Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Eco Friendly, Nature & Green things to do with your children in Metro Detroit

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Some friends told me about a pinterest post of 50 things to do with your children in Detroit. 

I wanted to do my own list with an eco twist! 

There are so many local parks and open areas to go to, that I cannot name them all, but I wanted to give you a list of things that can be done in a few hours, or a whole day trip.  You can also volunteer in your community with your family.  

The things on the list are as close to the Metro Detroit area as possible, with a few long drives for super-cool venues.

50 Green Things to do with your Kids in Metro Detroit
50 Green Things to do with your Kids in Metro Detroit

1} Go to the Detroit Zoo and learn about their conservation efforts.

2} Splash around in the sprinkler park at Heritage ParkSprinkler Park with nature walks, climbing structures, nature center and free concerts

3}  Learn about clean energy at the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum I loved this as a child and it has gotten even better

6} Learn about native Michigan Animals and let a deer eat out of your hand at Belle Isle Nature Zoo

9} Learn new things at Cranbrook Institute of Science Be sure to see a show at the planenarium, learn about bat in the Bat Zone, take a look at the mineral & gem room {my personal favorite}, walk through the Erb Family Science Garden.  There are acres of beautiful scenery, so this is a great place for a picnic and stroll even if you don't go to the museum.  

11} Play at Kensington Metropark Swimming, Biking, fishing, boating, Farm Animals and winter sports too.  You can go many times and not do the same thing twice. (pet friendly) 

Mini ready to play at Kensington Metro Park, 2013

12} Learn to Sap trees at Maybury Farm or go to see the animals, ride horses at the stables, go on a hayride, learn about honey bees and much more.  

13} Spend the day in the life of a farmer at Carousel Acres - see all the animals, ride the pony, pet a donkey.

14}Take time to see the flowers at Matthaei Botanical Gardens & Nichols Arboretum I didn't do this until college, and there is so many fascinating plants.  Plus they have a children's garden that is interactive.  

15}Spot a Coyote at the E.L. Johnson Nature Center open year round with more then 2 miles of trails, nature center and 1800's homestead to explore. 

16} Refresh yourself at the Franklin Cider Mill.  Eat while enjoying the ducks in the creek and then walk down to the Franklin park after to play. 

Baby Bear watching the Ducks at the Franklin Cider Mill, 2012

17} Bike or walk the West Bloomfield trail

19} Take a trip to Arts and Scraps Detroit or The Scrap Box in Ann Arbor and stock up on industrial 'left overs' that are great for imaginative crafting. 

20}Have Tea at the Townsend, an Eco friendly Hotel in Metro Detroit

21}Take a trip to the Sleeping Bear Dunes

22} See how technology has evolved and what the "House of the Future" looks like at the Henry Ford Museum

23} See the Holland tulips in bloom

24} Walk through the Heidelberg Project in Detroit

25} See how ceramics get made at Pewabic Pottery

26} Explore all of the fresh produce at Eastern Market

27} Watch the stars at Longway Planetarium- Michigan's largest planetarium

28} Learn about the Great Lakes at Dossin Great Lakes Museum Bell Isle

29} Pick your own fruit and see how its grown 

30} Go camping along to Great Lakes (all 5?!)

Baby Bear & I boating on Lake Michigan {Mini is in my belly} 

31} See the home of rare habitats, the lake plain prairies and oak savannas provide places to view prairie plants, birds and butterflies at Algonac State Park.

32} Get up close and personal with the animals at Domino's Farm or Hess Hathway Park (Hess Hathaway is free and they are wheelchair friendly too with a great climbing structure)

Baby Bear at Hess Hathaway Park, 2011

33} Meet the new baby Lemurs at the Toledo Zoo They have even instituted some sustainable practices at the zoo like solar power 

34}Rent a canoe on the Huron river and enjoy a quiet paddle Dogs welcome and they also run many kids educational and recreational programs. Don't forget to pack a picnic lunch, sunscreen, and lots of water. 

35} Make your own nature scavenger hunt and then go to Madison Heights Nature Center Call first, they have walking tours. 

36} See the place (where legend says) that Chief Pontiac is buried- Apple Island.  There are private or group tours available, you must register for a tour, this is a private island.  

37} Take a swim in Cass Lake or go fishing off the fishing pier. 

38} Cross Country Ski in the cold weather at Proud Lake Recreation Area.  They are open year round with over 20 miles of trails for hiking, biking, and skiing. 

38} Take a biking tour of the beautiful Pontiac Lake Recreation Area.  Bring your tent and make it a weekend outing.  

39} Ready for a challenge? Bald Mountain Recreation has some of the steepest hills and rugged terrain for some challenging hiking.  They also have trout fishing and rustic camping.  

40} Spend the night at the Potter Zoological garden in Lansing

41} Enjoy a a movie in the open air at the Ford Drive-in

43} Take a trip to a local Farmer's Market and bring home fresh produce to make a family meal with

44} Try something new and visit a salt room 

45} Make a kite and take it along the Great Lakes Shoreline to fly it

46} Join the Greening of Detroit and Plant some trees.  Make sure you set up a volunteer appointment. 

47} Volunteer to extract honey or make jam at Earthworks Urban Farm or work at the Capuchin Soup Kitchen

48} Help clean up urban blight with Motor City Blight Busters

49} Stock shelves at a food pantry so you can be more thankful for what you have

50} Talk to your local Fire Station and see if they can give you a tour and education about Fire Safety. 

Baby Bear at the Detroit Zoo, 2013

There are some amazing site in the UP and Northern part of Michigan for long trips.  You can go Rock climbing and caving without leaving the state.  

Remember - Your never more then 6 miles from an inland lake in Michigan, so take some time to enjoy!

PS. If you see anything that needs correcting, or should be added please let me know!


  1. Looks like you need an update. No more Pontiac Lake riding stable anymore. That's okay though. My family and i go ride at Maybury Riding Stable now in Northville, Michigan at least once a year. Long time horse riders we love how happy and well taken care of their horses are. We also think this is the best riding stable in lower Michigan - Everyone should try it at least once.

    Of course we also love anything downtown Northville - shops and restaurants are perfect for a relaxing Saturday


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