4 Fun Things to Do with Kids in Detroit

If you’re looking for your next great family adventure, or someplace different to take the kids, we have you covered. Spending a day out with the kids is a great way to recapture your own childlike curiosity and love of play, so we’ve included plenty of options that will make the adults as happy as the kids. Below are some of the best, most unique, and most beloved things to do with your kids in Detroit.

Detroit Kid City

Detroit Kid City is also known as a “Play Café”, where you and the family can enjoy café-style treats while playing together in the imaginary town that’s been set up in the shop. You may feel as though you’ve stepped onto a movie set, albeit a miniaturized one specially designed for children. And that is part of the wonder and charm at Detroit Kid City – it is truly a mini-city built for kids to play and imagine in. It is great place for the entire family or for larger groups.

Detroit Princess Riverboat

Take in the views along the Detroit River, with the sun shining down and a wonderful breeze in your faces while wandering through the many levels of a classic Riverboat. The Detroit Princess has been operating on the river for more than fifteen years and has been a beloved treasure of the city since it first docked. Families can enjoy a lunch, dinner, or sightseeing cruise along the river.

Westview Orchards & Adventure Farm

Just North of Detroit is this wonderful orchard and farm. The Farm Market has homegrown fruits and vegetables as well as award-winning baked goods. In between indulging in the sweets/snacks, you and the family can pick strawberries, apples, pumpkins, and more (depending on what’s in season). Kids can also enjoy a large playground with a Rope Mountain, petting the animals, and wandering through the straw bale maze. The farm is particularly beautiful when the Sunflower fields are blooming.  

Detroit Zoo

A trip to the zoo is always a family favorite. Kids will love riding the carousel, the Tauber Family Railroad, or the Simulator Ride, in between visiting the animals. You can choose to wander the zoo yourselves, marveling at all the animals, or take part in one of several Zoo Experiences, including Giraffe Encounters or hanging out with the penguins. Whatever adventure you choose, the kids are sure to have fun while learning about the world around them.

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Aquariums around Detroit, MI

Detroit. Famous for its historical presence in music, manufacturing, sport, and commerce, The Motor City would appear to have it all, and this is also true for aquatic life. Visitors, hometown returnees, and locals alike will find an inspiring diversity of aquatic life both in the waters surrounding and in a number of institutions around the city. Read on for some of our favorite aquariums around Detroit.

Sea Life Michigan

Sea Life Michigan is a great option for travelers of all ages and interests to immerse themselves in a world of over 250 species among 2,000 animals, with a wealth of unique exhibits and experiences. The Shipwreck Exhibit features a community of colorful coral and tropical fishes who’ve taken up residence in the remains of a sunken pirate ship, a cast of characters including the grumpy lionfish, mysterious wolf eel, and a famously extroverted porcupine pufferfish. Visitors can also watch the stingrays swim about, touch a variety of tidal species, surround themselves with a school of fish, or walk under an enchanting 125,000 gallons of marine life in the ocean tunnel. Keeper talks and Q&A sessions about the lives and care of the animals occur regularly, and behind-the-scenes tours are available by appointment.

https://www.visitsealife.com/michigan/

Belle Isle Aquarium

The Belle Isle Aquarium is a charming green-tiled step back in time, a nod to the heyday of Detroit’s car manufacturing era and the wildlife of Detroit’s local waters. Located on tranquil Belle Isle, visitors can stroll through a gallery of live species representative of the Great Lakes, and exotic catches from around the world. The layout of the institution remains much as it was over a century ago, from its founding in 1904. Aside from the delightful setting and opportunity to meet many of Detroit’s aquatic denizens, another great feature of the Belle Isle Aquarium is its proximity to a number of parks. The small scale of the island means a variety of activities and the ability to tour nature in the aquarium as well as outdoors in a timely manner. 

