Designed for kids, these local spots are both educational and fun, come rain or shine. From 25-cent matinees and hands-on art activities to laser tag and learning about Great Lakes ecology, there’re plenty of things to do with kids in Traverse City.
710 U.S. 31 N., Traverse City | 231.938.9599
Take the kids because they’re aching to go, but don’t forget to have some fun yourself. With two 18-hole mini golf courses (voted best in Michigan by AAA), go-carts, a zip line, ropes course and full arcade, the whole family will be smiling. (Also located in Petoskey and Houghton Lake.)
1701 E. Front St., Traverse City | 231.995.1055
A solid bet for kids of all ages, this permanent gallery at Dennos puts a focus on both the arts and sciences. Highlights include the Laser Harp, Anti-Gravity Mirror, Sound Wall (an interactive sculpture that creates music when you touch it), and the Hubble Space Telescope Theater, which features an ongoing transmission from NASA.
13240 S. West Bay Shore Dr., Traverse City | 231.932.4526
A captivating rainy-day spot to take young kids, this hands-on venue is equal parts entertainment and education. Children learn all about the magnificent Great Lakes watershed as they pilot freighters, become raindrops in the water cycle, and splash around in the “water table”—a free-flowing water installation that’s the museum’s most popular exhibit. All-day admission is $7; kids under 1 are free.
1705 S. Garfield Ave., Traverse City | 231.946.2610
A great rainy-day destination, Lucky Jack’s is the largest indoor spot for family fun in Northern Michigan. Choose from laser tag, 8 billiard tables, 33 lanes of bowling, bumper cars, or the 12,000-square-foot arcade. Classic pub grub and pizza for when you’re ready to recharge.
233 E. Front St., Traverse City | 231.947.4800
Other than a day at a public beach, there’s no cheaper way to entertain the kids than a Saturday morning matinee at the historic State Theatre. A 10 a.m. show will set you back just 25 cents a person—the same price the theatre charged when it first opened as The Lyric back in 1916 (25 cents would equal $5.20 in today’s dollars, fyi.). View the film schedule online.
144 Hall St., Traverse City | 231.941.5071
A paint-your-own pottery studio that’s the perfect outlet for the little artist in the family—not to mention a chance to bring home a memento of the trip Up North for Grandma and Grandpa.
1355 Silver Lake Crossing Blvd., Grawn | 231.944.1355
Laser tag, bowling—fun for the entire family. After they play, fill ‘em up with pasta and pizza at adjoining Sauce restaurant.
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144 Hall Street, Suite 102 (The Warehouse MRKT), Traverse City | 231.421.8440
Build your own terrarium! No appointment is necessary and the staff will answer any questions you have. Choose your pot from the store’s selection or bring your own. There are lots of fun things to include like mini dinosaurs, stones and, of course, cool plants.
221 Garland St., Suite 1, Traverse City | 231.421.9279