FX Excursions

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Family Fun in Ann Arbor

by Teresa Bitler

Sep 26, 2019

© Teresa Bitler

Destinations / North America

Although it’s home to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor isn’t just for college students. In fact, there’s plenty to see and do for the whole family.


The Big House

Whether you’re a Wolverines fan or not, you’ll get a kick out of touring the university’s football stadium. Visit the game day locker room, survey the stadium from the press box and stand at the 50-yard line for a family photo during this 60-minute tour. More of a hockey fan? Tours are also available at Yost Ice Arena.


While on campus, consider dropping by Kelsey Museum of Archaeology to see its brightly painted Egyptian mummy coffin, Greek and Roman sculptures and a reproduction of the Villa of the Mysteries in Pompeii wall mural. Or, discover the Tiffany architectural glass, Asian ceramics and paintings by American artists on display at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. (Check the online calendar for family-friendly events like Storytime at the Museum and Family Art Studio.)


Yankee Air Museum

Located on the site where the Willow Run Bomber Plant produced B-24 Liberator bombers from 1942 to 1945, the Yankee Air Museum today tells the story of the bomber plant and the women (and men) who worked there. It also showcases aviation history from World War I through the Vietnam War and beyond.

Ann Arbor. Photo: Teresa Bitler.

Kids can peer inside a B-24 cockpit, sit in the pilot’s seat of a KC-135 cockpit, learn how pulleys and levers help aircraft fly and pose beside a B-52D Stratofortress, F-4C Phantom II, UH-1D Huey and others. Looking for something even more hands on? The Exploration Station invites kids of all ages to build with foam blocks, learn about magnetism and design and decorate their own plane.


Matthaei Botanical Gardens

When you want to take advantage of Michigan’s beautiful fall, spring and summer days, head to Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Visits start in The Conservatory where you’ll see plants from three major climate zones (tropical, temperate and arid) and continue outside with a display of more than 70 bonsai and penjing plants.


Trails take you through perennial, herb, wildflower and medicinal gardens. If you have younger children, don’t miss the Garfield Children’s Garden where they can dig in the dirt, build with natural materials, climb on wood stumps and make their way through a maze.


Zingerman’s Creamery

Affiliated with the famous Zingerman’s Delicatessen, this creamery makes flavorful cheeses, gelati and sorbets. Order a scoop of Salted Caramel Chocolate Chunk gelato, Mint Chocolate Chip gelato, Watermelon sorbet or other flavors. Or, try the fresh mozzarella, pimento and similar cheeses.


But, why just try the creamery’s products when you can go behind the scenes? Families with kids 12 and up can sign up for classes to learn how to make mozzarella or tastings that guide you through the seven major styles of cheese.



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