http://detroitaquarium.weebly.com

Detroit Zoo

While not specifically an aquarium, the work the Detroit Zoological Society has done to protect and display aquatic animals cannot go unmentioned. A formidable list of aquatic icons resides here, including the African spurred tortoise, axolotl, beaver, Chinese alligator, otter, and the mighty polar bear. If you are wondering about the penguins, you’re in luck. The Polk Penguin Conservation Center is a 326,000 gallon mission by the Detroit Zoological Society in honour of the lovable penguin, and currently is home to over 75 Southern rockhoppers, macaronis, kings, and gentoo penguins. That is to say, the Detroit Zoo loved penguins so much they have their own corner of the zoo dedicated entirely to their care, education, and lovable antics. Aside from the star-studded list of residents, the Detroit Zoo also has a number of community and private events, such as feeding the penguins, behind-the-scenes tours, and group activities such as Sundown and Yoga in the Zoo.  

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5 Quirky Date Night Destinations in Detroit

Date night doesn’t have to be the same each time. While we all love cuddling up at the movies or trying new restaurants or embracing a bit of high culture at museums, every once in a while, date night needs to be shaken up. Each city has a hidden world of strange, quirky, and delightful things to do. Try any one of these on your next date night and embrace the weird, whimsical part of life.

Palazzo Di Bocce

We love quirky date nights that combine two things that no one would think go together. And that is exactly what Palazzo Di Bocce offers. Chow down on delicious Italian fare, including ravioli, gnocchi, tortellini and finish with an exquisite cannoli or tiramisu. Then, after you’ve eaten your fill (or in between courses) step on to the bocce ball court for some friendly competition. 

Drag Queen Bingo @ Five15

What may seem like a game for retired couples in Florida is quickly becoming a popular alternative to the usual weekend hot spots. Drag Queen Bingo combines the traditional game of bingo with an audience-participation comedy show full of sass and good fun. Not only do people rave about the show itself, but the drinks and food too. 

Fowling Warehouse

Another great place for drinks and games in Detroit, but not your traditional game. Fowling combines football and bowling, where the goal is to knock down as many bowling pins as possible by throwing a football at them. You can stop by for one night of unique fun or start/join a league. You may be great at one of these sports, but are you great at both? Head somewhere new and give it a go at Fowling Warehouse.

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge

The claim to fame at Baker’s Keyboard Lounge is that they are the oldest operating jazz club in the U.S. They opened in 1934 and have been sharing incomparable jazz ever since. Live music can be found in a number of restaurants and bars, but at Baker’s the history, art deco-inspired atmosphere, and soul food make for a unique and magical experience. 

The Schvitz

A hidden gem in Detroit that will remind you of the ancient baths found throughout Europe. This bathhouse/spa and urban health club is the only one left in the city and has been operating since 1930. Relax in the same way that Ancient Romans, Greeks, and Ottomans did, embracing ancient methods of holistic healing. This is not your traditional spa experience and makes for a unique, restorative evening out.

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Our favourite ways to spend summer in Detroit, MI

Motown! Detroit’s musical innovation in Jazz, Hip-Hop, Rock and its namesake, as well as its historic role in industry and car manufacture, has imbued the city with a unique character. Inspiring numerous artists and stories, Detroit’s dynamic environment and changing face continue to draw crowds. If you’ve also selected Detroit as your destination, read on for some of our favourite things to do in Detroit summertime. 

Belle Isle

Cross the MacArthur bridge over the Detroit River to Belle Isle, a green place outside of the city. In the river between Michigan and Canada, Belle Isle’s mix of serenity, nature and Twentieth Century architecture captures the aspirations of the city in its booming heyday. The small size of the island also makes it very conducive to a walking tour, from one end of the island to the other. Sunset point and the Blue Heron Lagoon trail offer beautiful views over the river and submersion in nature. The Belle Isle Aquarium and its green tile host a display of the local ecosystem, all inside of an exterior paying homage to its centenarian past. Aside from these, there are also Museums of local history, a beach to swim at and multiple sporting fields.

