Here’s Your Day Trip That’s Worth The Winter Drive
Animals, Museums and Michigan State Await!
Have you ever been so hungry, that when you finally do get around to feeding yourself, absolutely nothing sounds appetizing enough to actually eat? Every January, I experience a similar paradox: I want to get out of the house with the kiddos, but nothing I brainstorm seems worth the effort of actually leaving the house.
This is when I know I really need to shake things up, and what better to way do so than by a complete change of scene? Thankfully, Lansing is only an hour away and offers oodles of kid and family friend family destinations to get me out of an outing rut.
Not All Animals in Lansing Hibernate
Animal lovers take note: you don’t have to countdown to spring to go and visit the animals of Potter Park Zoo. PPZ stays open year round and you can see how red pandas, snow leopards, arctic foxes, and amur tigers frolic in the snow. The Wolf Woods and Backyard Gardens make for excellent nature play in the outdoors and then you can warm up inside the Feline & Primate House or the Bird & Reptile House.
An added bonus to visiting during the winter season is that parking is free! If you are a member at John Ball Zoo, you gain free admission to Potter Park Zoo.
Want to visit even more animals? Before heading back west, make a stop in Old Town Lansing and drop into Preuss Pets. More than a pet store, Preuss Pets prides itself on being a community hub for animal lovers. While you are there you can feed the koi, gaze through aquariums, and even spy hedgehogs.
Winter is the Perfect Time to Visit Impression 5 Science Museum
Impression 5 is the place to play when you are in downtown Lansing with kids. This hands-on science museum is sure to spark the creativity and curiosity in young and old alike. Since this place doesn’t have air conditioning in summertime, a winter visit is perfect for kids!
With permanent exhibits such as FLOW (a massive multi-story exploration of all things water), Spectrum (lights, shadows, and the most massive lite-brite wall), and Throwing Things (learn about kinetic energy with trebuchets, bottle rockets, and paper airplanes).
I5 typically also has a traveling exhibit on the lower level in Feldman Science Hall, so be sure to check out their website to know what the latest exhibit is.
Visit the Massive Pine Tree and More at Michigan History Center
Just a few blocks away, past the Capitol Building, you can find the Michigan History Center. From the massive pine growing in its central plaza to a specially designed kids area to the easy to follow one way route through the exhibits, both kids and parents are sure to learn something new.
Go Right Through for MSU! – Family Days at Broad Art Museum, Dinosaurs at MSU Museum and ICE CREAM
The campus of Michigan State University isn’t just for students, but is a hub of community activity and offers many family friendly areas of exploration.
Start with the Dairy Store in the MSU Union and you can treat yourself to a scoop of ice cream crafted from the milk produced at the DCTRC. Explore the rest of the Union where you can pose with Sparty and get in some frames at the Spartan Lanes Bowling.
The MSU Broad is an art museum nestled on the north side of campus. Family Days are hosted on the first Saturday of every month, and you can also check out storytimes on weekdays. The learning lounges are always open for hands-on activities related to the exhibits. The best part – admission to this museum is always free!
Keep exploring the campus with a short walk over to the MSU Museum, which features the Habitat Hall housing dinosaur skeletons and other fossils, Heritage Hall with it’s recreated fur trapper cabin, turn of the century general store, and a printing shop. You can also catch their latest exhibit, Science on a Sphere which enables you to explore the planets like you’re on the comms deck of a ship out of Star Wars.
Lansing is Creating a Sensory-Friendly Destination for Families
One of the best things about visiting Lansing is knowing how committed the city is to provide these tremendous experiences for all who visit.
Over the past year, the Lansing has worked with Residential Options, Inc., Michigan State University and the Mid-Michigan Autism Association to make all these places and many more in the Lansing area to be a sensory-friendly destination for all families.
You can easily tailor visits based on your family’s needs, and many attractions are equipped with tool-kits as well as staff specially trained for providing support to those with neuro sensitivities.
What are your places to visit when you are in Lansing? Let us know in the comments!