6 free or low-cost fun places to take your family this summer in Michigan - TAI News
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Tulips bloom at Nelis’ Dutch Village in Holland, Michigan. (Holland Sentinel via AP)

Looking for fun things to do with your family this summer and fall that won’t break the bank? Here are some ideas for entertaining activities across the Wolverine State that are either free or under $30 a person. 

Take a guided tour of the State Capitol

The Michigan State Capitol in Lansing offers hourly guided tours, Monday through Friday. Self-guided tours are also available on your smartphone. Admission and tours are free. https://www.capitol.michigan.gov/tour-schedule

Learn about history

The Michigan History Museum in Lansing takes visitors on a journey from the state’s earliest residents to modern times. Admission is $8 for adults, $4 for youth ages 6-17, and free for children 5 and under. There is no admission charge on Sundays. https://www.michigan.gov/mhc/museums/mhm

The Detroit Historical Museum, open Wednesdays through Sundays, chronicles more than 300 years of the region’s history. Admission is $10 for adults, $6 for children, and $35 for a household of up to 6 people who live at the same address. Free entry is available on certain evenings and the second Sunday of every month through January 2025. https://detroithistorical.org/detroit-historical-museum/plan-your-visit/general-information 

Want to go back even further? The Museum of Natural History at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor includes exhibits going back to the dinosaurs and before. Admission is free. https://lsa.umich.edu/ummnh 

Discover science and technology

The Michigan Science Center in​ Detroit has dozens of hands-on exhibits to get kids excited about science. From an interactive space exhibit to a STEM playground where kids can learn how airplanes fly to the Science Stage where visitors can watch performers do fun experiments, there’s something here for everyone. The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday. Tickets cost $18 per person for ages 3 and up. https://www.mi-sci.org/ 

The Sloan Museum of Discovery in Flint was renovated in 2022 and includes hands-on exhibits such as the Early Childhood Learning Gallery, where kids can dress up and play in a make-believe neighborhood that includes a tree house, a fire station, a garage, and an ambulance. The museum is free for Genesee County residents with ID. Otherwise, tickets are $14 for ages 12-59 and $9 for ages 2-11. Tickets to the planetarium are an extra $5. https://sloanlongway.org/sloan/ 

Learn how trucks are built on the Ford Rouge Factory Tour at the Ford Motor Company’s Dearborn Truck Plant. Visitors who arrive before 1 p.m. have the best chance of seeing the truck assembly line in action. Tickets are $24 for adults and $18 for kids ages 5-11 if purchased online. https://www.thehenryford.org/visit/plan-your-visit/tickets-and-hours/#tab=ford-rouge-factory-tour 

Impression 5 in Lansing is another option for families looking for a hands-on science museum. Visitors can learn the science behind bubbles, learn about the inner workings of the human mouth, and experience the power of water in some of the numerous hands-on exhibits. Tickets are $12 for adults and kids ages 2 and up. https://impression5.org/

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum has 10 exhibits, including a preschool area for young kids to play pretend in a child-size fire truck, a hands-on water exhibit, and an exhibit for learning about the science of the human body. Tickets are $16 for adults and children. https://discoverscienceandnature.org/aahom 

Play

Learn about the history of the Netherlands while also enjoying rides and farm animals at Nelis’ Dutch Village in Holland, Michigan. The park offers Dutch dance lessons, stroopwafel-making demonstrations, cheese-making classes and more. Kids can also take a spin on the park’s chair swing, ride on a restored carousel from 1924, and enjoy a petting zoo with goats, bunnies, chickens, and llamas. Tickets are $16 per person if purchased online, and $18 if purchased in person. Children under 2 get in free. https://www.dutchvillage.com/ 

Craig’s Cruisers has three locations around Michigan, in Grand Rapids, Muskegon, and Holland, and offers a wide array of activities including go-karts, mini golf, an indoor trampoline park, laser tag, and more. Ticket prices vary by activity and location, but packages max out at $29 per person. https://www.craigscruisers.com/ 

Hike, bike, or swim in a state park

Michigan is home to 103 state parks, including the beautiful Fayette Historic State Park in Garden. Some include historical sites, some include floating water parks, and many are perfect for hiking, biking, or swimming. Michigan residents can enter all state parks as often as they like for just $14 per year if they opt in to the state’s Recreation Passport when they renew their vehicle license plate; otherwise daily admission is $11 per vehicle. https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/places/state-parks

Save money through your local library

Don’t see something on this list that interests you? Your local public library can help. Library cardholders can access free or discounted admission to hundreds of parks, cultural destinations, recreation areas, and camping sites across the state through the Michigan Activity Pass. https://miactivitypass.org/

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