Detroit Institute of Arts

The Detroit Institute of Arts, centrally located in midtown, is the flagship location for the arts in Detroit. Over sixty-five thousand works of art among one hundred galleries contain Detroit’s self-reflections, highlights of American tradition, African American expression, dedications to printmaking and etching. Over half a million visitors wander through the white marble and the work of Jan van Eyck, Rembrandt, Degas, van Gogh, Picasso, Gauguin, Cezanne and ter Borch. On occasions, live music and lectures take place in the theatre, and the Institute is complemented by its own reference library and the Detroit Public Library across the street.

Windsor-Detroit International Freedom Festival

Owing to Detroit’s proximity to neighbouring Windsor, Ontario, a special transnational celebration of country and tradition occurs on both sides of the Detroit River that is the only of its size in the world. From July 1 to July 4, both Detroit and Windsor celebrate Canada Day and the Fourth of July. The cities coordinate for an impressive firework display and festivities. American citizens with a passport can make the quick trip over to Windsor and enjoy the Carnival on the Canadian side of the holidays with no need for a visa. We recommend catching America’s ( and Canada’s! ) birthdays among Detroit and Windsor if you can, for a truly unique experience.

Hotter Than July! 

Hotter Than July! is Detroit’s annual Black LGBT Pride festival, celebrating love and the LGBT community. Floats, live music performances, fashion competitions and the LGBT community take the week for festivities and fun. Attendees of all backgrounds are welcomed to enjoy the vibrant activity, whether picnicking or just experiencing the week with Detroit. Between educational purposes, sharing a meal or attending the arts on display, Hotter than July is a great addition to any trip to Detroit.

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5 Great Places to Have a Picnic in Detroit

When the weather cooperates, we all love to get outside and explore the world around us. There is nothing more refreshing and soothing to the soul than a picnic in the sun, surrounded by the beauty of nature. Every city in the United States has incredible locations for picnicking. Below are 5 Great Places to Picnic in Detroit.

Belle Isle Park

Belle Isle Park is a great place to visit because it’s filled with a ton of different things to do. It is home to the Dossin Great Lakes Museum and the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, as well as sports fields/courts of every kind. The entire island is made for a day enjoying the sun and is especially perfect for picnics overlooking the Detroit River. Sunset Point, near the famous James Scott Memorial Fountain, is an especially gorgeous place for an outdoor meal. 

Milliken State Park

A waterfront park situated on the harbor which makes for a fun picnic watching the boats come and go. Take a stroll on the Detroit Riverwalk, featuring a historical landmark Lighthouse, before sitting down on a bench along the water or on the open lawn of the larger park. Milliken State Park is the perfect place for a picnic – it is charming and photogenic.  

Palmer Park

Palmer Park is an escape from the city and is especially exciting to visit on “Log Cabin Day”, which takes place once a year during the summer. During “Log Cabin Day”, the historical cabin in the park becomes the site of a charming festival with quilting, loom weaving, blacksmiths, live music, and people dressed in colonial-style outfits. Every other day of the year, Palmer Park is peaceful and clean with plenty of picnic tables on the lawns with grills for barbequing. Children can also enjoy the playgrounds and basketball or tennis courts in the park.

Campus Martius Park

A popular downtown park that mixes city architecture and energy with the beauty of nature. There are plenty of colorful tables to sit for a picnic lunch, several of which have shaded canopies in the summer. Strolling through the park provides an opportunity for enjoying sculptures, a bistro, and a large water fountain. During the summer, part of the park is covered with sand, turning it into a beach in the middle of downtown Detroit. 

Spirit of Detroit Plaza

A city park with charming tables for picnicking and large art displays. The plaza is frequented by food vendors and musicians, which makes for an exciting lunch under the sun. The Spirit of Detroit Statue is the focal point of this park and is a beloved, historical part of the city.

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Fun Summer Things To Do In Detroit, MI

Summer is finally here!  The kids are out of school, and backyard barbecues are taking place all over the nation.  After the year we had in 2020, and most people having chosen not to take a vacation, you can almost rest assured that families will be out in full force this year.

