Also known as the Motor City, Detroit is much more than a car town. If you think of Detroit as a city choked with car fumes and industry, think again. It's a city that hums with cultural and sporting events -- and offers lots of fun things to do with kids.
Check out Detroit's more artsy activities at some of the city's finest museums with your kids. The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (mocadetroit.org) has world-class exhibits of modern art that your family can view on your own or take a guided tour. The third Sunday of each month is Family Day where kids of all ages and their parents can make art that highlights the current exhibits. The Detroit Institute of the Arts (dia.org) also has a Family Sundays program, which provides kids of all ages with the chance to make some art, see real artists demonstrate how they make their art -- and even see a live performance such as puppetry or dance. If you're looking for an eco-friendly hands-on art activity, visit Arts and Scraps (artsandscraps.org), which recycles industrial materials -- and re-purposes them as art materials for kids. Shop for recycled materials to bring home, or visit Scrap Junction where adults and children can play in interactive stations and create projects.
Science and Nature
The Michigan Science Center (mi-sci.org) has more than 200 exhibits including 36-foot-tall rockets and an engineering area that features an 80-foot model of the Mackinac Bridge. During the summer, the center offers science camps for kids in preschool through 8th grade. Children who want to take a trip back in time might enjoy the Carnbrook Institute of Science (science.cranbrook.edu). Here, your kids can explore the 11 galleries that include information on the ice age, Native American history and a mineral study area. Kids of all ages will likely enjoy the Detroit Zoo (detroitzoo.org), which is home to more than 3,300 animals of 280 species. It's situated on 125 acres with many naturalistic habitats.
On a sunny spring or summer day take the kids to Detroit's Comerica Park (Detroit.tigers.mlb.com) to watch a game. Add memberships to the Detroit Tigers Kids Club -- which is for all ages -- and your kids will get special sports memorabilia and the chance to participate in events throughout the season. Kids who would rather play ball than watch it might enjoy the THINK Detroit PAL Northwest Little League (littleleague.org) for kids ages 5 and up. If football is your young athlete's sport of choice, while you can take in a game together at Ford Field (detroitlions.com), the Detroit Lions offer kids more than just the chance to watch pro players at their best. The Lions Kids Club -- for children under age 14 -- gives members a special T-shirt, video-taped birthday greeting from one of the players and the chance to watch a pre-game warm-up.
While your fifth grader might balk at the idea of sitting through a full-length Shakespearean drama, he might enjoy one of the more kid-friendly performances that Detroit offers. The Michigan Opera Theatre's Children's Chorus (motcc.org) has operas performed for kids by kids. If a Big Apple-style musical is more your child's style, Detroit offers the opportunity to see Broadway touring companies perform kid-friendly shows, such as Peter Pan or The Adams Family, at venues such as the Fox Theatre (olympiaentertainment.com) or the Detroit Opera House (michiganopera.org). Instead of simply watching, your kids might want to learn about the performing arts first-hand. Budding ballerinas, as well as kids interested in jazz, hip-hop, tap and other styles of dance, can get a leg up at the Detroit-Windsor Dance Academy (detroitwindsordance.org), which offers classes for all ages and levels.