Nestled along Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the city of Marquette is a fine place to be a kid. The population is 21,524, according to the U.S. Census, and it is the largest city in the Upper Peninsula. With plenty of snow every year and a rural environment, outdoor activities plentiful. The city is big enough to provide some indoor options, too.
Kids will enjoy visiting a fully operational dairy farm. Jilbert Dairy (jilbertdairy.com) produces milk and ice cream locally and distributes throughout the Upper Peninsula and northern Wisconsin. Visitors can pick from a selection of sundaes and ice cream flavors and even view the milk processing plant activity. The Moosewood Nature Center (moosewood.org) has live animal exhibits in varied natural habitats. Kids can learn all about bog, forest and lakeshore habitats through the center's educational programs. Special events often take place such as Birds of Prey presentations and Earth Day celebrations.
Sports and Games
The Marquette Center for Dance (mqtdance.com) has dance classes in tap, jazz, ballet, hip-hop and contemporary. Children 3 to 4 years old can take Baby Ballet and 2-year-olds can take a Mommy and Me class. For kids who like to ski or snowboard, Marquette Mountain (marquettemountain.com) provides ski lessons for 3- to 10-year-olds. The session includes a lift ticket, snacks and playtime. For some fun and games, Superior Entertainment (wingsandbowling.com) features open bowling, glow bowling, a video arcade, pizza and ice cream treats.
Parks and Beaches
The city of Marquette (mqtcty.org) provides several parks that are prime locales for kids to play and run around in. Ellwood A Mattson Lower Harbor Park (no website; 100-174 N. Lakeshore Blvd.; 906-228-0460) provides kids with a large wooden playground structure called Kid's Cove Playground. Shiras Park (no website; 1020-1030 Allouez Road; 906-228-0460) has sandy beaches, open grassy areas, picnic tables and a playground with tot riding toys. South Beach Park (no website; 196-1044 S. Lake St; 906-228-0460) has a swimming beach, climbing structures, swings and volleyball courts.
The Marquette Regional History Center (marquettehistory.org) houses several historical exhibits including a beaver pond, fur trading post, a look at the history of firearms and recreational hockey. Hands-on activities and guided tours are available for all ages. The Upper Peninsula Children's Museum (upchildrensmuseum.com) tailors its exhibits to active kids, featuring an airplane to climb in and simulate operation, a giant head to crawl through and a mechanical engine cutout to examine. The Marquette Maritime Museum and Lighthouse (mqtmaritimemuseum.com) offers a tour through a lighthouse and kids can learn about famous shipwrecks of the area.