Dow Gardens | @jenniferrussell1105
Find All-New
Adventures in Nature

Climbing your way through an aerial ropes course or soaring four stories high in the trees: there's no limit to the fun your family will have!


Explore 110 acres of floral beauty — including an award-winning Children's Garden — and the Whiting Forest Canopy Walk, four stories high! Discover Spruce Arm tree-supported cargo nets and the Orchard Arm glass-floored overlook — plus a giant, nature-inspired playground the kids can enjoy for hours!

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Venture out into 1,200 acres of awesome! Go hands-on in the Ecosystem Gallery; see a Native American wigwam, one-room Log Schoolhouse, and working Sugarhouse; and “time travel” back to the 1870s log cabin Homestead Farm to meet friendly farm animals, May to November, for free!

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Take to the trees together as a family! Rock ropes courses and ziplines galore, and cheer one another on through multi-skill leveled challenges, made for ages seven and up. (Try Glow Nights or Twilight Climbs to skip the mid-day heat!)

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Grandpa Tiny's Farm | @x_stina
Have Hands-On Fun At
Zoos + Farms

Help feed the chickens on a Centennial Farm, pet an adorable pygmy goat, or see the African penguins swim — and enjoy each up-close encounter with the animals!


Go wild observing more than 150 animals and be one of the 67,000 people who ride the hand-carved carousel each season — and the 75,000 who take a spin on the iconic miniature train. Toot toot!

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Birch Run

Prepare yourself for this 56-acre park with primates, zebras, lions, reptiles, and parrots (complete with a petting area). Meet more than 200 animals and make your kiddos’ whole day!

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Tour this working Centennial Farm while pulled by tractor! See the one-room schoolhouse along with lavender and sunflower fields — then pet all the cuddly farm animals, from lambs to bunnies!

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Bavarian Belle Riverboat | @brettmartinphotos
Climb Aboard These
Boats + Bikes

With boats the entire family can board and bikes you can pedal at your own pace together, every last one in the bunch will love these outings!

Boat Tours in Frankenmuth | @michiganaddicts

Johnny Panther Quests Adventure Trips (Saginaw) Spot wildlife galore on this family adventure through the 10,000-acre Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge! Board a custom, shallow-draft boat and glide through the wilderness with a one-of-a-kind local guide.

(Bay City) Feel the wind in your hair and watch your little ones' eyes sparkle aboard a majestic tall ship, the Appledore. Choose between Great Lakes 101 or Sunset Sails, Matey!

Frankenmuth FunShips
(Frankenmuth) Board an electric boat for a 1-hour Wine & Chocolate River Tour. Big kids sample wines, little kids sip sparkling grape juice, and the whole family wins! Or, rent Aqua Cycles here for pedal-powered water play for families of up to four.

Bavarian Belle Riverboat
(Frankenmuth) Cruise aboard a paddlewheel beauty, the Bavarian Belle Riverboat. Kids will love the ride (and the refreshments available), big kids will appreciate the narrated tour.

PedAle Trolley Circle Cruiser (Frankenmuth) Take to the streets of Downtown Frankenmuth! Ride as one, and work together as a team, on this four- to six-passenger custom bike that your entire crew will love.

Ray's Bike Shop
(Midland) Go “two-wheeling” together! Rent trusted rides and hit the open road — and the Pere Marquette Rail Trail!

Jack's Bicycle Shop
(Bay City) Rent individual bikes or tandems to pedal the Bay City Area Riverwalk/RailTrail for ever-changing scenery (think countryside wildflowers to views along a waterfront boardwalk).

Spray by the Bay
Play All Day At
Sandy Beaches + Splash Pads

Get ready for sunny f-u-n when you cool off with a dip in the water or get doused by geysers and giant dumping buckets!

Bay City State Park | @shineonsunfish

Bay City State Park (Bay City) Enjoy a scenic mile of Saginaw Bay shoreline, sandy swimming beach, boat launch, and picnic areas — and the 2,000-acre Tobico Marsh wetland preserve with walking trails, wildlife viewing, and two four-story observation towers. Race ya to the top!

William H. Haithco Recreation Area
(Saginaw) Hit the beach and make it a day full of playground fun, volleyball in the sand, tossing horseshoes, and renting your choice of paddleboat, rowboat, canoe, or kayak!

Frankenmuth Jaycee Spray Park
(Frankenmuth) Practice counting to 18 together, because this zero-depth water play area has 18 different fountains, sprays, and geysers — completely accessible for all ages and abilities and completely cool for family fun!

Spray by the Bay Spray Park
(Bay City) Giggle and play, whoop it up with water, and rest on provided lawn chairs. You’re right alongside Play by the Bay Playscape, a wooden wonderland with tire swings and climbing nets!

Celebration Square Splash Park (Saginaw) Play for “ages” in filtered-water, zero-depth splash sections! Enjoy Discovery Bay with misters for toddlers, Adventure Bay with showers and dumping buckets for children, and Action Bay with Spray Cannon water soakers and large Ground Geysers fun!

Longview Spray Park (Midland) Get wet, wild, and feel wonderful! Be ready for belly laughs by the buckets, and water spouts, at Longview Spray Park!

Gerstacker Spray Park (Midland) Splash by the iconic Tridge (that's also an entrance to the Pere Marquette Rail Trail). Watch the kids in the waterspouts? No way! This place is for the young and the young-at-heart!

Dutch Village Adventure Park | @dutchvillageadventurepark
Gear Up for Some
Family Game Time

Mini-golf, go-karts, and an afternoon at the ballgame? You'll be all-in for good times on these family outings!

Alpine Mountain | @jylensmom

Kokomo's Family Fun Center (Saginaw) Get a hole-in-one and then ride a roller coaster, race go-karts, run through laser tag, and play arcade games... all in one family-friendly place!

Alpine Mountain
(Birch Run) Choose between two 18-hole mini-golf courses — or play both! Challenge the fam to bank-shot basketball, race go-karts and bumper boats, and indulge in ice cream!

Dutch Village Adventure Park
(Bay City) Have a ball playing mini-golf and riding bumper boats! Swing hard in the batting cages, and heads up: this place has a slick track for super fast go-kart fun!

Buoy 18 Miniature Golf & Ice Cream
(Bay City) Create forever memories on the green or while playing games together in the arcade, and have fun choosing your ice cream: regular, sugar-free, vegan, or gluten-free?

Great Lakes Loons Baseball
(Midland) Buy peanuts & Cracker Jack, or brats & beer — from 24 concession options on site — and take your family out to the ballgame! With stadium seating for 5,200, Adirondack chairs, and grass a’plenty, watch the High-A Minor League Great Lakes Loons play ball! Be sure to visit the on-site playground, Northern Lights Pavilion, and the two-story Loon Loft gift store on your way out!

Jen W. O'Deay

Jen is a Saginaw native and owner of Feel These Words, an independent copywriting studio & home to the free "5 Day Website MiniBoost". Jen specializes in writing that connects, delivered through website copy, branded content articles, and WingWoman writing services. You'll find Jen camping with her family, laughing, and at