Zoos + Farms

Get up close with 150+ animals at the Saginaw Children’s Zoo before taking a spin on the hand-carved carousel and iconic miniature train!

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Birch Run

Encounter the Reptile Sanctuary and Rainforest Experience at Wilderness Trails Zoo, home to 200+ exotic animals!

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Step back in time at Grandpa Tiny’s Heritage Farm. Pet (and even help feed) the animals, tour the one-room schoolhouse, and learn about life on the farm!

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Buoy 18 | @shineonsunfish

Tours + Experiences

For hand-dipped cones to piled-high sundaes, follow your taste buds on an Ice Cream Tour to dozens of our favorite local creameries & scoop shops!

With beautifully carved carriages and friendly horses, cruise through flower-lined streets of Little Bavaria with Fantasy Carriage Company or Frankenmuth Carriage Company.

Take a family ride through Frankenmuth with Golden Ticket Trolley Tours! The big red trolley’s name is “Lucy,” the playlist is kid-friendly, and kiddos can ring the bell and choose a treat at the end of the route!

Outdoors + Nature

Wander through colorful blooms at Dow Gardens, including an award-winning Children’s Garden — and don’t miss the canopy walk that soars 40 feet high through the trees!

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Zoom through an aerial obstacle course of ziplines, ladders, and rope bridges at Frankenmuth Aerial Park — sharing high-fives along the way!

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Discover family fun and natural wonders at Chippewa Nature Center. Spend time together on 19 miles of trails and explore a Nature Discovery Area.

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BaySail | @baysailbaycity

Family Boat Tours

Prepare for a magical experience aboard BaySail’s Appledore Tall Ships. Set sail by day on Great Lakes 101 trips, or board for Sunset Sails on Saginaw Bay.

Book a guided tour with Johnny Panther Quests Adventure Trips, and be able to say your family boated through the “Everglades of Michigan”!

Nothing says summer quite like a cruise with Bay City Boat Lines! Float a Saginaw River Guided Tour for a relaxing boat ride and the chance to see a lighthouse.

Relax aboard kid-friendly Frankenmuth FunShips and be guided along the Cass River, learning tidbits about Frankenmuth as you go.

All aboard the Bavarian Belle Riverboat! Tour Frankenmuth from the water, and see iconic sights of Little Bavaria from the canopied upper deck.

Buoy 18 | @frommichiganwithlove

Outdoor Mini-Golf + More

Enjoy a fun-filled afternoon at Buoy 18, with a mini-golf course that overlooks a bustling marina.

Get a hole-in-one, race go-karts, play arcade games, run through laser tag — it’s all about fun at Fun Way Amusement Park! Hit the batting cages, rock bumper boats, and have a blast.

Choose between two mini-golf courses at Alpine Mountain! Jump into bumper boats and go-karts and enjoy arcade games and ice cream.

Putt-putt your way around a rushing waterfall at Dutch Village Adventure Park, then swing at a bucket of balls in the batting cages!

Spend a day at the ballpark and get your family photo taken with mascot Lou E. Loon at a Great Lakes Loons Minor League Baseball game!

Bay City State Park | @frommichiganwithlove

Beaches + Splash Pads

Soak it up at Spray by the Bay splash park inside Bay City State Park! Enjoy the sandy swimming beach and play area, too!

Find sun-drenched fun at the splash pad inside Haithco Recreation Area! Enjoy this park with a lake, beach, and fishing access — and rent paddleboats, rowboats, canoes, or kayaks.

Beat the heat together at Celebration Square Splash Park! Let toddlers get their feet wet in water misters, or whoop it up with big kids at geysers and water soakers.

Spend time in Frankenmuth Jaycee Spray Park’s fountains and water features. Pack a lunch — there’s plenty of shade and picnic areas for snacks between soakings!

Splash around at Longview Spray Park, and enjoy a day under the spray — and dumping buckets and waterspouts activated by movement!

Right near The Tridge and Pere Marquette Rail Trail, splash your way through waterspouts and dumping buckets at Gerstacker Spray Park.


