Spend Spring Break in Lansing: 21 Legit Exciting Adventures!

LCC Japanese Gardens Spring Break feature

Spring Break Ideas for Lansing Area Families: FREE Ideas & Staycation Vibes + One-tank Getaways!

Are you sticking around the Lansing area this Spring Break?

Staying close to home doesn’t mean you can’t do something exciting for Spring Break! There are so many fun ideas your kids will love in the Lansing area that we don’t always have time to do in our daily routines. Spring Break in Lansing is the perfect time to plan a “visit.”

Even though you’re not going on a mega trip, the next time someone asks, “Do you have big plans for Spring Break?” you can say, “YES! Right here in Lansing!”


Below you’ll find a list of FREE + more ideas for the week along with short trip destinations worth the drive and packed with fun for your entire family.

BONUS:  If you decide to take a last-minute trip, we have some great suggestions that will ensure you have a fantastic Spring Break.

Oh – and check the calendar to see TOP events happening this month!

FREE Spring Break Ideas

If you’re planning a Spring Break staycation but don’t want to break the bank, these ideas are FREE while also being things your family will love.

Some of our family’s best quality time memories have been made at these places.

Visit the MSU Horticultural Gardens + Campus

The MSU Horticultural Gardens are a must visit each year as our city starts blooming back to life. It’s absolutely breathtaking! After-all, MSU Campus is known for its beautiful campus!

Hemmed throughout MSU’s campus you’ll find gardens galore and each one is unique enough on its own to warrant a trip to each! As you play, be sure to make time for the MSU Children’s Garden as it’s geared toward interaction and free play.

**Note: Outside of Covid19 times, you’d usually be able to make a stop in the Butterfly Gardens, but this year it will be mostly virtual. But you can catch the butterflies in person for ONE day, April 30th!

boy_in_MSU_japanese_garden things to do outside
The Japanese Garden, part of the MSU Horticultural Gardens

Yes, we will all miss seeing the butterflies in person this year (keep reading to find where you CAN see butterflies this year), but they are not the only reason to visit the gardens.

From the outdoor gardens and arboretum, the walking trails and architectural design of the buildings, to the bustle of Downtown East Lansing – MSU Campus is the perfect start to your Spring Break Itinerary.

MSU Horticultural Gardens
MSU Children’s Gardens

Address: 1066 Bogue St, East Lansing, MI 48824
Lewis Landscape Arboretum

Address: East Lansing, MI 48824
(located directly across the street on Service Dr. from the Children’s Gardens)
W.J. Beal Botanical Garden

Address: W. Circle Drive, East Lansing, MI 48824
(located directly behind the IM Circle Building and runs along the river walk.)

REACH Art Studio

REACH Art Studio
Address: 1804 S. Washington Ave, Lansing, MI 48910

Take an art (Pottery, Painting etc.) class at REACH Art Studio. Creating at REACH is guaranteed fun because of the kind staff, knowledgable teachers, and sweet atmosphere.

Walk-in Wednesdays are FREE but require registration. Or, try their Clay Programs (handbuilding for youngers, wheel for 12+) and Fashion Fiber Fusion (ages 9-18). Adult Stitch and Print too!

Feed and Visit the MSU Horse Barns

MSU Horse Barns
Address: 3327 Collins Rd, Lansing, MI 48910

The barns and bathroom are closed at this time but visitors are welcome to walk around and say hello to the horses. Hanging out with the horses is so peaceful. No matter how many bags of carrots and apples we bring it seems like never enough. The horses just love it! And so do we.


Plan to Attend the MSU Science Festival

MSU Science Festival is offering both IN-PERSON and VIRTUAL events this year and runs April 1st – 30th. In years past there is so much to do it’s hard to comprehend, so using the calendar to plan is key.

MSU Science Festival
In-person and Virtual for 2022

MSU Science Festival (1) (1)

Visit Four Nature Centers

You could play a full day at one of Lansing’s nature centers. You’ll see the natural beauty in our area by playing and exploring on the grounds and discovering animals and reptiles in the welcome centers.

Harris has an amazing treehouse, Woldumar has some of the best hiking trails plus natural playground, Fenner has a natural wonderland play area created by visitors and you can join in by adding to it, and Howell is known for its wading creek and more.

Pack a picnic, bring a change of clothes just in case, and plan for an epic day in nature.

