Photo by Incredible Mo's
Matinee at the State Theatre
- Remember the last time a movie cost a quarter? Neither do we—until Traverse City’s State Theatre started the brilliant tradition of offering matinee movies for 25 cents twice a week, inspired by the cost of a single ticket back when the State originally opened in 1916. The Wendesday flicks are always silver screen classics, and the Saturday movies are geared toward kids and young families: Shrek, for example, or The Mighty Ducks. We just love the idea of treating the whole gang to a trip to the movies—on nothing but pocket change. While we’d named this a number one rainy day activity for kids in Traverse City, a movie at the state is good any time you want to get out of the Northern Michigan sun.
Great Lakes Children’s Museum
- This enchanting Traverse City kids’ museum mixes entertainment, hands-on activities and education to make the science of the Great Lakes watershed come alive. Kids will love racing boats, making waves at the water table, even captain a freighter. And in a novel twist on Traverse City rainy day kids’ activities they can “become” a raindrop in the water cycle exhibit. even captaining a freighter. Other highlights include make-and-take crafts, a cool “living river” exhibit and the Toddler Beach area, which offers age-appropriate books and toys for kids under age three. Admission is $6 and children under age two are free.
- Wear ’em out at this emporium of Traverse City fun and grab a bite to eat at Sauce Pizza & Pasta afterwards. With activities like free kids bowling, lazer tag, a playroom, and an arcade—a great rainy day play date is a given here.
Great Wolf Lodge
- You don’t have to have sunshine to enjoy the water—and you don’t have to be staying at the Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City to enjoy the indoor water park. With rides and slides, for parents and kids of all ages, there is something for everyone to enjoy at the water park. Pack the whole family into a tube and try out the River Canyon Run, or ride solo down the Alberta Falls slide. Take the toddlers over to the Cub Paw pool where they can explore the spray-and-play features in the safe waters that only reach a depth of 1’6″.
- This 12,000 square-foot arcade has more than enough activities to bust through inevitable rainy day boredom. Laser tag, bumper cars, billards tables, bowling, plus pizza, the kids will be entertained during your rainy day. Pub Grub available (including craft beers and wine) to keep Mom and Dad happy while kids play.
- Chances are, your kids were begging to go here as soon as you passed it on US31 on your way into Traverse City. And while this really isn’t the place to go when the Traverse City skies open up with booming thunder and lightning, gray, damp days pair perfectly with the two 18-hole mini golf courses, go-carts, zip-lines, a ropes course, bumper boats and “water coaster” with a 50-foot drop.
Handz on Art
- This paint-your-own-pottery studio in Traverse City Warehouse District is a laid-back way to spend a rainy afternoon. Challenge your kids to paint a favorite memory from your Northern Michigan vacation and watch them create an instant keepsake. A great place for Mom and Dad, or even Grandma and Grandpa, to bring the kids on a rainy day in Traverse City.
Dennos Museum Discovery Gallery
- On the long list of reasons to love Traverse City’s top-notch art museum, the Dennos, is the permanent gallery featuring hands-on art and science installations aimed specifically at kids. Highlights include a laser harp, which plays via invisible strings, an interactive sound wall, and the Hubble Space Telescope Theatre, featuring ongoing transmissions of programming from NASA.