School is in, but there’s still time to step out.
Trading the dog days for school days doesn’t mean homework has to be the only thing your kids are doing outside the classroom this fall. With the Ann Arbor area’s diverse selection of nature, art, history and family-friendly activities, the fun your kids had this summer may be only the beginning of the adventures they’ll take this year.
So don’t let the school bell get you down! Break the routine and start planning some outings with the help of our handy guide to field trips.
1026 South Main Street, Ann Arbor
Feeling crafty? Blue House is a handmade studio where adults and kids alike can explore their creativity. Visit the Community Studio during drop-in hours, rent a private studio or inquire about children’s parties for your aspiring artist.
Yankee Air Museum
2800 Tyler Rd, Ypsilanti
Check out historic planes up close, try your hand at flying with a new simulated program and hear the story of the Willow Run Airport from a living history character guide. As the museum prepares for its official re-opening Oct. 10, 2010 after a 2004 fire, 12 exciting exhibits will be on display at the museum’s new education where kids will love learning about Southeastern Michigan’s aviation history. Education tours are offered with a minimum number of 10 guests, and kids and families are always welcome to explore during museum hours.
320 North Main Street, Chelsea
Chelsea, MI 48118-1280
Need plans for a rainy day? Head to the TreeHouse – an indoor playground with a large climbing and play structure featuring five slides, a toddler area, swinging bridges, and a tree house. Groups of 12 or more making a reservation receive $1 off per each individual’s admission price, and non-profit groups of 20 or more can even plan a sleepover.
Zen Buddhist Temple
1214 Packard Street, Ann Arbor
This urban temple is surrounded by a large garden featuring a meditation area and beautiful scenery. The temple frequently hosts children’s church groups and also offers family and children’s services, where kids can do simple yoga, a little meditation, and – when they’re old enough – light candles and incense on the altar.
Leslie Science and
1831 Traver Road, Ann Arbor
Visit the Leslie Science and Nature Center to get your kids excited about the natural environment around them and gain a sense of respect and environmental stewardship. The 50-acre site features fields, prairies, forest and a pond. Look for nests and animal tracks at the Black Pond Woods or stop at the Nature House, a solar-powered “green” building. Various children’s programs are available year-round.
1600 Washington Heights, Ann Arbor
Take in the beauty within the Arb’s extensive collections of native and exotic trees and shrubs crafted into a naturalistic landscape. A great place to discover and appreciate nature! Tours of the arboretum are available throughout the academic year and cover topics such as basic botany, ecosystems, restoration ecology and wetlands.
Gallup and Argo
1055 Longshore Drive, Ann Arbor
Whether you’re renting canoes and kayaks or exploring wildlife along the river, Gallup Park and Argo Park Canoe Liveries offer unique outdoor adventures and supplemental study year-round. River walks are available through the beginning of October.
Waterloo Recreation Area and Gerald
E. Eddy Discovery Center
16345 McClure Road, Chelsea
Explore the largest park in the Lower Peninsula! The Waterloo Recreation Area features more than 20,000 acres of trails, campground, beaches and more. You can also visit the Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center and get a glimpse into the world of geology and learn about the diverse habitats found today within the Waterloo grounds. Kids are sure to love the model ice cave or conducting experiments in the “Mad Scientist Lab.” School and individual group tours and programs are available.
All Sewn Up!
3 Medford Circle, Ann Arbor
Have an aspiring fashion designer? Check out All Sewn Up! in Ann Arbor where class participants can learn sewing basics and safety and even see how pajama pants, skirts and tops are constructed. Various workshops are available for individuals and groups.
Ann Arbor Fire Station
Multiple locations, Ann Arbor
Field-trippers will love seeing fire trucks and equipment up close with a guided tour of the station. Educational tours of the fire stations are scheduled weekdays before 11 a.m. and after 1:30 p.m. Evening tours are also available.
Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum
220 E. Ann Street, Ann Arbor
This Ann Arbor classic is sure to keep your little scientists engaged. Check out the museum’s more than 250 interactive exhibits or sign up for a lab class or camp-in for groups. Group rates are available to groups of 20 or more.
2781 Packard Road, Ann Arbor
Go back in time to the 1800s with a guided tour of the museum farmhouse. Tours of the farmhouse are available on the last Saturday of each month from 10 a.m.-1 p.m or by appointment.
