Michigan Cool Things July 2016

It is hot today.

Okay, I know that is the understatement of the week, but still...

As you know, we love getting outside as much as we can and enjoy exploring nature by taking a walk through a metro park or a stroll through one of Michigan's great small towns, but this week has been a challenge, partially because I am not really a beach or pool person. (We are sort of like the Baudelaire's from A Series of Unfortunate Events and prefer overcast or rainy days at the beach....)

If you are in our state over the next week or so, here are a few cool things to do (in no particular order).

1. Go to the new Polk Penguin Conservation Center at the Detroit Zoo.  It is worth checking out, especially if you have a zoo membership or a discount. The exhibit features wide glass windows for viewing, an immersive large screen experience of being on Shackleton's Antarctic expedition. Children with sensory sensitivities might not enjoy this aspect of the exhibit, but it is easily avoidable, or you can pass quickly through it.  It is wonderfully cool inside!

2. Grab some ice cream, custard or frozen yogurt. There are so many wonderful ones around, I don't want to leave anyone out, but a new favorite is Orange Leaf. Their pricing is based on size only, not weight. This helps the pocket book when one of the kids goes a little wild with the cookie dough!

3. Check out  an evening concert in the park. It seems like most nights of the week a city near where you are visiting will host a concert in the park. The temperatures will be a bit cooler in the evening, and the kids will love dancing or reading a book while you enjoy some high quality entertainment.  The Marquette City Band is playing July 28th at the Presque Isle Band Shell.

4. Go see The Tempest at the Redford Theatre. This special performance is by the Motor City Youth Theater Bard Bums and included a free craft for the first 100 kids.  

5. Catch an opera. Okay, not technically, an opera, but the  Michigan Opera Theatre is having a summer serenade. Musicians will be performing not just your favorite arias, but classics from cinema and Broadway as well. This might be a great way to expose your children to wonderful music that they might not hear everyday in a relaxed, outdoor setting. 

6. Stay up late stargazing at one the Dark Sky Parks in Michigan. These areas feature minimal interference from city lights to allow for great viewing of the night sky. Alpena has three Dark Sky Parks and the Headlands Dark Sky Park is near Mackinaw City. 

7. Okay, okay. If you insist, go swimming or hang out at the beach-it's summer after all, it is supposed to be hot- preferably under an umbrella and not during the peak hours!  At the very least, go find some water, an inland lake or one of the Great Lakes and catch the sunrise or sunset. You'll never forget it. 


Things to Do-Father's Day Weekend Metro Detroit 2016

This is a busy weekend in metro Detroit with travelers and residents finding plenty to do.

One of the largest events is likely to be the Motor Muster at Greenfield Village. This annual event attracts car enthusiasts and casual spectators from around Michigan and the Midwest to showcase the art and design of classic cars.  The cars are lovingly attended and restored and the owners will be happy to share the story of why they chose this particular car and their triumphs and sorrows in restoring it. The importance of the automobile in the history of America, post- WWII simply cannot be overstated and this is a great multi-generational family event.  

For those families whose travels bring them closer to Ann Arbor, the Ann Arbor Book Festival is a great option. The Street Fair, located on Washington Street, between 4th and 5th has a variety of youth programming on Saturday from noon-5pm. Face painting, balloon art and Fly Children's Art center are among the events featured. 

For a great attraction for those with inquisitive children who love exploring the natural world, you might consider the Cranbrook Institute of Science.  Consider taking advantage of their evening hours-open until 10pm on Saturday. The ticket fees are discounted, the crowds likely to be smaller tonight and if it is a clear night you can go to the observatory. 

Whatever you do-enjoy!