With this in mind, we thought we would offer a few great vacation ideas to help you plan, as well as some places that would be great for just a few days away.  We all need time to recharge and some well-deserved play in the sunshine.

Here are some of the best places to check out this summer!

Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation

20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124

The Henry Ford is a large indoor and outdoor history museum complex and a National Historic Landmark in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn, Michigan, United States. The museum collection contains the presidential limousine of John F. Kennedy, Abraham Lincoln’s chair from Ford’s Theatre, Thomas Edison’s laboratory, the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop, the Rosa Parks bus, and many other historical exhibits. It is the largest indoor-outdoor museum complex in the United States and is visited by over 1.7 million people each year.

Belle Isle

300 River Place Dr, Suite 2800, Detroit, MI 48207

Belle Isle Park, known simply as Belle Isle, is a 982-acre island park in Detroit, Michigan, developed in the late 19th century. It consists of Belle Isle, an island in the Detroit River, as well as several surrounding islets. The U.S.-Canada border is in the channel south of Belle Isle, such that the island is not in Canada. Owned by the city of Detroit, Belle Isle is managed as a state park by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources through a 30-year lease initiated in 2013; it was previously a city park. Belle Isle Park is the largest city-owned island park in the United States, and Belle Isle is the third largest island in the Detroit River, after Grosse Ile and Fighting Island.

Motown Museum

2648 West Grand Blvd, Detroit, MI 48208

“Hitsville U.S.A.” is the nickname given to Motown’s first headquarters and recording studio. The house is located near the New Center area. The house was purchased by Motown Co-founder and majority owner Sir Charles Isaac Jones in 1959, an owner of Jones Oil located on the Blackfoot Indian Tribe of Texas. After buying the house, Gordy converted it for use as the record label’s administrative building and recording studio. Following mainstream success in the late 1960s and early 1970s, Gordy moved the label to Los Angeles and established the Hitsville West studio there as a part of his focus on television and film production as well as music production. Today, the “Hitsville U.S.A” property operates as the Motown Museum, which is dedicated to the legacy of the record label, its artists, and its music. The museum occupies the original house and an adjacent former residence.

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Things to Do for the Fourth of July in Detroit

Everyone’s favorite summer holiday is quickly approaching! Nothing says July 4th like BBQs, pool days, parades, and fireworks! But with the country beginning to emerge from the worst of it, some celebrations are returning in the area. Read on to see what’s happening around Detroit this Independence Day and gather up some ideas for your Fourth of July weekend.

Go to a Baseball Game

As the ultimate American pastime, baseball pairs perfectly with Independence Day! And the Detroit Tigers just happen to be playing the Chicago White Sox this year at home on July 4th. The afternoon game starts at 1:10 pm and you can get seats starting around $24. Comerica Park is also a fun baseball stadium to visit, for adults and kids alike – view the sculptures, watch the “liquid fireworks” display (a fountain with synchronized music and lights), ride a hand-painted tiger on the carousel, or take a spin on the Fly Ball Ferris Wheel in a car shaped like a giant baseball. When it’s time to eat, if you’re craving Fourth of July faves likes hot dogs and hamburgers, head to the Beer Hall or Brushfire Grill restaurant with open-air seating.

Salute to America: Summer Stroll

Greenfield Village is partnering with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra to create a more COVID-friendly version of their traditional Independence Day celebration: Salute to America. Sponsored by Ford, the event allows patrons to stroll through Greenfield Village while enjoying music played by small ensembles of DSO members spread throughout the park. The music will represent many American dramas, from Colonial fifes and drums to ragtime and jazz to choral singers. There will be fireworks at the end of the night, too!

Greenfield Village features plenty to see and do, with historic homes and buildings from various time periods, living history demonstrations, food, and a carousel.

