Home   Around Kalamazoo   101 Things To Do This Summer With Kids Around Kalamazoo: Your ULTIMATE Summer Bucket List

101 Things To Do This Summer With Kids Around Kalamazoo: Your ULTIMATE Summer Bucket List

by Amy L & Jill P

 

 

Summer days are here! If your family needs some help deciding what to do this summer, try picking things off of our summer bucket list! We’ve put together a great list of things to do around Kalamazoo and Michigan this summer. We love to travel over the summer and explore all that our region and the great state of Michigan has to offer. 

Don’t let all the days slip away, find a fun activity and get going.

 

KALAMAZOO AREA

1. Grab the helmets and get moving on one of the great bike trails in the Kalamazoo and Southwest Michigan.

2. Visit your local library and get library cards for the whole family. Check out summer storytimes as well for a fun way to get in some extra reading this summer.

3. Visit with some BIG vehicles for an outside program at the KPL. Check out the Return of the Big Trucks event at the PDL  Weather permitting.

 

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4. Take in a baseball game at the Kalamazoo Growlers! See Porter and enjoy the family fun atmosphere at the game.

5. Check out one of the many toddler-friendly parks in Southwest Michigan.

6. Enjoy movies under the stars! Bring your own popcorn and join your friends.

7. Heading to the beach is always a great way to cool down. There are several local beaches in the Kalamazoo area. If you’re up for a road trip South Haven beaches are only about an hour away!

8. Try a new restaurant. Even better, check out our list of kids eat free days!

9. Have a dinosaur lover in your family? We have tons of ideas for dinosaur spotting near and far. The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is running an exhibit on dinosaurs from June 17th through September 17th.

10. Get ready to sing, clap and dance at the Jim Gill concert on Thursday, June 22nd at 6:30 p.m. at the Oshtemo Township Park.

11. If your kids love to play in the water, but you don’t want the mess of it in your yard, head over to one of the fun splash pads in our area. Don’t forget the sunscreen!


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photo courtesy of Tara Fletcher Photography

12. Who doesn’t love ice cream? Visit an ice cream parlor for a tasty treat this summer!

13. Summer movies are always a hit. Check out our list of cheap summer movies at the Kalamazoo 10.

14. If your kids love to bounce, SkyZone is the perfect place to work off some energy in a fun, air-conditioned environment!

15.Many churches in our area offer free Vacation Bible School and fun summer programs/camps.

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16. Summer camp is a great way to make memories to last a lifetime for your child. Check out our summer camp guide to find the best summer camp for your child!

17. Pack up the car and head to a drive-in movie theater!

18. The Y offers several great summer programs for kids. Check this out early as registration is often required for organized activities!

knc barn animals

19. The Kalamazoo Nature Center has several opportunities for families to come out and experience nature this summer. Be sure to attend the farm program to learn something new each Wednesday about animals on the farm!

20 Binder Park Zoo is a short 30-minute drive to Battle Creek from Kalamazoo. Did you know that they have a new baby giraffe? Or check out the aquarium at the John Ball Zoo. Feeling even more adventurous? We suggest the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago or the Lincoln Park Zoo!

21. Head downtown Kalamazoo to enjoy several festivals this summer – such as the annual Irish Festival held June 23-24th offering entertainment, games, and kids activities – fun for the entire family.

22. Looking for a fun date idea and want to learn more about Kalamazoo’s history? Join the Gazelle Sports Historic Walks or buy your ticket for the Hidden Kalamazoo tour.

23. Pack a picnic lunch and head out to one of these great picnic spots

BC Balloon Festival

24. You won’t want to miss the Battle Creek Field of Flight Airshow and Balloon Festival in July! With balloon launches, a thrilling air show, carnival rides, and entertainment your family will have tons of fun.

25. Mini golf is a fun and competitive way to get the family moving this summer.

26. If rain is in the forecast, a game or two of bowling is a great way to spend a summer day! Or sign up for the Kids Bowl Free program. 

27. Check out the Blueberry Bash at Stokes Homestead Farm Market on August 19th. Tons of free family activities that your kids will love – make sure to take a ride on the cow-train ride.

28. Host your own princess tea party or visit the Kalamazoo Public Library Oshtemo branch at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 8. Little princesses ages 3-9 will love dressing up and reading stories with Cinderella and friends!

