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Communities in Lansing Have So Much to Offer Families
Greater Lansing is known for the State Capitol , Impression 5 , Michigan State University Campus , and maybe if you’ve been here a bit you could also know about Uncle John’s Cider Mill . These fun places are a blast, but they aren’t the only fun things you will find in Lansing.
We’ve found 36 things kids will love doing in our capital city. Do you have any more to add? Let us know in the comments!
01: Take a Tour to Fit Your Interests
Whether your a political junkie wanting to explore the capitol building or the Hall of Justice, a music lover wanting to climb the Beaumont Tower Carillon, Lansing offers many unique tours, many of which can be self-guided.
02: I5 is a High Five – We Love Impression 5 Science Museum
Impression 5 is one of the well known places in our area and for good reason. This hands-on learning museum has a nursing areas for mommas, snack/lunch areas, and rotating exhibits throughout the year. Hours of fun are awaiting you at I5.
Pro-tip: if you are a member at the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum, your membership will work at I5 during June 2019 and Novemeber 2019 as a part of their Cultural Exchange!
03: Insta-worthy Photo Spots Around Lansing
04: Follow Along with History at the Michigan History Center
The Michigan History Center & Museum makes for a great outing for kids of all ages. From favorite permanent exhibits to rotating ones, it’s sure to keep kids engaged. Also, the massive pine tree growing in the center is a sight to make any aged person gape in wonder. On Sundays, admission is FREE.
05: Uncle John’s Cider Mill has Pie, a Jumping Pillow and More
Want to be your kid’s hero? Stop by Uncle John’s Cider Mill for a slice of yummy from their pie barn and then let the kiddos loose on their giant inflatable jumping pillow (it’s free!) and surrounding play area.
06 – 09: Explore the Great Outdoors at a Lansing Area Nature Center
The Lansing area has not one, not two, but FOUR amazing nature centers that are family friendly. Whether it’s a festival at Fenner, kayaking at Woldumar, visiting the turtles at Harris, or unplugging when you play on the NatureScape at Howell, you can have a blast reveling in mid-Michigan beauty.
10: Eclectic Offerings at the REO Town Marketplace
Named for Ransom Eli Olds, the REO Town is the neighborhood just south of Downtown Lansing. The REO Town Marketplace houses different vendors (Vintage Junkies being a favorite). This indoor curated flea market makes for a fun afternoon of shopping. They also host family friendly events throughout the year like sewing and pour painting classes.
11: Be a Party Animal at Potter Park Zoo
There is nothing quite like celebrating a holiday or season when you visit Potter Park. Boo at the Zoo is safe, fun, and extremely interactive! Kids will receive candy and tchotchkes at each station. Cider and donuts are available. Wonderland of Lights in December is fantastic. Enjoy the zoo in one of the most wonderful times of the year.
12: Nosh on Fresh Food Year Round at Allen Neighborhood Farmer’s Market
The Allen Neighborhood Farmer’s Market is a great way to see Lansing’s communities at work. Stop by for local artisans and delicious fresh produce, plus when the months turn cold, the market simply moves indoors, so you can still visit even when most other markets have closed for the season.
13: Hawk Island is a Smash in Every Season
In the the warmer weather kids love to cool off in the splash pad or take a dip in the lake. When the snow is covering the ground they have a fantastic tubing hill. Along with paved trails for exploring and many other fun perks, it’s easy to make a day (or two) of it. One the best parts of this park is their Storywalk, where you get to read and interact with a story along the path. In the fall the park hosts the Capitol City Dragon Boats Race which is a spectacle to behold!
14: Discover a Secret Garden at Frances Park
One of Lansing’s best kept secrets is right in the middle of the city. Frances Park is nestled along the banks of the Grand River and features a formal rose garden. The paved walking trails are stroller friendly and photo ops are abundant.
15: Spot an Eagle’s Nest at Crego Park
Visit Crego Park, one of the latest extensions of the Lansing River Trail, and see if you can spy any bald eagles in their natural habitat.
16: Explore Downtown Lansing by Water
Take to the Grand River in kayaks or canoes rented from Rivertown Adventures (if you want to stay off the water they also offer bicycles rentals). Spend just an hour or a whole big adventure on Lansing’s downtown riverfront.
17: DeWitt is a Delight
DeWitt is home to the popular Riverside Park. It is handicap accessible and has three sections of fun nestled by the river where you can launch your canoe or kayak. Walk just up the street to great food like Bridge Street Social , Looking Glass Brewing Company , Sweetie-licious , Crafted Bean Coffee and more. They also have our family favorite: Scoopy Doos , a great nostalgic ice cream spot reminiscent of adventures on the beach.
18: Marvel at the Ledges of Fitzgerald Park
There’s a reason why the town is called Grand Ledge. These natural formations along the Grand River make for excellent exploring. Fitzgerald Park is also has a fish ladder, nature center, playgrounds, and disc golf.