Domino’s Petting Farm
24 Frank Lloyd Wright Drive, Ann Arbor
Calling all animal lovers! Domino’s Petting Farm has everything your little farmer is looking for, without adding any new pets to your household. Pet the animals, check out rare breeds, enjoy a hayride or a pony ride and learn animal fun facts. Group rate offered at $4 per person with a minimum group size of seven people.
315 Detroit Street, Ann Arbor
A visit to the local Farmer’s Market can be fun and educational, even if you’re just there to pick up some produce! Check out locally-grown food, plants, baked goods and handcrafts, all being sold by the producers themselves. The market’s hours
are Wednesday and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. May through December; and January through April Saturdays only from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Matthaei Botanical Gardens
1800 N. Dixboro Road, Ann Arbor
These gardens are a popular visiting spot for local families and with one look at the gardens, you’ll understand why. Kids can explore acres of trails and display gardens while gaining a new appreciation for the beauty around them. Admission is free.
Planet Rock Climbing Gym
82 April Drive, Ann Arbor
Kids trying to scale the furniture? Not to worry – now there’s a place where your little climbers can get all of their energy out in a safe, controlled environment. Kids of all ages can participate in rope climbing, wall climbing and more at an age-appropriate level, all while gaining new confidence and coordination. Check out a structured class or inquire about booking the space for a group event.
University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History
1109 Geddes Avenue, Ann Arbor
A dream field trip for dinosaur lovers is in store, as this museum contains the state’s largest collection of dinosaur skeletons! Astrology fans will also enjoy the museum’s planetarium and stargazing shows on the weekend. Kids are encouraged to look and even touch as they explore one of the area’s most popular field trip destinations.
University of Michigan
Museum of Art
525 South State Street, Ann Arbor
Art appreciation is easy to achieve here, where kids can design a personalized tour, watch movies and utilize interactive tools at various exhibits. Young children are free to ask questions and speak out. Admission is free.
39221 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills
Field trip possibilities abound at this historic institute, which features an art museum, house and gardens, natural history museum and more. At the Institute of Science’s current “World of Dinosaurs” exhibit, kids can check out actual dinosaur eggs, bones, and fossilized insects, and even get the chance to sit on a real Apatosaurus limb bone.
Saint Joseph Mercy Health “Exploration Station”
1600 S. Canton Center Road, Suite #10, Canton
Interested in a crawl through an oversized large intestine, or a stroll underneath a giant ribcage? Learning about health and safety is made fun at this unique field trip destination, where kids can explore the exhibit gallery designed like a giant human body. Fitness, nutrition and home safety are also covered through interactive exhibits and workshops. Inquire about available visiting hours and programs.
Chelsea Teddy Bear Factory
400 N. Main St., Chelsea
A must-stop destination for teddy bear lovers, this teddy bear factory and toy museum lets kids see how teddy bears are designed and constructed. Free tours are available where kids will learn about the history of toys.
201 W. North Street, Chelsea
That’s right, the famous Jimmy brand started right in Chelsea! Kids will love watching how wheat is milled into flour and made into Jiffy mixes. Tours are available Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., where kids ages 6 and older will enjoy a slideshow, refreshments and a walk-through of the packaging plant.
8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak
This classic destination is sure to entertain even the fussiest of field trippers. Take a walk through the Australian outback and see kangaroos just feet away, be surrounded by butterflies in the butterfly garden or watch from the arctic tunnel as polar bears swim all around you. Learning about wildlife couldn’t be any cooler!
The New Detroit
5020 John R Street, Detroit
Kids (and parents!) of all ages will enjoy the interactive labs, exhibits and shows at the New Detroit Science Center. Check out the four towering rockets in the center’s new Rocket Laboratory and see how Apollo astronauts traveled to the moon, or walk the 80-foot-long Mini Mac Bridge where you’ll learn about engineering. Various group programs are available.
Dexter Cider Mill
3685 Central Street, Chelsea
This is one tasty field trip you won’t want to miss! The oldest continuously operating cider mill in Michigan, this destination offers natural cider, fresh apples and baked goods galore. The cider mill is open from late August to mid-November, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.
Makielski Berry Farm
7130 Platt Road, Ypsilanti
Kids are warmly welcomed at this farm, where children can pick their own berries right off the plants and even pick out their own pumpkins. The farm is open from July to November 1, so plan this trip before the picking season ends!
5565 Marritt Road, Ypsilanti
Apple picking, hayrides, cider and doughnuts – it’s the essential fall field trip! Check out Wiard’s Cider Mill and Apple Orchard and also enjoy a petting farm, a corn maze and other children’s activities. Field trips and other group events are available.