29. Get your tickets to see Annie with the Center Stage Theatre in July. 

30. Visit a local farmer’s market. Pick out a locally grown food that your kids have never tried and research different ways of preparing it! Let them choose the winning way and everyone will dig in!

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31. Go fishing! If you want your child to learn the basics of fishing from the experts, check out the free Hook, Line, and Sinker class at the Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery.

32. Join in the free fun with Maranda’s Park Party at Bronson Park in Kalamazoo.

33. Go berry picking! Then head home and find new ways to prepare your favorite berries. Share some desserts with a neighbor or friend!

34. Enjoy the fireworks shows near the 4th of July. Check back to KZOOkids.com for information on fireworks shows later this month.

35. Order lunch from a food truck in downtown Kalamazoo! Check out Lunchtime Live! happening every Friday around lunchtime for more information.

36. Make a new four-legged friend while horseback riding.

37. Board games are a great opportunity for family bonding during rainy summer weather. Check out our list of favorites.

38. Visit the Air Zoo this summer! Pack a picnic lunch and watch the airplanes take off and land at the outdoor picnic pavilion. 

39. Check out the Art Attack at the Kalamazoo Public Library. All supplies are provided. On June 27 try your hand at woodblock painting, tape resist painting on July 11, and on July 18 try some string art.

40. Dine out on at a great restaurant with an outdoor patio.

41. Plan to attend the Kindleberger Festival and watch one of the family-friendly outdoor plays.

42. Break out those running shoes and participate in an area fun run.

43. Sign up for a summer art class at the KIA.

44. Wake up with no plans and check the KZOOkids.com Event Calendar and pick one thing to do with the entire family.

45. Tour the Wolf Lake Hatchery and learn how fish are raised to supply our Michigan lakes and streams.

Kalamazoo County Fair-2

46. Plan to attend the Kalamazoo County Youth Fair August 8-12. 4-H animals, daily entertainment, carnival rides, food and more make this a great family event.

47. Rent a canoe or kayak for the day and have a family adventure!

48. On a rainy day, visit a FREE indoor play area.

49. Summer is a great time to get your family photos updated. Check out our Photography Guide for a great listing of local photographers.

50. Take advantage of the FREE Park Day at Kalamazoo area parks on June 21.

51. Attend one of the Night Markets during the summer. Artisans, food trucks, farmers and friends. What more can you ask for?

52. Visit one of the new playgrounds in Portage. Let us know what you think of the new equipment.

53. Join the SWMLC “Hike Our Preserves” program. “HOP!” offers kids a chance to hike at 7 of the SWMLC’s 18 public nature preserves, earn a medallion for their hiking stick, and once they collect all 7 medallions, receive a free $15 gift card to Bookbug!

54. Earn free stuff by joining a summer reading program. We have ideas for great local and national summer reading programs. Watch our website for more info.

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55. Bring your little animal lover to one of these great petting farms.

56. Take the kids on a surprise donut run to Sweetwater’s Donut Mill or check out the Peace, Love, and Little Donuts of Portage opening soon!

57. Get wild about being outside! Zoorific Kids’ Day at Binder Park Zoo encourages children to explore outdoor opportunities.

58. We love new businesses to our area! Check out one of these new businesses or plan to visit over the summer.

59. Visit the PDL after hours for Family Late Night on July 28th and build forts, read together, and play hide and glow seek and other fun camping games.

GREATER WEST MICHIGAN AREA

60. Plan a shopping day at the new Tanger Outlet Mall just up US 131 near Grand Rapids.

61. Love classic movies? Check out the Free Kids Movies at Celebration Cinema-Woodland in Grand Rapids for some great classic movies.

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62. Ahoy matey! Pretend you’re a pirate and join the Pirate Chaser Adventure Cruise.

63. Get wild for wild animals. Boulder Ridge Wid Animal Park is an area favorite.

64. Learn about a real working farm at Breakfast on the Farm in Coopersville on June 24.

65. Are your kids the adventurous type? Check out one of the several options for zip lining at Treetop Adventure Park in Grand Rapids or Allegan Event Z!P to go zip lining over the Kalamazoo River.

