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Things for kids to do in Detroit

doncaster UK
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Things for kids to do in Detroit

Hi

My family and I are visiting Detroit as our eldest son who is 12 is in the Great Britain team playing roller hockey in the Junior Olympics. We are staying at the Ramada and after looking on the net we can not see anything for our other kids to do whilst we are out there. We have a 7 and a 2yr old. Apart from hockey we will have plenty of time to do other things. We are looking for family friendly places to eat and playcentres (inside and out) maybe a ballgame and swimming. We are also quite worried about what areas to keep away from.

We go in 3 weeks so would be grateful if you could give us some info.

After our stay in Detroit we will be driving to Niagara Falls so any information about how long and the best route to take would be great.

Becky

Detroit, Michigan
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1. Re: Things for kids to do in Detroit

Hi, veedub. No need to fret. What are your dates here in Detroit?

Also, where is that Ramada located? Where are the events located? (This will help with suggestions and logistics for dining and acvitity.) Does the hotel have a pool?

There are plenty of activities for you, and all three children - when your son is not playing roller hockey.

Here are a few suggestions. I'm sure other posters will have more.

The Detroit Science Center in the cultural district has an amazing exhibit on the human body. Don't know how long that will run. This is a hands-on facility. Very nice.

Just up the road is the Detroit Historical Museum which has been newly renovated.

The grandaddy exhibit of them all is Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, plus the Ford Rouge plant tour. Three weeks from now might put you into factory shutdown... so vehicles might not be rolling down the assembly line,but the tour is still very cool. My jaded 16 year old nephew really liked it ! This is an all-day affair. The facilities are huge! There is a small gauge train that runs around the park.

Our Detroit Zoo, actually located in Royal Oak, is really good. Great polar bear exhibit, where you actually walk underneath the bears' water tank and can watch them swim!

Off the top of my head, I know there are several water parks here -- the communities of Waterford, and Madison Heights have county parks with water slides, etc.

As for beaches - Kensington Metropark, Metro Beach/Stoney Creek.

can't think of others off the top of my skull.

You can take a cruise along the Detroit River - Diamond Jack and The Detroit Princess are two river boats.

The Detroit Tigers play in a beautiful stadium in downtown Detroit that is very, very family friendly. Including a carousel and a mini ferris wheel for the little ones. You can go to tigers.mlb.com to look up the playing schedule and see if they are in town while you are here.

Places you would be going to play and eat should be just fine -- so don't worry so much about that.

The best way to get to Niagara Falls is through Canada - across the tunnel or the bridge from Detroit to Windsor, Ontario. And the best place to be is on the Canadian side, so you are right in position.

I'm sure other posters will have more suggestions. And when we get locations for you, we can make eating reco's too!

Regards,

AB

Livonia, Michigan
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2. Re: Things for kids to do in Detroit

As usual, AddieBee has given such a thorough answer that I have nothing to add until we know your dates and locations, but I want to emphasize The Henry Ford and going to a Tigers game - very American experiences.

Enjoy your visit.

Sarah

doncaster UK
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3. Re: Things for kids to do in Detroit

thanks for the VERY comprehensive reply !!! thats a lot of great info, and off the top of your skull haha.

being brits i wont shout this too loud but we secretly love ALL things american, and having just returned from Disney (this was a planned family vacation prior to finding out the eldest got picked for the olympics !!!) we are gagging for more USA style !!!!

we are planning to fly out on or very near to the 16th of july, hockey for 10 days and driving a rental from detroit to Niagara, via which ever the best/shortest/easiest route is for a three day break there to then return to the UK on 30th july.

location is Ramada Inn Downriver near to Downtown Detroit ?? does this make it any clearer .

thanks again and any more info we'd love to hear from you.

Glenn & Becky

Detroit, Michigan
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4. Re: Things for kids to do in Detroit

Becky,

Oh my goodness, you are here for a long time! And I didn't say this earlier, but congrats on your son's achievements... and Welcome to the Detroit area. I also forgot to ask if the younger ones are boys or girls?

I did some digging yesterday after your post. The AAU roller hockey Junior Olympics is being held in Taylor Michigan - at the Taylor Sportsplex. This area is called "downriver" -a collection of communities that are down stream from the city of Detroit.