19: Get Your Ice-Cream and Petting Zoo Kick at Moo-Ville
When you visit Moo-ville in Nashville, not only do you get to have some tasty ice cream you can also visit with the farm animals in the free petting zoo as well as so much more!
20: MSU’s Incredible Camps has Things for Little Kids, Too
There are so many fun aspects to explore around the campus (not to mention events they host like the Science Festival). You can go on a walk in the gardens , check out the museums and collection of art , or shop and eat on the Grand River strip.
21: Shop, Bowl, and Have a Treat at the MSU Union
22: Express Yourself at Broad Art Museum
The first Saturday of each month is Family Day at the Eli & Edyth Broad Museum at MSU. Each month has a different theme reflected in the free activities for all ages to participate.
23: Find Forgotten Treasure at the MSU Surplus Store
The Surplus Store on the Michigan State campus is where student’s forgotten belongings go to die… actually, it’s better: it’s where they go to be recycled. You’ll find bikes, cool chairs, clothes, and all sorts of items.
New items are available like discounted diapers and more! They also have “bins” days where you can pay by the pound.
24: Root, Root for the Home Team at Cooley Law School Stadium
Have a die-hard Whitecaps fan? Hit the road too so you can cheer them on at the Cooley Law School Stadium when the go up against the Lansing Lugnuts. For the soccer fans, you can watch the GRFC take on the Lansing Ignite.
25: Catch a Flick on the Capitol Lawn
Movies in the Park happen all over the Greater Lansing area during the summer. The Capitol Lawn typically hosts their movies in August, but other communities in the area also host these wonderful events, a great way to cap off a day in Lansing.
26: Must see Performances at the Wharton Center
There’s something for everyone and it’s an experience sure to inspire no matter what show you see when you visit the Wharton Center.
27: Go on a Culinary Adventure at Joe’s Gizzard City
Visit the famous Joe’s Gizzard City in Potterville for their house specialty: chicken gizzards! Don’t worry they also have a menu full of other tasty things and have even been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, & Dives.
28: Find Foodie Heaven at Horrocks
Grab a free coffee, sample their in-house made popcorn, peruse the produce, walk their bulk isle, grab some sushi, and stop by the wine bar.
Or grab a kombucha in the dairy/cold section and visit the butcher. Stop by the pub and warm your hands by the wood burning fireplace or sit out on the patio and chat with your little minis.
Fill up an olive oil jar with your favorite flavor, grab a bunch of flowers in their flower shop, grab a treat for your pet, and walk the greenhouses as you stock for the gardening season.
Don’t forget to listen for the piano player tucked away near the front entrance. Horrocks really does have it all!
29: Putt Like a Pro at Little Hawk Mini Golf
As one of only three of real grass putt-putt courses in Michigan, the Little Hawk Putting Course will be a hit with golfers of all ages and skill.
30: Climb Granger Hill
Found in the Granger Meadows Park, this 70 foot hill makes for a fun hike in the summer and in the winter has THREE different slopes to sled down.
31: Enjoy Winter Wonderland at Burchfield Park
Rent tubes for $2 a piece and ride down the hill as many times as you wish at Burchfield Park! Stoked warming stations are at each hill and the snack bar is inside a round cool little building. If there isn’t snow on the ground this park is still a treat to visit with it’s many amenities.
32: Dive into History at Moores Park Pool
33: Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
Be a Tourist in Your Own Town is one of the coolest events Lansing has to offer families. Stop by any of their noted locations to grab your $1.00 (yes– only $1.00!) passport.
You’ll then be able to visit and tour all of the places on the list, such as ride in a vintage car around the city, head to the bug house on campus, see the chalk walk in Old Town and so much more! This annual event is typically held in early June.
34: Captial City Film Fest is a Smash
This annual event held in April, is always a highlight. They offer children’s events, performances, and film options. Our family looks forward to this every year.
35: Art Blossoms Each Spring at the East Lansing Art Festival
The East Lansing Art Festival in May brings the whole city out from our winter hibernation. Immerse the whole family in art, music, and the kids favorite: The Children’s Area . Here you will find dance workshops, arts and crafts, a magic show, and more!
36: Chalk the Walk
Each June the Broad Art Museum hosts the Drawing Festival and families will encounter dancers, human posed mannequins dressed in costumes, large canvases, geared to inspire your own piece.
Our kids used chalk on the sidewalk and added color to the large community canvases.
But Wait There’s More…
Still not convinced that Lansing makes for a great nearby adventure? This list of 47 Things to in Lansing (from our awesome sister site LansingFamilyFun) should do the trick. The best part is, they are all FREE! How wild is that?
Moving or Visiting Lansing? We Can Help
Capital city folks enjoy welcoming communities. Lansing is a great city to find a place where you fit in and make lasting friendships. Community is one of the biggest reasons my family chose to live here.
If you want to visit or are moving our way, the Greater Lansing area is a fantastic kid friendly choice . Stop by Lansing Family Fun to find great ideas for play in our area.
Been to Lansing before? Our team loves feedback on which places families like most. What do you like to do while you’re in here?