29 Outdoor Winter Fun Ideas for Greater Lansing Families

Hat – Check. Coat – check. Gloves – check. Fun – CHECK! There’s so much to do outdoors with kids during the winter in Michigan and we’ve got more than 29 things right here in Lansing!

I spent many winters in Lansing planning to move away because I couldn’t stand the winter. Finally, I decided to stop fighting and see Michigan the way Tim Allen’s voice makes it sound. This meant I would need to experience it all in person: ADVENTURING! After much gallivanting, I found 57 fun things to do in Lansing during the winter.

Many of our fun winter options include outdoor activities. Let’s celebrate our cold months by enjoying some of the best parts: snow and those shivery temps. The warm cocoa, rosy cheeks and worn out kids after all the playing are icing on the “winter cake-o’-fun”!

Here’s our list of 29 ideas to do outdoors this winter in Lansing:

birchfield-park-winter-in-lansing

29 Outdoor Winter Ideas to Enjoy With Your Family in the Lansing Area

We have no more need for kvetching about Lansing Winters. They come every year – and this year we have a plan! Use this bucket list and let’s see how many fun outdoor things we can check off our list before spring break.

Fun Activities Around Lansing to Enjoy During the Winter Season:

Hawk_Island_Park_Tubing_Hill

Tube down the snow hill or snowboard at Hawk Island and use their lift to get back up the hill. While you’re there, walk or hike the beautiful Riverwalk trails. A snack bar is also located on-site.

Birchfield-Park-Sledding-hill-Tubing

Sled at Birchfield Park on their two sledding hills. (One for littles and one for the more daring.) Cozy up by the two wood-burning fire pits and grab a cup of cocoa in their warming house.

Have tons of fun at Granger Park. All ages love their sledding hill, ice skating (call for time details), disk golf, dog park, walking/hiking trails, and playground (weather dependent).

Ski at Mt. Brighton. It’s so close and a really nice hill to ski.

Snowshoe or cross-country ski at Fitzgerald Park and Lincoln Brick Park. Rent or bring your own. You’ll be surprised how quiet and peaceful it is while also still quite a workout.

Go on a walk or hike. Many of these locations have paved areas that get plowed for winter adventurers.

woldumar-nature-center-lansing-in-the-winter

Explore a Nature Center. Visit the bunny and other animals at Fenner, learn about our area from Woldumar, go to an evening story walk with Ferris plus many more fun activities at each of these locations.

Fenner Nature Center  

Harris Nature Center

Howell Nature Center

Woldumar Nature Center

Grand Woods RC Track Parks Outdoor

Race at Grand Woods Park’s RC Car Track or go disk golfing in their trails along the Grand River. (Weather permitting)

Curwood Castle Owosso

Visit Curwood Castle in Owosso and walk the suspension bridge.

Potter Park Zoo Wonderland of Lights Kids Lansing

See the animals at  Potter Park Zoo . It’s pretty fun visiting the animals at this time of year. For many, it’s the season where they thrive. Plus, there are areas to go inside and get warm. Monday mornings from 9am – noon are FREE for City of Lansing and Ingham County residents!

Say hi and feed horses and animals at the MSU Barns. If the winter blues are catching up to you, this is a great place to gain some serenity and comfort. The horse barns are so calming. We like to pick up carrots from nearby Fresh Thyme for a doubly-fun outing.

Visit the dairy cows on MSU campus. 

beaumont-tower-winter-in-lansing

Climb to the top of MSU’s Beaumont Tower in a guided tour every Tuesday from 12pm – 12:30. You may even get to play the Carillon located at the very top! This is an inside adventure, but it’s on our list because you have to walk to it to go inside. It’s tucked away in the center of a few buildings on MSU’s campus.

Play a game of soccer at Beacon Field in Ferris Park, Downtown Lansing and soon-to-be South Lansing location. (Weather permitting)

Ice Fish on Park Lake. If it’s not too cold out, play on the amazing three-story play structure.

kid-walking-on-msu-campus-winter-in-lansing

Visit a garden:

MSU Rivertrail and Gardens and Greenhouses

LCC Japanese Garden is one of Downtown Lansing’s best kept secrets. It’s a sweet little spot right in the heart of LCC downtown campus.

Hunter Park Community Garden Lansing

Hunter Park Greenhouse You’ll enjoy workshops, plant starts and more.

Cooley Law School Garden (Currently under renovations, but back soon!)

Try out High Ropes Courses in Howell. This is a part of the Howell Nature Center and it’s great for all ages.

brenke-fish-ladder-witner-in-lansing

Visit the Brenke Fish Ladder. Yes! Even in the winter! Especially in the winter…it’s really fun to see how the water moves through this structure during the colder months. Don’t forget to bundle up and wear proper footwear.

History Center Museum Kids Downtown Lansing

Walk around the big tree after you’ve toured and spent time in the Michigan Historical Center and Library. You can access this area on the second floor.

Munn Ice Arena MSU Ice Skating Kids Indoor Play Lansing

Try hockey and ice skating at Munn Ice Arena on MSU Campus and the Summit Sports and Ice Complex in Dimondale. This isn’t outdoors, but these wintry sports deserve to make our list.

winter in detroit

Bonus Winter Adventures Within an Hour Drive or Less

Here are some great places tested and proved to be great family outings in the winter. Just a quick drive and you’re on the way to a mini-getaway. These trips really help me to get through the winter with a positive outlook. It’s a wonder what a few hours away can do to boost winter morale.

kalamazoo-nature-center

Kalamazoo Nature Center: This place is AWESOME! There are many trails at their main branch and the nature center building is SO COOL with a lot of interactive activities for kids and adults. If you take a trip, let me know what you think.

belle-isle-winter-in-detroit

Belle Isle: Conservatory, Aquarium, Nature Center, and Lookout Points. I could gush all day about each place. It’s AWESOME! See sting rays, sea horses, exotic plants, forts in the nature center, playgrounds, trails, views of Downtown Detroit, and more.

kids-in-detroit-winter

Winter In Detroit: Walk downtown to see many interactive stops, shopping, pop-up restaurants, ice skating and more.

grand-rapids-with-kids-rosa-parks-circle

Ice Skate in Rosa Parks Circle in Grand Rapids and other fun activities throughout the winter season. (Look for real life Hungry Hungry Hippos on the ice!)

Catch the Man vs. Mountain Snow Run in Mt. Pleasant.

Make the Most of Winter in the Lansing Area

We’re constantly adding new winter family events to our calendar. Stay in the know with highlights and fun tidbits each week with our newsletter.

Hope to see you out there, Lansing!