Lansing’s “Be a Tourist in Your Own Town” – Insider’s Guide for families with Kids

A Parent’s Guide to Lansing’s “Be A Tourist in Your Own Town”

We rock, Lansing! Prepping for our families day out at Be a Tourist in Your Own Town (BATYOT) I couldn’t help but be so proud of Lansing. Look at what we’ve done together – most of the places participating are local businesses. Local residents have created and local residents have supported this growing event.

Date: June 1, 2019, from 10 am – 5 pm.

If you haven’t been to Be a Tourist in Your Own Town – BATYOT, it’s an event where you get to experience over 100 Greater Lansing locations with a $1 passport (3 and under are FREE.) You’ll definitely want to get your family out for this fantastic community event.

Jump to find…

Say Hello to Your $1 Staycation

It’s been exciting to see our city to-do-list getting buzz around our state. The Greater Lansing Visitors Bureau has done a fabulous job of coordinating The 25th Annual Be a Tourist In Your Own Town.  This event puts Lansing on the map, gets businesses noticed, and gives the community a $1 staycation. 

Families can’t wait to get their passport stamped over and over at #BATYOT2019. But first – where to go first and what’s kid-friendly!?


How to do a Kid-Friendly “Be a Tourist In Your Own Town”

First, you’ll want to purchase your passports ahead of time (before June 1st.) They are available now at these locations. You can absolutely purchase passports the day of (I’ve done this many times in past years.) Getting your passport early means being able to head straight to whichever destination is first on your families list. Afterall, we have a 7-hour window to cram as many the 100 + choices as we can, right?!

*Note: You must show your passport at each location. See your passport for times, addresses, and additional offers.

Second, use our guide to find out which places your family will love best, then plan your route with the map in your passport.

Read on for a list of activities and events geared toward families. We’ve categorized everything family friendly so you can personalized route creating a great day out at Be a Tourist in Your Own Town!

Let’s get started:


Crafts, Activities, and Creative Projects for Kids at “Be a Tourist In Your Own Town”

Find stops where your kids can create and get hands-on with their imaginations:

Absolute Gallery – “really cool” kids project.

Al!ve: Your Community Well-Being Place – Crafts

ALT Printing Co. – Learn the screen printing process and print/make your own print to take home!

Art Lab (MSU Broad) – create buttons, magnets, and more

CADL Downtown Lansing – Face painting and balloon animals 12-3PM.

CeLTA Language School – Activities, games, music, arts and crafts. (MSU Venue)

Downtown East Lansing – Music, free caricaturist drawing, and face painting.

Downtown Lansing – Balloon Twisting by a clown (Grand Traverse Pie Company.)

EagleMonk Pub & Brewery – Coloring pages and sodas for kids.

Elderly Instruments – Instrument petting zoo plus a FREE Kazoo.

Eli & Edyth Broad Art Museum – Family Day and activities. (MSU Venue)

Fenner Nature Center – Hands-on exhibits and activities.

Grand Ledge Jaycee Park – free kids activities, music in the park and more. (525 E. River St. Grand Ledge, MI)

Lansing Art Gallery – Self-guided activities.

Lansing Brewing Company – Kids activities, 20% off kids meals.

Lansing Grown Farmers Market – Kids get to plant a seed to take home. 1611 E. Kalamazoo St. Lansing.

Lansing Makers Network – Discover what laser cut freebies are and see all the fun tools.

Library of Michigan – Make a bookmark and enjoy kids activities.

Michigan Historic Center Outdoor Tree Play Museum Downtown Lansing

Michigan History Center – Crafts, activities, games, and more!

Nokomis Cultural Heritage Center – experience the culture, art, and language of the Odawa, Ojibwe, and Potawatomi people. 5153 Marsh Rd. Okemos.

Old Town Chalk of the Town – Activities, draw with chalk, music and see who wins the battle of the businesses during the people’s choice awards.

Potter Park Zoo – Do activities and crafts, see baby birds hatching, and live birds of prey.