66. Pack the sleeping bag, your toothbrush, and take advantage of one of these overnight Michigan adventures.

67. Take advantage of Wristband Wednesdays at Craigs’ Cruisers near Grand Rapids.

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photo courtesy of Tara Fletcher Photography

68. Go camping! See our great list of campgrounds close to home.

69. The history buff in your family will LOVE the Civil War Muster July 15-16 at Historic Charlton Park in Hastings. See history come alive with hundreds of re-enactors depicting Confederate and Union Infantry, Cavalry, and Artillery units.

70. Happy Potter fans unite! Join the Harry Potter in the Park Festival in Sparta (near Grand Rapids) on August 26th.

71. Break out your family membership cards! Here’s a great list of Michigan Museums, Gardens & Zoos With Reciprocal Membership Agreements all around Michigan.

72. Cabin fever? Get out of town and visit our favorite out of town indoor play places around West and Southwest Michigan.

73. Join the No Family Left Indoors Programs for FREE family fun on Tuesday nights through the summer around Barry County.

74. Take the kids to the special exhibit, Mindbender Mansion at the Grand Rapids Public Museum open through September 3.

75. Anchors away! Catch a ride on one of these eleven #PureMichigan boats that you can sail the friendly seas.

76. Visit M00-ville and learn about how milk and ice cream is made.

WORTH THE DRIVE

77. Take a road trip to beautiful Amish Country and visit Shipshewana.

78. There’s nothing like watching the fireworks over Lake Michigan! Check out the various 4th of July events happening in the Silver Lake area.

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79. If your family likes thrill rides, check out Michigan’s Adventure or Cedar Point! Both parks have updated their outdoor waterparks this year.

80. Take the train to Chicago and explore the Magnificent Mile.

81. If your family loves road trips, pick a new place off of our Michigan Kids Road Trips series. Let us know what you saw and experienced during your trip!

82. Check out the Jiffy Mix Plant Tour in Chelsea, MI.

83. Head north to Traverse City to explore one of Michigan’s gems.

84. Let the kids play at one of the great Children’s Museums around Michigan.

85. Visit on of our 10 places to take your kids in Michigan before they grow up.

86. The Field Museum in Chicago will be hosting Jurassic World: The Exhibition. Visitors will be able to imagine what it would have felt like to walk with the dinosaurs through towering dinosaurs and tons of interactive exhibits.

87. Explore a National Park for FREE.

88. Make a plan to see the Total Solar Eclipse 2017.

89. Visit Lake Michigan’s first floating water park near Whiting, Indiana. The official opening date for the WhoaZone at Whihala Beach is June 24.

90. Drive south to Fremont, Indiana and experience an Into the Herd Buffalo tour at the Wild Winds Buffalo Preserve.

 

ANYTIME FAMILY FUN

91. Unplug for the day with a technology-free family day. If this isn’t a challenge for your family – make it three days, five days or even a whole week!

92. Design your own backyard fun!

93. Create your own summer activity jar. No more, I’m bored.

94. Find a local place to do some volunteer work. If you want to do something less formal, a few trash bags and some rubber gloves are all you need to make a difference at a local park or playground. Your kids will have fun, enjoy the weather and give back to the community!

95. Slime is all the rage now – visit Pinterest for 25 ways to make slime – with easy to follow instructions.

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photo courtesy of Tara Fletcher Photography

95. Have a backyard campfire and make s’mores.

96. Have your own backyard movie party or plan an old-fashioned ice cream social.

97. Enter our KZOOkids.com Instagram Contest. Share your summer family fun using the hashtag #KZOOkidsFun.

98. Have fun in your own driveway……wash the cars, bikes, scooters and tricycles. Make sure to use LOTS of soap to create tons of suds!

99. Beat the heat and head to the movie theater to watch a kids summer movie.

100. Gather some books to donate and find a nearby Free Little Library to add books to the collection.

101. Wait for a windy day and make and fly a simple bird kite!

 

PIN THIS FOR LATER

101 Summer Ideas for Kalamazoo Area Families-Pinterest

 

 

 

Jill P

Jill is a mom of a busy 8 year old son. KZOOkids.com was started in 2013 to showcase all of the great things to do in and around Kalamazoo. When not working the KZOOkids.com website, Jill likes to hike, cook, and read in her free time.

 

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