, and Sundays 10am-2pm.
Padded Playground at Jungle Java
3900 Jackson Rd.
While kids are climbing on the jungle-themed indoor padded playground, parents can chat over lattes and sandwiches in a Wi-Fi enabled cafe area. Open 7 days a week Monday-Saturday 9am-8pm, and Sundays 10am-8pm.
Climbing Adventures at The Chelsea TreeHouse
1101 S. Main St., Chelsea
The 9,000 square-foot indoor playground in Chelsea features a large tree house, slides, and other fun climbing structures. Ann Arbor Family's 2013 winner for "Best Mom-Friendly Play Date" also has a cafe that serves lunch and snacks, including Zingerman's products. Winter hours are 10am-5pm on Monday, Tuesday, Sunday; and 10am-7:30pm on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday.