Local Travel Guide

. January 24, 2013.

If you're looking for an easy, budget-friendly vacation this summer, look no further! Ann Arbor's surrounding areas have plenty of fun and adventure to choose from.

Brighton Recreation Area
6360 Chilson Rd.
Howell, MI

Take in the scenery of the Brighton Recreation
Area’s irregular hills and beautiful
lakes as you hike or mountain-bike through the park’s several miles of trails. Visit the riding stable, which offers rental horses, or make it an overnight trip at the campground or with the park’s new “green” cabin available for rental which features a fan and lighting powered from a battery that is charged by a photo-voltaic panel mounted on the cabin roof.

Calder Dairy and Farm
9334 Finzel Rd.
Carleton, MI

Have any fans of Old Macdonald at home? At this real working dairy farm, families
are welcome to stop by for free anytime the farm is open (no entry fee!) or schedule a “hands-on” tour where visitors can milk a cow by hand, give her calf a bottle of milk, feed the ducks and geese by the pond and go on a “MOO” way ride. Children can also feed the goats and sheep, or stop for an ice cream cone along the side of the pond.

Cranbrook Institute of Science
39221 Woodward Ave.
Bloomfield Hills, MI

Have you ever seen a bat up close? Here’s your chance! The Bat Zone at the Cranbrook Institute of Science is a separate building housing over 150 bats from around the world, including vampire bats, straw-colored fruit bats and Malayan flying foxes. The Bat Zone is just one of many fascinating exhibits at the institute – be sure to also check out the World of Dinosaurs and take a trip through the stars in the planetarium.


Detroit Institute of Arts
5200 Woodward Ave.
Detroit, MI

This art museum has something to offer for adults and young ones alike. The DIA features 658,000 square feet including 100 galleries, an art reference library and a state-of-the-art conservation services laboratory. Feeling inspired? Sign up for a class one weekend (family classes are available!) and learn new ways to express yourself through art.

Detroit Science Center
6134 Second Ave.
Detroit, MI

Looking for hands-on exhibits, mummies and an IMAX theater? Look no further than the Detroit Science Center. With live demonstrations and interactive activities, DSC has something for everyone!

Detroit Zoo
8450 W. 10 Mile Rd.
Royal Oak, MI

Lions, tigers, bears. . . you know where this is headed! A trip to the zoo is a classic family outing and a fun choice for all ages. The Detroit Zoo sits on 125 acres and is the largest family attraction in Michigan with more than one million visitors each year. Be surrounded by polar bears in the Arctic Ring of Life, walk alongside kangaroos in the Australian Outback Adventure and check out other major exhibits like the National Amphibian Conservation Center and the Butterfly Garden.

Highland Recreation Area
5200 E. Highland Rd.
White Lake, MI

Plan a family adventure to the Highland Recreation Area. This park’s 5,900 acres of forest, marshes and lakes include a rustic 30-site campground, ideal for a rustic getaway that’s not too far from home. Enjoy boating, fishing, volleyball, mountain biking or skiing or check out the numerous nature trails available to explore. A riding stable and a metal detecting area are also featured. Don’t forget your picnic basket!

Imagination Station
One Discovery Way
Toledo, OH

In the mood for a little road trip? Head out to the Imagination Station (formerly COSI), a non-profit, hands-on science museum located on the riverfront in downtown Toledo. Here you’ll find more than 300 exhibits for kids of all ages – and mom and dad, too! – and enjoy a multi-sensory experience that promises to be as educational as it is fun.

International Velodrome at Bloomer Park
345 John R Rd.
Rochester Hills, MI

Have a cyclist in the family? Check out Michigan’s only velodrome for bicycle riding and racing. The International Velodrome at Bloomer Park is an open-air, one-eighth mile wooden oval with 13-degree straight-aways and 44-degree banked turns. It was built by volunteers in the cycling community and now features racing and various riding and training programs. While you’re there, don’t forget to visit Bloomer Park’s other attractions like the stone shelter or “dinosaur dig” sandbox.

Mill Race Historical Village
215 Griswold
Northville, MI

Created in 1972 by the Northville Historical Society, this well-loved village brings history alive as it preserves the architectural styles common to the area prior to 1900. The village was built on land donated to the City of Northville by the Ford Motor Company and includes a church, gazebo, school, rustic wooden bridge, and blacksmith shop. A popular outing for local families!

Milan Dragway
Milan, MI

Have a family of race fans, car lovers or Hot Wheels collectors? Treat them to the real deal traveling at top speeds down the track at Milan Dragway. Whether it’s a casual day of watching racers tune up for competition or a race day featuring the fastest cars around, Milan Dragway is a great destination for a day trip in southeast Michigan. The track is open from April to November every year.

River Raisin Canoe Livery
1151 Plank Rd.
Dundee, MI

Take in the beauty of the River Raisin from the best possible view – a relaxing canoe ride. Adults and kids alike will enjoy seeing wildlife and the seasonal colors of Michigan as they travel the River Raisin. Kayaks, paddleboats and pontoon boats are also available. Enjoy a day of fishing or stop by for a family picnic on your way home from nearby retail attraction Cabela’s.

Splash Universe
100 Whitetail Dr.

Whether it’s an overnight stay or just for the day, you’ll feel like you’re on vacation at Splash Universe. This indoor water park with adjoining hotel features tons of twisting-turning action on the water slides, a 500-gallon splash bucket and a relaxing lazy river. No matter the weather outside, the water
at this park is always a warm 84 degrees. Guests can also enjoy the Shooting Star Arcade or stop for a bite to eat at one the on-site restaurants.

The Henry Ford
20900 Oakwood Blvd.

Whether you’re visiting the Museum, Village, Factory Tour or IMAX Theatre, there’s something for everyone at Michigan’s top cultural tourism destination. The Henry Ford invites its guests to learn about and experience America’s heroes in a way that’s enjoyable and memorable for the whole family. Enjoy Model T rides and Ragtime music, climb into the cab of the world’s largest steam locomotive, or sip tea in the beauty of a genuine English garden.

The Toledo Zoo
2700 Broadway St.
Toledo, OH

Mingle with orangutans, tigers and hippos!
The Toledo Zoo boasts a variety of animals ideal for an afternoon or weekend
adventure. Visit the aquarium, reptile house and aviary for plenty of fun, with over 6,000 species there’s something for everyone!

Windsor Odette Sculpture Park
2450 McDougal,
Windsor, Ontario

Have your passports ready? With a view of the Detroit skyline, this is one out-of-country trip that won’t feel so far away. The Odette Sculpture Park is a “museum without walls” where more than 31 large-scale, internationally recognized sculpture works are showcased. This year-round, free to the public park is located on the shores of the Detroit River within Ambassador and Centennial Parks, between the Ambassador Bridge and The Art Gallery of Windsor.