Woldumar Nature Center
Address: 5739 Old Lansing Rd, Lansing, MI 48917
Harris Nature Center
Address: 3998 Van Atta Rd, Okemos, MI 48864
Fenner Nature Center
Address: 2020 E Mt Hope Ave, Lansing, MI 48910
Howell Nature Center
Address: 1005 Triangle Lake Rd, Howell, MI 48843

Lansing’s Best Parks and Playgrounds

Pick the best Lansing parks to visit on the big list of playgrounds in our area.

Parks may be a little slushy at this point in the year but still so much fun if you wear the right footwear. So, grab some rain or winter boots, layer up in case you get hot, and make a bucket list of parks to visit during Spring Break!


Take a Tour

The Michigan State Capitol Building is holding tours. Read about the 5 ways you can tour the Capitol.
Address: 100 N Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933
Michigan Hall of Justice (guided or self-guided)
Address: 925 W Ottawa St, Lansing, MI 48915
Beaumont Tower – walk the long spiral staircase up to see the carillon being played. Kids are fascinated by the huge bells and castle-like architecture. Reservations are needed.
Address: 375 W Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

LCC has a sculpture walking tour. It’s pretty great because you not only get to see art but you experience the fun of Downtown Lansing as well.

Stop to feed the ducks on the river and feed the fish in the Japanese Gardens. This trip is packed full of adventure and a sure-shot fun time out and about.


Go on the Mural Crawl. There’s SO MUCH ART in our city! Find it all in one day or take time throughout the week to check these pieces off your art bucket list.

You can use the mural map to guide you.

One of Below the Stacks Mural Festival Pieces located in Old Town

Hike, Bike, and Walk

When people think of Lansing, they usually focus on the Capitol, and that’s wonderful. But I like to think that Lansing is also known for so much more, one being hiking trails and paved paths. There are so many and we have something so special in them – most trails connect to each other.

You could potentially plan a special bike ride around the entire Greater Lansing area just by the paved trails! It’s pretty fantastic, really.

You can make a hiking/biking/or walk plan with this guide: Lansing Area Trails and Paths.

Lansing River Trail Downtown Kids Walking Brenke Fish Ladder

Visit Animals

Potter Park Zoo
Address: 1301 S Pennsylvania Ave, Lansing, MI 48912

Potter Park Zoo offers FREE admission for all Ingham County residents on Mondays from open till noon.

Plus, here are 17 reasons to not just visit the zoo any day of Spring Break but experience it.

potter park zoo, zoo, camel, camel ride, kids at zoo
Preuss Pets
Address: 1127 N Cedar St, Lansing, MI 48906

Preuss Pets is a local gem! Take a trip to feed their koi fish in the indoor or outdoor pond, hear the parrots talk and the birds sing, plus visit all of the other animals, creatures, and fish.

This is a guaranteed Spring Break highlight right here!


Go Disk Golfing

Disk golfing is so fun for the entire family and Lansing’s got the courses for it.

Read: Three Perfect Reasons Why Your Family Needs to Play Disc Golf (aka Frisbee Golf.) 


Visit the MSU Broad Museum

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at MSU
Address: 547 E Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

The Broad is open with FREE ticketed entry and welcomes kids! Read: Why you’ll love visiting the MSU Broad Art Museum with kids.

*Note that some options are not available right now during Covid19. Check with the MSU Broad if you’re hoping for something in particular.

Even a walk on campus to see the grounds is worth it. Stop for lunch across the street at many local restaurants and shops.


Explore Greater Lansing Districts

That’s right, we have pockets of art and adventure all around town now that can’t wait for you to explore.

Old Town Downtown Lansing Arts Council
Old Town Lansing

More Things to Do During Spring Break in Lansing

There’s more to add to your Spring Break plans!

Based on what your family enjoys doing, these options can help you make a sure-shot plan.

Some Indoor Options are Available

Use the Indoor Play Guide find to find options like jumping parks, gymnastics, roller skating, library events, and more. *Note that some places may not be open or have restrictions based on Covid19 procedures.

Launch Lansing has a Spring Break Special too!

Springz Lansing Kids Jumping Indoor Air Conditioning
Zap Zone Trampoline Park

Date Night or Friend’s Night Out!

Go on a date with your sweetheart or get out for a friend’s night out. These include ideas like music, food, chill vibes, active exploration and more!

Lansing Date Night Ideas

Visit a Museum

There are enough museums around here to fill up your entire week with fun! Culture, learning, art and creating, exploring, and a whole bunch of other opportunities await.

