Museums have come a long way. The days of big, stuffy places with velvet ropes and whispered voices are long gone and have been replaced with vibrant, interactive spaces.
You don’t have to cross state lines to find over a dozen Michigan museums where families can learn and play together. We’ve also included a map to plan your next hands-on, learning adventure.
01 – Air Zoo
6151 Portage Rd, Portage, MI 49002
The Air Zoo is a world-class, Smithsonian-affiliated aerospace and science museum featuring over 100 historic aircraft. Families will love the hands-on science exhibits, indoor amusement park-style rides and full-motion flight simulators.
The Air Zoo offers FREE admission to kids four and under and includes a Kids’ Corner for its youngest visitors to play.
02 – Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum
220 E Ann St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Any hands-on museum has our attention. Through interactive activities, children can learn about the human body, weather, Michigan nature, traffic lights, and magnets at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. We love the designated area for children under four.
03 – Call of the Wild Museum
850 S Wisconsin Ave, Gaylord, MI 49735
If your kids love learning about animals, you will want to head to Gaylord. The Call of the Wild Museum has over 60 displays of North American Animals in re-creations of their natural habitats. They also offer a wildlife theater and hands-on discovery room.
04 – Curious Kids’ Museum
415 Lake Blvd, St. Joseph, MI 49085
Make sure to carve a bit of time out of your visit to St. Joseph for a stop to Curious Kids’ Museum. This children’s museum has a number of fantastic pretend play exhibits including a veterinarian clinic, an apple orchard, and a farm. Families will also enjoy the lighted pegboard and weather station in the kids’ space.
We love the “What If” exhibit: What if you couldn’t walk, hear, or see? Try navigating in a wheelchair or using sign language. This exhibit gives first-hand insight into many common physical challenges.
05 – Michigan Science Center
5020 John R St, Detroit, MI 48202
The Michigan Science Center is one to check off the bucket list before your kids grow up! Psst, it’s also ultra fun for adults too. They have a mini replica of the Mackinac Bridge you can walk over, an Apollo trainer ship to climb into, and a plethora of hands-on interactive portions of their space. Plus, it’s located in the heart of Downtown Detroit so making a day trip or long weekend out of it would be the icing on the cake!
If you’re up for the fun, try Belle Isle or splash in the waterfront splash pad, ride the carousel, see the art, and visit the Easter Market just to name a few.
06 – Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone
333 Broad St, St. Joseph, MI 49085
The Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone is just down the road from the Curious Kids’ Museum (joint admission tickets are available). Children can interact with a water power tower, climb a lighthouse, rock wall, or play outside on a boat and train. Make sure to try the Whisper Dishes to see how far your whisper voice travels!
After concluding your museum visit, be sure to take a spin on the Silver Beach Carousel before heading home.
07 – Forever Curious Children’s Museum
202 E Main St, Fennville, MI 49408
Popular features at the Forever Curious Children’s Museum include a toddler area with playhouse, tool and shopping areas, nature area, bubble table, medical clinic and vet clinic. Kids will also enjoy the rock wall and inner tube bouncer.
08 – Grand Rapids Children’s Museum
11 Sheldon Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
The Grand Rapid’s Children’s Museum is packed with fun and innovative exhibits. Families will enjoy “Little Grand Rapids,” complete with a Meijer (don’t forget to take a ride on Sandy). Toddlers have their own spot here in Wee Discover, complete with rainbow ball sorter and play kitchen.
The bubble station is worth the stop: kids will love making giant bubbles with different wands and creating one large enough to stand inside.
09 – Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation & Greenfield Village
20900 Oakwood Blvd, Dearborn, MI 48124
Detroit is known for cars, and the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation has no shortage of them. Beyond vehicles, this museum offers a staggering amount of historical artifacts and collections. Families can also visit a large civil rights exhibit which includes the Rosa Parks bus.
Adjacent to the museum is Greenfield Village, created in 1929 as an educational and historical village. Here you can see the original light bulb, an old working farm, and artisans practicing their trades from years past. Some historical pieces have moved here from overseas; Cotswold Cottage relocated to Greenfield Village from the Cotswold Hills in southwest England.
10 – Impression 5 Science Center
200 Museum Dr, Lansing MI 48933
Impression 5 Science Center is a children’s museum designed to give kids of all ages a truly hands-on approach to learning using all five senses.
Exhibits that you won’t want to miss include Building Zone, Throwing Things, Flow Water Experience, and Michigan Nature area where you can explore the different natural environments of our state.
11 – Kalamazoo Valley Museum
230 N Rose St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007
Centrally located in downtown Kalamazoo and with FREE admission, a visit to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum includes hands-on stations featuring geography, mathematics, history and other disciplines.
The Burton Henry Upjohn Children’s Landscape is a fun children’s area featuring books, puzzles, puppet stations and a coloring station. The KVM also boasts a fantastic planetarium with a full schedule of shows featuring history, science and fun holiday themes (nominal fee applies).
12 – Kids ‘N’ Stuff Museum
301 S Superior St, Albion, MI 49224
Kids ‘N’ Stuff Museum is aimed at engaging their youngest guests with pretend play: be a vet, actor, grocery shopper, or banker during your visit. Other popular exhibits include a water table, art room, and air room.
They offer a free day on the fourth Thursday of every month (free admission for guests and extended hours). This children’s museum is best for ages 18 months through kindergarten.
13 – Kingman Museum
175 Limit St, Battle Creek, MI 49037
At Kingman Museum the family can explore wonders of space, natural history, world cultures, and science at this official NASA Space Place location. Open on weekends, the museum offers FREE admission.
While visiting, make sure to check out a Planetarium show (nominal fee applies).
14 – Michigan Maritime Museum
260 Dyckman Ave, South Haven, MI 49090
Learn the history of ships on the Great Lakes at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven. This harborside museum spans five buildings and includes rotating exhibits and hands-on stations.
Visitors enjoy free museum admission when you purchase a ride on any of their boat excursions. For kids four and older, we recommend the Pirate Chaser Sail.
15 – Sandcastles Children’s Museum
129 E Ludington Ave, Ludington, MI 49341
From its first exhibit opening in 2007, the Sandcastles Children’s Museum now offers over thirty interactive exhibits for families. Some of our favorites include the climbing wall, LudRock Sound Stage, USS Badger replica PlayShip, and Building Foundations (heavy construction play). Infants and toddlers will have a ball here too in their pirate-themed Discovery Zone.
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