Kalamazoo, Michigan, is halfway between Detroit and Chicago. Activities abound in this small town with a big city feel. From skiing in winter to enjoying the many museums and taking in outdoor beauty, children of all ages can find excitement in Kalamazoo.
Kalamazoo Nature Center
The Kalamazoo Nature Center (naturecenter.org) is 5 miles outside of town and encompasses 1,100 acres of wooded countryside. Kids will enjoy exploring the 10 miles of trails and identifying the plants and animals in the natural habitats along the paths. The nature center also features interactive exhibits, an interpretive center, sculpture garden and a hummingbird-butterfly garden. A family program is every Sunday and special events occur throughout the year.
Air Zoo of Kalamazoo
Down the street from the Kalamazoo airport is the Air Zoo of Kalamazoo (airzoo.org), a museum that introduces kids to the adventure of flight. More than 50 aircraft are on display along with exhibits such as the Michigan Aviation Hall of Fame to space exploration. Other activities include a Ferris wheel, a paratrooper jump ride, pilot ground school, a 4D theater and simulation rides.
In winter, Kalamazoo receives an average of 78.6 inches of snow. The Echo Valley Winter Sports Park (echovalleyfun.com) uses the snow to its advantage and offers a variety of winter activities, including tobogganing, tubing and ice skating. Admission includes unlimited rides for the activity of your choice. Once the snow melts, Markin Glen County Park (kalcounty.com/parks/markinglen) offers warm-weather activities such as camping, hiking, fishing, swimming, and sports and play areas.
Kalamazoo Valley Museum
The Kalamazoo Valley Museum (kalamazoomuseum.org) has exhibits that feature the cultural and scientific history of the area as well as rotating exhibits throughout the year. The museum offers a self-guided tour worksheet for kids that highlights important aspects of the exhibits. A planetarium is a must-see during a trip to the museum. Special events and learning programs are offered throughout the year.