**Museums NOT currently open: The Broad Art Lab

MSU Broad Art Museum

Play at Adventure Centers

Experience High Caliber Karting and Entertainment. Throw Axes, go-kart, and more.

FunTyme Aventures is opening for Spring! Head here for putt-putt golf and batting cages and have a – you guessed it – fun time!

Go on a Unique-treat Taste Tour

Gear your taste buds up for hand-rolled ice cream and bubble tea at Unicha in EL, flavored popcorn at Cravings and Horrocks, pan dulce at Don Panchos, donuts (gluten-free and vegan options) at Groovy Donuts .


Spring Break “One-Tank” Getaway Trips Close By and Worth the Drive!

Spring Break mini road trips can be really fun, doable, and take minimal planning.

Packing light in few bags makes a day trip with kids pretty smooth. Along with sleeping in the car, being prepared with drawing kits, books, and a couple of small toys can be immensely helpful when we head out of town.

As day trips are concerned, we are so lucky to live in the Lansing area! We are right in the center of Michigan making fun getaway spots easy in any direction. Or as LFF team member, Sarah, puts it – “one-tank” getaway options.

Top Spring Break “One-Tank” Getaway Destinations:

Indoor Waterparks

So, we aren’t at the ocean taking in the heat and sun? No worries, there’s a water park for that:

Mt Pleasant Soaring Eagle Indoor PlayWater Park

Spring Break in Grand Rapids

Plan a visit to Grand Rapids. GRKIDS has an amazing spring break guide for families. You’ll find things to do that suit your family’s needs.

Just a 45 min to 1 hour drive from Lansing.

Ah-Nab-Awen Park
The Frederik Meijer Gardens

Address: 1000 East Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

The Frederik Meijer Gardens is the perfect day trip getaway option. Just 1 hour west you’ll find this garden oasis. Their Butterflies are Blooming exhibit will be running until the end of April which means right through most spring break weeks.

Did you know they have the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation!? So special!

Frederik Meijer Gardens
Frederik Meijer Butterfly Garden
The John Ball Zoo
Address: 1300 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

The John Ball Zoo opens back up just in time for Spring Break and starts out with a bang with a new traveling exhibit. A trip to JBZ is a win win for families.

John Ball Zoo

Spring Break in Kalamazoo

We love Kalamazoo and KZOOKIDS has an Ultimate Spring Break planner that will guide your family through great options for itinerary.

Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Address: 230 N Rose St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

My family personally loves visiting the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. It’s FREE to the public and a great indoor destination during Spring Break. 1 hour drive from Lansing. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10 to noon, and 1:30-3:30, so plan accordingly.

Bonus: Just “next door” in Battle Creek is the Kingman Museum and is newly FREE to the public as well!

kalamazoo Valley Museum
Kalamazoo Valley Museum

Spring Break in Detroit

Living just One hour and 30 mins from Detroit is such a gift! It makes visiting easy.

Belle Isle is free to the public and their Conservatory, Aquarium, and Nature Center are a blast for both the kids and parents. *Note: be sure to check before you visit to make sure your specific choice is open on the day you visit.

Watching the sunset over Downtown Detroit from Belle Isle

Plus, check out other things happening around the waterfront and Campus Martius for guaranteed fun during the week.

You can also plan a trip with this Detroit trip review from Melody over at GRKIDS. You’ll find info on murals, the Outdoor Adventure Center (a personal fav!), shopping Eastern Market, biking the D’Quinder Cut, food and more!

Outdoor Adventure Center Detroit
Outdoor Adventure Center Downtown Detroit

Spring Break in Chicago

Yes, a visit to Chicago is a one-tank trip! I kind of forget that sometimes.

Take in the sites, play at Millennium Park, check out Shedd Aquarium and other museums, shop the Magnificent Mile, and visit Navy Pier and more.

If you plan to do it all, the City Pass is a great option to save money and skip having to stand in lines. Also, Chicagokids is a great place to start if you’re wanting family tips and ideas.

Millennium Park Downtown Chicago

Go to the Beach

Last but NOT least – get to the beach! We can tend to forget that the beach isn’t just for the summer months.

North, south, east or west we’ve got some pretty amazing options for spring break fun – 50+ beaches actually! So, pack up some gear, bring a coat, and take in the fresh air! It may not be 80 degrees but it will be just as magical.

Lake Michigan

What are your Plans for Spring Break this year?!

Whether you choose to have a staycation or go on a getaway – have an awesome Spring Break, friends! Have fun and let us know which your family ends up loving by commenting below or tagging us on Instagram.

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