REACH Art Studio – Engage in hands-on activities like the pottery wheel.

Reo Town Marketplace – Dr. Seuss’ Oh the Places You’ll Go – storytime time at 12 pm, 2 pm, and 4 pm.

R.J. Scheffel Toy Shop – Assemble your own wood car.

(Scene) Metrospace – Hands-on activities.

Woldumar Nature Center – Crafts in the visitor center.

Active Adventures at “Be a Tourist In Your Own Town”

Move-your-body choices perfect for kids of all ages:

Abrams Planetarium – See a 10 minute star talks. (MSU Venue)

Al!ve: Your Community Well-Being Place – (7 am – 5 pm) Kids play in Grow for FREE and climb the 36-ft Treehouse. Many FREE adult options like rock climbing, a cooking class at relish, yoga, basketball, and much more listed on their event page!

All Around the African World Museum & Resource Center – Drum Ceremony, dance with audience participation.

Beal Botanical Garden – See a presentation at 11 am and 2 pm. (MSU Venue)

Birchfield Park – FREE pedal boat ride and entrance to the park.

Bug House – Hold a tarantella and experience other live bugs and exhibits. (MSU Venue)

Capitol Cheer Legends – Try out tumbling, stunting, and hip hop.

Capital Region International Airport – Park for FREE and get a behind the scenes tour! See the inside of a plane cockpit, firetrucks, and more.

CATA Maintenance & Bus Facility – Ride and go through a bus wash.

Charlotte Aquatic Center – Swim for FREE.

City Limits Bowling Center – *Mason location – One free game a passport. $2 shoe rental and additional games.

Downtown East Lansing – Music, FREE caricaturist drawing and more.

Edru Skate A Rama – Skate for FREE. Plan to pay for your skate rental.

Funtyme Adventure Park – One FREE game of adventure golf.

Happendance, Inc. – drop-in for a creative movement and dance experience.


Harris Nature Center – visit the animals, climb, and explore.

Hope Sports Complex – Their family-friendly CLEATS Bar & Grill has a kids area and will have free youth t-shirts available while supplies last.

Impression 5 Science Center – FREE Admission to play and explore.

LCC TV & Radio – See how 89.7FM broadcasts to our city and record your own message.

Lansing Sailing Club – Go sailing for FREE.

Launch Lansing Trampoline Park – Enjoy for 2-hours with a buy-one-get-one free when you show your passport

Michigan Women’s Historical Center – Enjoy basketball themed activities.

Meridian HOMTV Studios – Pretend to be on tv and watch yourself on the blue-screen.

Michigan Princess – Ride on this big awesome boat! Boat rides every hour from 1-4.

Model T Rides Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

Model T Rides – Be chauffeured around downtown in a sweet Model T. Located in front of the Historic Center.

MSU Community Music School – Instrument petting zoo. (MSU Venue)

MSU Dairy Store – Eat all the delicious things!  (MSU Venue)

MSU Horticulture Gardens – Run and play in the gardens. Find the secret garden! (MSU Venue)

MSU Museum – Explore the dinosaurs bones, and more. (MSU Venue)

NCG – Watch Ferdinand for FREE. See passport for times.

Potter Park Zoo – FREE Admission to the zoo.


Preuss Pets – Do a scavenger hunt and feed the fish.

RA1 Basketball Range – Try out their shooting machines.

R.E. Olds Transportation Museum – Ride in a vintage car.

Rivertown Adventures – $5 for a  1/2 hour Kayak rental.

Royal Scot Golf and Bowl – Two FREE games per person during this open bowl!

Sigh Studio of Music – Take a free uke class at 1 pm, 2 pm, or 3 pm. Take an early childhood music class at 10 am, 11 am, and 4 pm.

Spare Time Entertainment Center – Get a game card on the house.

Zap Zone Lansing – Use your passport to get a buy-one-get-one free on any attraction.

