Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Winter Fun for Kids in Ann Arbor

Winter Fun for Kids in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor living has plenty to offer even during the winter. With the end of February comes one more week of vacation for many Ann Arbor kids before the spring season. To help you and your kids stay entertained during these wintry days, the Piperpartners Real Estate Team has come up with some places to go throughout Ann Arbor.

Exploration of Science, Art, and History 

At the Matthaei Botanical Gardens, located at the northeast side of Ann Arbor, visitors can walk, snow shoe, or cross country ski through the outdoor gardens and trails to see and breathe in the aroma of the conifers. Take a tour of the conservatory to explore the indoor gardens and tropical and desert biomes where plants such as the power puff tree and Q-tip plant are currently blooming. In addition to tours, Matthai Botanical Gardens offers classes and events throughout the year to kids and adults. Outdoor gardens are open seven days a week, sunrise to sunset. Matthaei Botanical Conservatory, Garden Store, and Lobby are open seven days a week, 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., except for Wednesdays which is open from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.

The Hands on Museum offers over 250 exhibits for families to explore. These stimulating exhibits offer knowledge on science, math, and technology. The Hands on Museum also offers family fun nights and workshops for kids of all ages. Touching everything is highly encouraged! The museum is open Mondays and Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Tuesdays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sundays 12 – 5p.m.

University of Michigan Museum of Natural History exhibits artifacts, fossils, environmental displays, and a planetarium that inspire an appreciation of our natural world and all living species in it.  These exhibits include dinosaurs and other prehistoric life, Michigan wildlife, anthropology, geology, astronomy, biology, and tribal artifacts. The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Sunday 12-5 p.m. Admission is free to individuals and groups of 10 or less.

Bring color to your grey and white winter day at the Ann Arbor Art Center! This downtown locale offers art education to the public through exhibitions, art classes, workshops, and camps. People age five and up, and will all skill levels, will get to communicate their creativity, become in awe over their new problem-solving techniques, and leave the center as confident artists. The art center is open to the public from Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., and Sundays 12 – 5 p.m.  

Bouncing off the Walls is Encouraged Here!

Spend a day in the west or south sides of Ann Arbor letting your kids roam the jungle of Jungle Java or bounce endlessly off the walls of Jump City. Check the websites for dates and times.

At Jungle Java parents are free to join their kids among the ropes, tubes, and slides, or watch them from a recliner with a hot cup of java. Free wireless access is available. Parents are also invited to bounce with their kids during pop-n-play family bounce at Jump City.

Exercise your Athleticism throughout Ann Arbor

Huron Hills and Veterans Park make for great sledding hills for all ages. At Huron Hills, there are various levels of hills for sledding and beginning snowboarders that will bring everyone to giggles and giddiness.  You can also get a good exercise from cross country skiing or snow shoeing by the Huron river.

As mentioned earlier Veterans Park offers a sledding hill, and an indoor ice rink. Other ice rinks in Ann Arbor include Ann Arbor Ice Cube, Yost Ice Arena, and Buhr Park’s outdoor rink where skaters can watch the snow fall.

(Kids having fun during swim practice at Mack Pool)
Swimming is an all year around activity in Ann Arbor thanks to the Ann Arbor YMCA, Mack Pool, and the Meri Lou Murray Recreational Center on Washtenaw.  Drop-in for a day, or sign up for lessons or a competitive swim club. All ages and skill levels are welcome. 

Planet Rock has drop-in climbs available for those 14 years of age and older. For those under 14, Planet Rock offers programs for kids to learn about safety and technical skills, and develop a lifelong love for climbing.

A Change of Scenery

If you need to get out of the home for just for a few hours, then the Ann Arbor District Library, Briarwood Mall, and local movie theaters may be the places to go.

The Ann Arbor District Library offers a children’s area for kids to entertain themselves while you relax with a book. For more organized activities, check with your nearest library for weekly events.

Inside the Briarwood Mall in front of J.C.Penny is a play area for children seven and under. Parents can sit down at the edge of the play area, with a Starbucks beverage, and watch their children play.

In Ann Arbor there are four movie theaters: Michigan Theater, State Theater, Quality 16, and Rave Cinemas, to choose from.  However, the Michigan Theater may offer the most unique experience for kids as this theater has a Family-Friendly Film Series.  On select Sundays at 1:30 p.m., kids 12 and younger can enjoy a free movie.  Check the Michigan Theater’s website for dates and movies.

With plenty of things to do, your kids will be sure to enjoy a snowy, winter’s day in Ann Arbor!

Comment below with additional activities that you do to entertain your kids in Ann Arbor!

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