We recently took advantage of an IHG Points Break hotel stay for only 5,000 points per night at the Farmington Hill, Michigan Holiday Inn Express. This made for a perfect opportunity to spend a short weekend away as a family and take in some of the activities within the region. While we initially planned this trip to maybe do one or two things, we ended up finding 4 Great Activities with Kids in Detroit plus have a list of many more places to go in the future.
First up was the Detroit Zoo. It had been a number of years, 2011 to be exact, since our family made the pilgrimage up to this zoo. While I recall fond memories of the animals encounters at the Detroit Zoo, we were also excited to finally get up there since we knew the new food service manager who has been creating great, fresh new meal options at the park.
We visited on a chilly Saturday morning, and after bundling up for our visit, found the park nearly empty. With so few guests in the park, it provided the perfect opportunity for the kids to take their time throughout the exhibits.
While I remember the polar bear/sea lion exhibit being my favorite in the past, this visit allowed us to see the new Penguin Center. The exhibit allowed up close encounters with the penguins, as well as undersea views. Also be sure to pay attention in the walkway down to the lower level, as the experience is “chilling.”
We also had the opportunity to try some of the food at the Arctic Cafe. The cafeteria style restaurant offered a wide variety of freshly made food options that really step up the game of quality. Guests can enjoy everything from freshly made-to-order salads, secret recipe hand breaded chicken tenders, and our personal favorite, the custom crafted mac and cheese, which was amazing!
Outdoor Adventure Center
When looking for things to do around Detroit, one place that struck our fancy was the Outdoor Adventure Center in downtown Detroit. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources bought an old warehouse, and after an extensive remodel, brought the outdoors in. The building is packed full of fun activities for families to experience, which is especially helpful during the winter months.
The idea being to show the guest the many activities one could do outdoors in the state of Michigan. Guests can experience what it is like to sleep in a yurt, see and try your hand at the many different types of fishing, climb a multi-story tree and explore the canopy, walk behind a two-story waterfall, touch the many furs of animals in the region, and even ride virtual snowmobiles and four-wheelers.
What was even better was the Outdoor Adventure Center is spectacularly affordable. Our $19 family visit provided a couple hours of fun for the boys and interesting exhibits for the parents.
We need to get one of these back in Ohio!
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
For several years we have been hankering to visit Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum up in Farmington Hill, Michigan. The museum was said to be packed with intricate details that would spike the curiosity of the littlest minds. However, as our lives got busier, Marvin’s fell off our radar.
As we were driving to our hotel in Farmington Hills, we just so happen to drive past a shopping center and see this strange neon sign in between the buildings, and it was so out-of-place, it sparked our interest. As we peered closer into the sun-drenched horizon, we realized what we were looking at for the first time. We were staying across the street from the amazing Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum.
I felt like a kid in a candy factory, as the sight of Marvin’s meant we were finally going to experience this masterpiece of mechanical history. While we did not plan this adventure, we soon learned why is must have been destiny to make this pilgrimage to Farmington Hills.
Marvin has collected the most magnificent, historical mechanical machines on the planet. As amusement and theme park bloggers for the CPFoodBlog.com, we often see various attempts at mechanical machines, but they never quite live up to the experience. Cedar Point, for example, has a whole museum full of several old mechanical machines, but none of them work, and the magic is lost.
That is where Marvin’s is simply marvelous! All of his machines work! The museum is free to get in, and everything works off of quarters. Normally I am not much of an arcade money swallowing connoisseur, but Marvin’s could gladly empty my wallet.
Every square inch from floor to ceiling had amazing, historical things to look at from carnival banners to old amusement park props. The museum was simply amazing! Over the years Marvin had collected some of the most amazing old mechanical machines known to exist. However, what gets even better was that if Marvin could not find what we wanted, he had it custom made. Simply fantastic!
I was SOOOOOO glad to have experienced Marvin’s with my family, and it was probably the highlight of the trip! I could spend hours inside Marvin’s looking over all of the old artifacts. Marvin’s is the prize jewel of Detroit!
Henry Ford Museum
Our family loves historical villages like Williamsburg, and often finds ourselves up at the Greenfield Village, part of the Henry Ford complex in Deerborn, Michigan. However, it is less often that we go into the Henry Ford Museum. So before wrapping up our trip and heading home, we decided to make a day of it at another museum.
The Henry Ford Museum is quite different from when I was a kid on our many family outings to the museum. Today the Henry Ford Museum is packed full of kids activities and exhibits throughout the facility. What used to be rows of machinery and historical technology over the decades is now an information driven experience to help drive curiosity in kids minds.
The most notable change I noticed was the classic car collection. As a kid I remember it being just rows and rows of vehicles, which I always had an interest in, but my little legs just could not take…another…step. Today the cars have been rearranged in multi-level platforms and a more user-driven experience to tell the historical past of the cars we love today.
Of course a visit to the Henry Ford Museum would not be complete without a picture with the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile and a trip to the hot dog diner next door.
While we originally booked our Points Break hotel stay for a quick and relaxing getaway, our family trip to Detroit was packed full of some amazing activities that really gave us a fun weekend together!
The Farmington Hill, Michigan Holiday Inn Express was also a great, new hotel that was ideally located within an easy drive to all of our above activities.
The Holiday Inn Express had a really good free breakfast that had some of the best sausage gravy and biscuits I had ever eaten at a hotel.
The staff was exceptional and friendly!
The room was large and reminiscent of our favorite hotel, the Hotel Indigo we stay in next to Disneyland.
Of course we could not go without mentioning the pool, which is a critical to a fun stay for our family.