by Leslie P
Between packing up, getting a table and keeping the kids entertained, taking the whole family out to eat can be a major accomplishment. Wouldn’t it be great if there were restaurants that offered a unique, entertaining dining experience for the whole family? You’re in luck! With the help of our readers, we have compiled a list of area locations with a fun dining twist.
Check out what YOU recommended to other parents:
Big T Restaurant, 155 North Main Street, Lawton, MI 49065 | 269-624-1200
Kids can get impatient waiting for food to be ready. Big T’s in Lawton offers free popcorn and a special arcade video game area to entertain your children while their delicious meal is being prepared.
Chuck E. Cheese, 6175 South Westnedge Avenue, Portage, MI 49002 | 877-581-5732
Games, pizza and prizes? Who doesn’t love a fun trip to Chuck E. Cheese? You can enjoy dinner and buy tokens for your kids to run around and try all of the different games. Save your tickets to trade in for fun prizes! Chuck E. Cheese offers Reward Calendars that your children can complete at home and turn in for free tokens.
Bowling, Go-Karts, Laser Tag & Other Activities
Airway Fun Center, 5626 Portage Road, Portage MI 49002 | 269-327-7061
If you are looking to make a Sunday a “fun” day, check out Airway Fun Center’s Pancakes and Pins. On Sundays a group of four can enjoy all-you-can-eat pancakes and all-you-can-bowl from 9:00 am to Noon. Price is $10 per person and includes shoes. Airway Fun Center also offers other activities including: laser tag, go karts, balladium, and mini golf.
Craig’s Cruisers, 5730 Clyde Park SW, Wyoming, MI 49509 | 616-530-2900
Indoor & outdoor go-karts, bumper cars, ropes course, frog hopper, mini-golf, kiddie karts and laser tag. Pack up the whole family for a mini road trip to Craig’s Cruisers in Grand Rapids “where the fun never ends.” Be sure to fuel up on their pizza and pasta buffet to enjoy an entire day of fun.
Unique Drive-up Diners
(picture courtesy of Tara Fletcher Photography)
The Root Beer Stand, 3100 Portage Road or 4400 South Westnedge Avenue | 269-345-4418 or 269-349-7361
When the weather warms up, it is always fun to visit a drive-up diner. Lucky for us, Kalamazoo has two Root Beer stands featuring hot dogs and old fashion root beer. Both locations are now open for the season.
West Lake Drive-In, 9138 Portage Road, Portage, MI 49002 | 269-327-5985
The West Lake Drive-In has been a popular landmark since it opened in 1962. Overlooking beautiful West Lake in Portage, the diner features traditional American items such as hot dogs, burgers, onion rings, shakes and even homemade root beer. Be sure to try their olive burger – it’s their specialty!
Extra Entertainment for Kids
(picture courtesy of Greenleaf Hospitality Group)
Burdick’s For Breakfast, 100 West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 | 269-226-3155
Did you know that Burdick’s for Breakfast offers fun Character Breakfast events. Monthly, some very special guests visit the restaurant. Check out the list below to see who your child could have the chance to dine with. Be sure to follow their facebook page as new dates are announced. Reservations are required.
- Saturday, August 20
Character Breakfast: Princess
- Saturday, September 17
Character Breakfast: SpongeBob & Patrick
- Saturday, October 1
Character Breakfast: Alice in Wonderland Tea Party
- Saturday, October 29
Holiday Breakfast: Halloween
(picture courtesy of BenJammin Educational Music)
Old Dog Tavern, 402 East Michigan Avenue Kalamazoo, MI 4900 | 269-381-5677
Old Dog Tavern in downtown Kalamazoo offers special entertainment and a family-friendly brunch on Saturdays from 10:00 am- 11:00 am. Some of the upcoming dates are: June 4 & 11. Your kids can join in the fun with educational entertainment from BenJammin and Analisa.
Movies and Dining
Alamo Drafthouse of Kalamazoo, 180 Portage Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49007 | 269-532-7990
The Kalamazoo Alamo Theater has launched a new Family and Youth Programming initiative. New programs will include film education, special matinee show times for kids, including during school breaks. Monthly, the Alamo will hold special family events centered around new releases. Recently the Alamo held a Cinderella Royal Ball and next up is Monkey Business. Check out Alamo Drafthouse Family on Facebook for new announcements. Click here for the full Alamo Drafthouse Dining Menu.
Capri Drive-In Theater, 119 West Chicago Road, Coldwater, MI 49036 | 517-278-5628
Old-fashioned drive-in movie theaters are hard to find. Luckily, Coldwater’s Capri Drive-in offers the fun experience for families. Open on weekends, the theater also offers many food options including pizza, nachos, hamburgers, hot dogs and of course popcorn!
Celebration Cinema Crossroads, 6600 Ring Road, Portage, MI 49024 | 269-324-7469
Celebration Cinema Crossroads offers Flick’s Family Film Festival which runs through April 23. The special family-friendly features are scheduled daily. Upcoming films include Big Hero 6, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb and Penguins. All scheduled times are free for kids under 12 and just $5 for adults. Celebration Cinema Crossroads offers a wide range of movie snacks and meals through Oscar’s Bistro including sliders, wings, tacos, ice cream and so much more. Order your food to enjoy in the auditorium during the show, or dine in the lobby café beforehand.
Unique Dining Locations
George and Sally’s Blue Moon Diner, 6865 W Hickory Road, Hickory Corners, MI 49060 | 269-671-5089
“Step back in time” by visiting George and Sally’s 1940’s traditional diner during a visit to the Gilmore Car Museum. The Chicago-style hot dogs, frozen custard and pecan pie will make this a popular stop for the whole family. The diner is open April 1 through November 30.
Henderson Castle, 100 Monroe Street, Kalamazoo, MI, 49006 | 269-344-1827
Not every city is lucky-enough to have a real castle. The Henderson Castle of Kalamazoo offers a wide range of dining options. From a Princess Tea for kids, to an 11-course French meal for adults and everything in between – everyone is bound to find something unique to enjoy!
(photo courtesy of Millennium Group Restaurants)
Idler Riverboat- Magnolia Grille, 515 Williams Street #10, South Haven, MI 49090 | 269-637-8435
Operated by Millennium Restaurant Group, the Idler Riverboat is docked on the beautiful Lake Michigan coast in South Haven. Stop by for lunch, dinner or just a drink to enjoy the unique location and spectacular view. The idler opens for the season in May. Families are encouraged to dine before 9:00 pm.
(photo courtesy of Greenleaf Hospitality Group)
Old Burdick’s at Wings West, 5076 Sports Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49009 | 269-488-4500
What is better than watching sports on television? Watching it live while enjoying dinner. Burdick’s at the Wings West facility has ten tables and four high-top tables that overlook the ice rink at Wings West. Depending on your dining time, your family may catch a KOHA practice or game, adult hockey leagues, figure skating or drop-in hockey.
Hope you have a great dining experience with your family!