Lake Erie Metropark

Cooling off at the beach is the perfect way to spend a sweltering Fourth of July, and with its position between two Great Lakes (plus Lake St. Clair), Detroit is within day-trip distance of plenty of fantastic beaches. But if you want to hit the water pretty close to the city, your best bet is Lake Erie Metropark, about half an hour south of downtown. There’s a small, sandy beach where you can swim in Lake Erie as well as a Wave Pool with 3-foot waves! Entry is $8 for adults, $6 for children, and includes a raft. There’s also a separate spray and splash area for little kids.

There’s plenty of other amenities around the park so that you can spend your whole holiday there without getting bored. Some include:

·   A Golf course

·   Canoeing, Kayaking, and Boating

·   Fishing

·   Birdwatching – it’s one of the best hawk-watching sites in North America!

·   Hiking – miles of trails through swamps, marshes, and along the shoreline.

·   Bike trails

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Arboretums and Botanical Gardens to Visit in Detroit

When considering a vacation, or even just a day out with the family, why not consider visiting a local arboretum or botanical garden?  You can enjoy a delightful getaway with a visit to one of these beautiful gateways to all that nature has to offer.

Arboretums and botanical gardens work to promote common respect and educate with a drive towards an appreciation of the world of gardening and the insects that work to pollinate our plants and flowers. 

These nature monuments are just waiting to be discovered and welcome all visitors for a day of tranquility, enjoying their peaceful beauty.  Make sure to check out one of the arboretums or botanical gardens listed below.

Arjay Miller Michigan Arboretum

4900-4910 Southfield Rd, Dearborn, MI 48126

The arboretum has grown until it is now one of the largest in the United States, devoted exclusively to trees and shrubs from a specific state.  Michigan, with some 58,000 square miles of land, has more varieties of trees and shrubs than the entire continent of Europe, which covers 3,700,000 square miles.

Royal Oak Arboretum

920 W Windmere Ave, Royal Oak, M I48073

The Royal Oak Nature Society is a volunteer group working with the City of Royal Oak to protect, maintain and promote the usage of Royal Oak’s two nature preserves, Cummingston Park and Tenhave Woods.  We are also in the process of developing an arboretum and wildflower garden (Royal Oak Arboretum) behind the Royal Oak Senior Center.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum

1800 N Dixboro Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105

The University of Michigan Matthaei Botanical Gardens includes botanical gardens, natural areas with trails, and several research-quality habitats. The conservatory is popular year-round. The public entrance is at 1800 North Dixboro Road in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Ann Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory

4 Inselruhe Ave, Detroit, MI 48207

The Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory is a greenhouse and a botanical garden located on Belle Isle, a 982-acre island park located in the Detroit River between Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Ontario near the Canada–United States border.

Bennett Arboretum

Northville, MI 48168

Bennett Arboretum is a jewel with an easy two-mile trail through the oldest county arboretum in Michigan. Bennett is a popular course for high school cross country teams in the fall.

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Things to Do for Mother’s Day in Detroit

Mother’s Day is coming up next month! The moms in our lives work so hard and give so much, so it’s important to take a day to make them feel special. Whether you’re celebrating your own mother, a step-mother, the mother of your children, or a friend who is a mom, here are some ideas of wonderful things to do with her.

Dime Store

Since Mother’s Day always falls on a Sunday, it’s traditional for many people to take their mom out for brunch. This is always a winning idea, and in Detroit, there’s no better place for brunch than Dime Store, located right downtown near Campus Martius. This hip spot offers creative twists on brunch classics along with craft beer, wine, and cocktails. Some highlights from their menu include peach cobbler French toast, Korean BBQ duck leg hash, and house-made sausages. Park in the Financial District Garage, and they’ll validate the first two hours of parking for you! And if you and your mom are late sleepers or can’t get a reservation for an ideal time, don’t worry – they serve breakfast and brunch all day!  