Make s’mores and summer memories at Bay City State Park, with a swimming beach, splash park, and playscape! Or, camp out with Yogi Bear at Frankenmuth Jellystone Park Camp-Resort to enjoy a playground, indoor & outdoor pool, game room, and outdoor mini-golf!

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Indoor Waterparks

Experience two waterparks in one — each with a retractable roof — inside Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark! Enjoy a six-story Family Raft Ride, tube slides, and an outdoor pool!

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Enjoy four indoor pools, two waterslides, indoor mini-golf, and 170+ arcade games when you make forever family memories at Bavarian Inn Lodge!

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Valley Lanes | @shineonsunfish

Indoor Family Fun Zones

Bowl for strikes at Stardust, then enjoy 60+ arcade games, four escape rooms, two-story laser tag, and indoor bumper cars.

Head to Valley Lanes Family Entertainment Center for bowling, indoor mini-golf, an arcade, a laser maze, bumper cars, and two escape rooms.

Drop into retro gaming fun at Crazy Quarters Arcade! Packed with pinball machines and classic arcade games, play Skee-Ball, Pac-Man, and more.

Try your hand at pinball machines and arcade games at Brinstar — then snack on specialty burgers and fresh-cut fries.

Let the kids burn some energy at The Playground! Adults are invited to kick back with a latte while kids have a ball at this indoor play palace.

Flip, fly, and soar to new heights on wall-to-wall trampolines at Airborne Adventure Park — and enjoy your family “hang-time” in the air!

Watch your family (literally) find your way through the Ultimate Mirror Maze, and check out The Vault Laser Beam Challenge.

Experience River Place Game Room for 40+ arcade games, and earn prizes that make perfect souvenirs!

Antique Toy and Firehouse Museum | @frommichiganwithlove

Museums + More

See the largest collection of motorized fire trucks in the world at the Antique Toy and Firehouse Museum — and snap a family photo with the FDNY Super Pumper!

Designed for children (but “big kids” have bonus fun), discover Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum for a playhouse of interactive galleries!

Transport your family into the cosmos at Delta College Planetarium — and visit the gift shop for out-of-this-world souvenirs.

Become inventors at Spark!Lab® Smithsonian inside Midland Center for the Arts and work as a team in this hands-on learning lab.

Arts + Entertainment

Craft a family keepsake together at Painterly Pottery, a paint-your-own pottery studio, or get creative at the Glaze Bar inside Space Studios.

Enjoy a self-service art experience — instructions and supplies provided — at the Craft Bar inside Studio 23/The Arts Center!

From Midland Center for the Arts to The Dow Event Center and The Temple Theatre — treat the family to live entertainment all summer long!

Joyful Tantrum | @joyfultantrum

Kids' Shopping

Hit the arcade, shop for souvenirs, and sample fudge to gourmet cupcakes at Frankenmuth River Place Shops!

Explore seven gift shops stocked with unique toys, candy, and souvenirs at Bavarian Inn Castle Shops — and follow your noses to fresh treats from the bakery!

With Gap Kids to Go! Games & Toys, discover more than 100 stores at Birch Run Premium Outlets!

Shop gifts, goodies, and nostalgic candies at Happy Go Lucky, find kites to wooden toys at Toyberg, or wander into Joyful Tantrum to experience “a toy store, unplugged.”

Celebrate Christmas in July (or any time of year!) at the world’s largest Christmas store, Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland.


Light up the night at the Bay City Fireworks Festival, one of the largest in the Midwest, or enjoy elephant ears and midway rides at the Bay, Midland, or Saginaw County Fair! Join in at Chalk Walk Art Festival, where families can create chalk art while enjoying kids’ activities, or find your way to Funtown Chowdown Food Truck Festival for heaps of family fun!

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Jen W. O'Deay + Go Great Lakes Bay

By: Jen W. O'Deay | Updates: Go Great Lakes Bay | 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 feelthesewords.com