So, first off, I am hoping that some of our downriver posters will chip in for activities and food options.

Second, that Ramada is also in Taylor, not far from expressways that would take you just about anywhere - Interstate 94. 94 runs east and west.... and near I-75 as well, which runs north and south.

There is a large shopping mall nearby - Southland -- which might offer some respite from the heat and humidity, which is going to be pretty intense that time of the year. And one in Dearborn, called Fairlane.

The city of Taylor actually has some very nice spots for you to take the two little ones while your older boy competes. One is Heritage Park - complete with play area, pool, catch-and-release fish pond, petting farm, barbeque grills and picnic areas. City's web site is: www.cityoftaylor.com

Of course, all if this is based on you having a car and not being concerned about driving on the CORRECT side of of the road! :-)

Be prepared to do a lot of driving. Public transit here leaves a lot to be desired.

Also, check the local newspapers' web sites. They post calendars each Thursday which include family-friendly activities. www.detnews.com and www.freep.com

Other options are to head west and visit the Yankee Air Museum in Belleville. There is vintage aircraft the boys (including the grown up one) might get a kick out of. And then on to Ann Arbor, which has many parks and a children's hands-on museum, a cute little downtown with LOTS of places to eat.

Be warned, though, the Ann Arbor Art Fair (4 at once!) which is HUGE, is on Wednesday, July 18th through Saturday, July 21st. If you want to go, it will be jammed, so do so early in the day. Ann Arbor is also home to the University of Michigan. http://annarbor.org/events/artfairs.asp

There may also be shows that you want to take in - sometimes the Fox Theatre downtown has programs aimed at children - more for the little boy, like Dora the Explorer, the Wiggles, etc.

As far as food/dining options, well, I don't know much about eating in Taylor and its neighboring communities so I am hoping some other locals can help with that. Eating downtown is no problem, same with Ann Arbor, Dearborn - where the Henry Ford is located.

So when you make some decisions, let us know and we can help you.

Oh, I also advise you to get a really good map of Michigan and of the Detroit metropolitan area.

Livonia, Michigan
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5. Re: Things for kids to do in Detroit

Although I love Ann Arbor and the Hands On Museum, I would not suggest going there during Art Fair unless you go very early in the day and consider parking at one of the shuttle points, typically Briarwod Mall and Pioneer High... it's a hassle if you only want to go to the museum. If you do want an EXCELLENT children's museum, I recommend driving about an hour south tot eh Toledo COSI museum... better than Ann Arbor's Hands On, and from Taylor, not all that much longer considering the art fairs will impede your travel into and out of Ann Arbor.

Although Detroit has a very nice zoo, I found that when my kids were younger, I preferred the Toledo Zoo also. They have, as I recall, a cool hippo exhibit where you can view the hippos underwater... of course hippos don't move all that much but... they also have a very nice children's playground. I think it's a cleaner, more accessible zoo for families with young ones... used to have a fun petting farm/zoo thing too.

If you are downtown you might want to check out the putt-putt golf on the lawn of the temporarily closed-for-renovations art institute. Local architecture students designed the holes and it looked fun and different when I was there the weekend they were installing the course. I think that's at www.dia.org

Have fun!

Detroit
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6. Re: Things for kids to do in Detroit

If you want a true American experiance you should take your kids to a Detroit Tigers game. They are playing at home July 20, 21 and 22. You can go to www.tigers.com to look into tickets. Sundays are kids days at the ballpark, kids ride the merry-go-round and Ferris wheel for free and they also have face painting and the kids can run the bases after the game is played.

Detroit, Michigan
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7. Re: Things for kids to do in Detroit

Sarah - I agree about the Art Fair. Crazy-busy and HOT!!! I don't go anymore. When I lived in AA, I used to flee the city for those days.

And Toledo would be a good choice... and easy access from Taylor. There is also that brand new glass museum there that is on my list of things to do. My sister and her now-ex used to take the kids to COSI. It was a favorite.

That said, AA would still be a nice trip, especially if there is any kind of kid-related entertainment there during this time.