Novelty and Sights “Be a Tourist In Your Own Town”

Get behind-the-scenes access to our community treasures, old and new, plus fun sights around town:

Allen Market Place – Take a tour or grab some great food.


Beaumont Tower – Tour this beautiful building right in the heart of MSU campus. Walk up the 73-steps, and have a chance to see the bells and the carillon. Tours at 11 am, 11:30 am, 1 pm, and 1:30 pm promptly! 375 W. Circle Drive, MSU. (prepare time to park and walk to location.) (MSU Venue)

Burgdorf’s Winery – Enjoy tastings, tour the winery + LEGO table and bubbles available for kids.

CATA Transportation Center – Check out the entertainment express trolley and take cool pictures.

Celebration! Cinema – See Smallfoot at 10 am, 12:30, and 3 pm with passport – seats are limited.

The Coffee Barrel – Take a roasting tour.

Cooley Gardens – Tour this beautiful historic garden in the heart of our city. (213 Malcom X St. Lansing)

The Costume Shop – see costumes and demonstrations of being costumed. (managed by the Riverwalk Theatre)

Curious Book Shop – explore their 3 floors including children’s books. 20 % off used books and free refreshments.

Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame – Tour the facility located in the Lansing Center.

Greater Lansing Potters’ Guild – Find out what’s fun at the Potters’ Guild by stopping by.

HOMTV Studios – See yourself on the blue screen and more!

Lansing Central Fire Station – Tour the station and museum.

LCC Sculpture Walk – You’ll find your map at LCC-TV and LCC-Radio. (419 N. Washington Ave.)

LCC Shigematsu Garden – Visit the beautiful Japanese Gardens on LCC campus.

Lansing Lugnuts/Cooley Law School Stadium – Head out on the field and take tour, see the Lansing Ignite with interactive games on the plaza, hear the Lansing Symphony Ochestra, eat snacks, and more!

Lansing Model Railroad Club – See this captivating world from their overhead walkway.

Be-a-tourist-in-your-own-town-Lansing State Journal Tours

Lansing State Journal – Tour their newsroom in Knapp’s Center building.

League of Enchantment – Look out for super heros throughout the streest during BATYOT.

Meridian Historical Village – See a revolutionary war re-enactment. (happening throughout the day)

Michigan School for the Blind – Tour the historic site where Stevie Wonder went to school.

Model T Rides – Be chauffeured around downtown in a sweet Model T. Located in front of the Historic Center.

NCG Eastwood Cinema – Free showing of Hotel Transylvania 3 at 10 am, 12:30 pm, and 3 pm. Limited seating available.

Chalk of the Town Kids Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

Old Town Chalk of the Town – Walk the streets to see Old Town businesses creations on the sidewalk.

Olds Forge Flyers – Check out their two planes.

Remembrance Memorial – Walk along the river and see the 10-foot “h-beam” retrieved from the World Trade Center” (Wentworth Park)

Spare Time Entertainment Center – FREE virtual reality or bumper cars.

State Capitol Building – Guided tours every half hour.

Turner Dodge House and Heritage Center – Take a tour.

Vietnam Veterans Monument – Take a stroll through downtown by the Justice Building to see this beautiful monument honoring Michigan citizens.

FREE Prizes & Discounts at “Be a Tourist In Your Own Town”

Everybody loves a freebie! Use this list to find who’s giving out what, where (Scoops Ice Cream, here I come!):

Rivertown Adventures Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

**BATYOT – Enter to win prizes. See passport for details on how to enter.

Al!ve: Your Community Well-Being Place – FREE rock wall climbing, spa demos, kids play FREE in the treehouse.

ALT Printing Co. – Print your own FREE poster.

Arcadia Smokehouse – June 1 – 2, 20% off your food and $0.99 Eastside Brewed samples for 21+.

Archives Book Shop – 20% off used items.

Book Burrow – Books cost around $.50 -$1 here. With their coupon for $.50, you’ll most likely leave with a free book. 11am – 5pm.

Coffee Barrel – Free drink with a purchase of coffee beans.