Belle Isle

May is the beginning of picnic season! The weather is warming up, trees and flowers are blooming, and outdoor celebrations are a safe option during COVID-19. A great place to take your mom for a picnic locally is Belle Isle. This 984-acre island park in the Detroit River is a lovely spot to relax. After you eat, you can take a stroll around the coast to view the Detroit and Windsor skylines, or along the interior nature trails to do some birdwatching.

Afternoon Tea

If you want something unique to do with your mom, how about taking her for an elegant, English-style tea? The Whitney is a perfect place for this because after your tea you can enjoy the colorful oasis of their onsite gardens or pop across the street to the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. The Afternoon Tea service is offered on weekends at 11:00 am or 1:00 pm and requires an advance reservation. The menu includes champagne or mimosa upon arrival, followed by scones, soup and salad, an assortment of tea sandwiches, finished with hot canapes and dessert. And it’s more than a meal – the full experience includes live piano music and encourages elegant clothing and hats.

Selden Standard

If your mom is more of the traditional type, you might want to treat her to a classy night out. Consider Selden Standard, one of the most accoladed restaurants in Detroit. This New American restaurant serves seasonal and local craft cocktails and small plates, so it’s perfect to sample lots of treats tapas-style with mom. Selden Standard was named restaurant of the year in 2015 by the Detroit Free Press and in 2016 by Hour Detroit, and this past year, one of their chefs was nominated for the Rising Star Chef of the Year James Beard Award.

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Best Car Washes in Detroit, Michigan

If you’re looking for a place to wash your car and get the best service for your money, we have a few great suggestions for you in the city of Detroit, Michigan. It doesn’t matter if it’s your own car or a rental car, clean or dirty, old or new, whether you’re on vacation or close to home, these car washes and detailers are guaranteed to make your vehicle look like a million bucks. These guys have seen it all. Don’t be afraid to show up with your cookie crumbs, your beach sand, or your toddler’s fast-food mess into the shop. You’ll be amazed at your car’s transformation! Let’s take a closer look at what car washes Detroit has to offer.

First, we recommend Detail XPerts. This shop offers car washes by hand to ensure your paint will be protected as its cleaned. Several different packages are available, depending on how much work you need done on your vehicle, both inside and outside. They service all kinds of vehicles from cars to trucks, from boats to motorcycles, even RV’s. Soon, this shop will also offer their detailing services to airplanes and trains! From your carpets to your windows, from your seats to your wheels, there isn’t a surface of your car that will go uncleaned. Call or go online to book your appointment today.

Second, we suggest Star Auto Wash and Detailing. This shop offers car wash packages as well as detailing packages, or both together. It’s totally up to you. They employ a state-of-the-art hybrid washing system that not only washes your car’s exterior, but also washes your wheels and tires. Their car wash can also service vans with raised roofs. You can enjoy their drop-off detailing service as well as scuff and light scratch removal. Whether you have a car, a van, an SUV, a sports car, or an old classic, Star Auto Wash and Detailing is where you’ll want to go. Book your appointment by phone or online.

Finally, Mr. Pops Detail Shop might be your best bet. Mr. Pops is proud to be a black-owned business since 1990. They have been rated #1 in the city of Detroit, and pride themselves on their excellent quality of work. A variety of packages are available, including a detailed wash of your exterior, and a detail of your interior. Shampoo your carpets, get a buff and wax, clean your engine. Or do the whole nine yards, you’ll be well-satisfied with Mr. Pops Detail Shop. Go online to grab yourself a $5 coupon to boot! Come on down and see why Mr. Pops is likely the best place in town.

If you’d like to save a little money and be done in five minutes or less, you can visit some local drive through car washes as well, such as Downtown Auto Wash Inc. on Michigan Ave., Magical Touch Car Wash on Greenfield Rd., or M&M Auto Wash LLC on Conant St. In a pinch, these drive through car washes will help keep you looking good until you can get that detailing done.

Wherever you decide to go, your car will be well taken care of. In the great city of Detroit, Michigan, you’ll find detailers who truly care about their work and, most importantly, your car. With our recommendations, you’ll be in excellent hands.

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