Livonia, MI
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8. Re: Things for kids to do in Detroit

As Addie mentioned Heritage park in Taylor is very nice and the petting farm is very inexpensive to visit. I don’t know if he is still there but there used to be a gigantic, and I do mean GIGANTIC, rabbit named Hercules there. My 8 year old still talks about him.

I also agree with Sarah regarding Ann Arbor during the Art Fair. Although I love Ann Arbor and the Art Fair I do not bring my daughter there because the crowds are so massive it makes me nervous trying to keep here near me. Also agree that COSI in Toledo is by far one of the best hands on museums around. We have gone there every year since my daughter was 2 and there is something for all ages there. She loves it!

I also agree with the Toledo zoo being better for smaller children since the exhibits are closer together than the Detroit zoo so their little legs don’t get as tired. This is not to say that older children and adults will be bored. It’s a great zoo. Both the zoo and COSI are easy to get to from Taylor. It’s a straight drive down Interstate 75 South. Just know that once you cross the Ohio border the speed limit drops. Apparently we like to drive fast in Michigan. Sarah I don’t know when the last time you went to the Toledo zoo but they have expanded a bit. They now have an African exhibit before you cross over the bridge to the main part of the zoo. It’s very nice.

For good hamburgers I would suggest Fuddruckers on Pardee Road in Taylor.

Regarding Niagara Falls, if you are staying on the Canadian side your kids will be in heaven. Yes it’s incredibly tacky and my husband and I referred to it as Kiddie Vegas but my daughter loved it there last summer. Have a good trip

doncaster UK
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9. Re: Things for kids to do in Detroit

Thanks guys

You have given us lots to think about. We have 3boys who are very active but we would like to see and do more than the hockey. Do any of the malls have inside playcentres? What is the weather like in July? We have a toddler with Cystic Fibrosis so will be taking a lot of medication with us and will need to get in away from the heat if it is very hot.

Really would love to go and see a Tigers game so hope we do not have much hockey over those 3days.

There is 12 kids with their parents in our team so I am thinking about getting all of your info together and emailing them all a list of stuff to do. I'm not sure if they all will have transport but at least I can tell them that the best idea is if they hire a car.

One other thing if we hire a car from Detroit can we take it through to Canada then be able to drop it off at Buffalo? I never thought but the car hire companies could be funny about us taking the car over the border.

another one is there any walmart kind of places around so we can stock up on baby food for the little one?

Sorry to ask so many question but still need help with eating out in Taylor!!

Becky

Detroit, Michigan
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10. Re: Things for kids to do in Detroit

Becky - a mom with three boys! Whew! Sorry to hear about the little one. Does he travel with a nebulizer?

Southland is quite large and I THINK there is an indoor playscape there. You can email them and ask. shopsouthlandcenter.com/html/contactus.asp

If you have a large group and everyone wants to go to a ball game at Comerica, you might be able to get a suite at the park. I don't know the cost, but that would be good especially with lots of children needing refuge and bathrooms, etc.

July will be hot and humid. Likely in the mid 80s F.

There is also a movie theater on Eureka Road - Star Taylor - maybe child friendly films will be playing while you are here. Again, getting out of the heat and keeping children busy.

Dining: Kilarney suggested Fuddruckers. Really good for kids. My limited experience with Taylor and the surrounding communities are that there are many chain restos that will be family friendly ie Olive Garden, Big Boy's. I would be willing to bet that the hotel can help you with that.

One local suggestion- transpo needed - The Rhapsody in nearby Southgate - not far from your hotel at all. It's a family-style place but serves really good Hungarian food. Not so fussy that the kids won't eat it, tho'.

RE: WalMart - you can check their web site for local locations. There is also a local chain called Meijer that might be located around there. www.meijer.com (just checked and there is one very close by- on Pardee Rd.) Meijers almost always have nice little food courts where you can get a bite to eat at one of their counters and sit down. Compulsive - there is a Walmart on Telegraph Road in Taylor. So you should be all set.

I'm glad that you brought up the subject of taking a rental car across into Canada. I don't know what the rules are; you should check with the car hire/rental place. Especially since you're not US or Canadian citizens. Also - picking up a car at one place and dropping it off at a different location can cost a little extra, so ask about that, too.

Post back with any more questions Becky.

AB

(fortunately for you, my business has slowed, so I have waaay too much time to respond and dig for answers!)