Curious Book Shop – FREE refreshments and 20% off all used purchases.

Eagle Monk – $2-off dine-in pizza.

Friedland Industries, Inc – Get a FREE prize and take pictures with their cool art sculptures out front.

Grand Ledge Visitors Center – Giveaways as supplies last.

Lansing Brewing Company – 20% off all kids meals.

Lansing Makers Network – Get a customized laser cut freebie and 10% discount off first month’s membership.

Launch Trampoline Park – Buy-on-get-one FREE

Michigrain – FREE kid-friendly drinks.

Midtown Brewing Company – 15% off your bill at this kid-friendly restaurant.

Peckham Farms – 10% off your purchase.

Reo Town Marketplace – A FREE bag will be given to the first 50 customers to spend $5.

Rivertown Adventures – $5 for a  1/2 hour Kayak rental.

Scoop’s Ice Cream, Old Town – FREE kids size scoop and food sample per passport. (MSU Dairy Store)

Van Atta’s Greenhouse & Flower Shop – FREE 4″ herb plant. Receive a $15 off coupon on site. (see passport for further details.

Zap Zone Lansing – Buy-one-get-one free for any attraction.

Potter Park Zoo Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

Pick Up Your BATYOT Passport At These Locations

Have you gotten your passports yet? Find them at these locations:

Greater Lansing Visitor Center–Lansing
Greater Lansing Visitor Center–East Lansing
CATA Transportation Center
Celebration! Cinema
Studio C!
Zap Zone
Potter Park Zoo
Preuss Pets
NCG Eastwood Cinema
Van Atta’s Greenhouse & Flower Shop
Impression 5 Science Center
AL!VE: Your Community Well-being Place
Lansing Art Gallery

On the day-of find them here also:

Information Stations in Old Town,
Michigan History Museum
MSU CATA Station (592 N Shaw Ln, East Lansing, MI 48824)

Checklist and Tips For “Be a Tourist In Your Own Town”

Model T Rides Car Historic Center Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

Pack Snacks and water.

We’ll be burning calories with all the walking. Stay hydrated and eat some snacks along the way to prevent being “hangry.” I know this all too well. Snacks help lower stress when navigating crowd traffic jams.

Plan ahead for lunch.

Packing a picnic or stopping at one of the great places listed in the passport? Either way, remember it can be very packed and busy. Planning ahead for when we’ll be hungry can help a lot.

Stroller or baby carrier.

You’ll be hands-free and walk-ready if you’ve got your stroller and baby carrier in tow. When engaging in crafts or activities being hands-free is a game changer. Our go-to city plan is always a backpack and a banana stroller with a pouch. Boom – ready to play!


Long fun days in the city and sun tend to make time get away from us. Setting alarms to re-apply sunscreen can also help us remember to take more water breaks.

Group Travel

Take the stress out of packed environments by remembering that everyone travels at their own pace. Our big family knows this well. We have a few fast walkers and a few stragglers. Keeping in communication and setting rendezvous points is key. This helps everyone experience the same route without pressure.

Be a Tourist in Your Own Town Feature Image

Will You Be A Tourist In Your Own Town?

Does your family have a venue you would like to recommend to others during “Be a Tourist In Your Own Town”?

Van Atta's Greenhoues FREE Herbs Be a Tourist in Your Own Town

Let us know and we will spread the word. One of my favorites each year is Van Attas Greenhouses in Haslett. The herbs we received with each passport last year kept my food tasting great all summer long!

Have fun Lansing, maybe we will see you out there!

3 thoughts on “Lansing’s “Be a Tourist in Your Own Town” – Insider’s Guide for families with Kids”

  1. This is SO helpful! The little packet always overwhelms me, so your breakdown made it way easier to plan what we’re going to do. 🙂 Thanks for taking the time!

    1. That is so wonderful Lauren! Thank YOU for taking the time to let us know it helped. Let me know how your day ends up with the new plan? I just made my list too and excited to get more in this year. =) – Carla

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