It’s no secret there are endless things to do outdoors in Northern Michigan, but the age-old question is: what do you do with kids if it rains? Here are nine fun answers to what to do with kids on a rainy day in Traverse City.

1. State Theatre/Bijou by the Bay

Follow the scent of tasty (and reasonably priced!) popcorn and take in a flick at the State Theatre or the Bijou. Both are always showing current movies that will be sure to generate a great discussion after the curtains close. On Saturday mornings the State offers 25 cent matinees just for the kids!

2. Take an Art Class or Paint some Pottery! 

Sign up for a class at Blackbird Arts! They have a variety of workshops that will teach anything from enameling to how to make your own pet dish; the topics are always changing! Plus there are opportunities for family bonding time during the “Family Arts Nights.”   Or paint some pottery at Handz on Art in the Warehouse District where you can create your own masterpiece from plates to mugs and everything in between.

3. Touch a Tarantula

Take the nature lovers to the G.T. Butterfly House and Bug Zoo to spend a few hours spotting flying butterflies, watching honeybees make honey and checking out some spiders on the “Tarantula Tree.” (Note that the G.T. Butterfly House and Bug Zoo opens Mid May. Check out the schedule here).

4. Head to the Y

Hit some tennis balls, go swimming in the pool or take a Zumba class! The YMCA now offers three locations in Grand Traverse County, and has a plethora of fun activities for all age groups.

5. DIY Fun

A simple but great activity is building a one-of-a-kind DIY terrarium at the Darling Botanical Co. in the Warehouse District. An activity like this is perfect for kids that are a little older and have the patience to create their own terrarium. Choose a container, then select some items to go in the container; from plastic creatures and plants to natural materials like moss, soil, pebbles, bark… and then let your imagination run wild! After you’ve created a masterpiece head next door to BLK MRKT for a tasty homemade treat.

6. Lunch at Little Fleet

At the end of April when Little Fleet is open for the season, choose a sampling of food from the trucks parked in the lot. Will you have sushi? tacos? a sandwich? Try a little bit of everything and then snag a spot at one of the tables inside the adjoining building and watch the rain fall. (Note that the Little Fleet food trucks open in May, but offer a “Limited Time Only” pop-up series during the fall and winter.)  Click here to see where to find them!

7. Read, read, read!

Reading is a classic rainy day activity. Check out Horizon Books in downtown Traverse City to purchase a few books and then grab a snack from the coffee spot upstairs and head to the basement area to read your new finds. If you don’t feel like dropping any money, the library is another great place to get some reading in on a rainy day.

8. Go Sailing

Check out the latest exhibit at the Great Lakes Children Museum, “Let’s Go Sailing” that offers a hands-on sailing experience.

9. Play Some Games

Incredible Mo’s offers lots of activities for kids that are stuck inside. Spend an afternoon bowling, playing laser tag, trying out arcade games and more!

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Photo(s) by Dani Knoph