Allegan-Plainwell-Otsego: Full of Family Fun

Family Fun outside of Kalamazoo

Half an Hour Away is Three Times the Fun

Allegan, Plainwell, and Otsego aren’t just cities that pop up on the radio and internet every time there’s a school closing. You’ll find a laundry list of fun activities when visiting Kalamazoo’s neighbors to the north.

And, it’s closer than you may think.

No matter the season, whether you’re in the mood to bring a swimsuit or skiis, or if you are looking for an adrenaline rush or relaxation, you will find something perfect for your family, and can still be home in time for lunch.

What are you waiting for? Check out all of the fun things to do and see in this trio of communities.

Adventure in Allegan, Play in Plainwell and Otsego


Families who love an adrenaline rush will love the Allegan Event Family Adventure Center, which sports an indoor location complete with themed walls to climb, ropes courses, and a free-fall simulation.

Head to their outdoor complex and take the zipline across the river. Read more on this action-packed adventure.

Bring the swimsuits and towels but not the sand toys and take the kids to enjoy the Perrigo Splash Pad in Riverfront Park with its six river fountains.

When the kids dry off, walk to Hanson Park next door for fun on the play structure.

Year-round, the Allegan Aquatic Center is the perfect indoor pool place. For a small fee, families can swim, relax in the lazy river, and kids will love the small slide into the shallow pool.

Kids work up an appetite? If so, there’s a diner right next door called The Village Inn. Breakfast is served all day.

Every September, Allegan is home to the area’s largest and most country music star-studded county fair in the area, the Allegan County Fair. Monster trucks, rodeos, carnival rides, animals, and don’t forget to grab that elephant ear.


Enjoy a stroll along Riverwalk Park between Hicks Park and Sherwood Park. The path goes along the river and the old paper mill, through a tunnel, and over a bridge, finally ending at Sherwood Park. Kids of all ages will enjoy climbing, spinning, and taking a break down by the river.

Across from Hicks Park, Design Street is a non-profit community arts education center. You’ll find the environment quirky and inviting. With a ton of after school and homeschool art programs, kids will love coming here to explore art. They offer programs for adults. Looking for a photography or acrylic painting class? Find it at Design Street.

Plainwell is well-known for its ice cream.

Sherwood Park is nestled between two ice cream shops, perfect for ending a day of play: Dean’s Ice Cream and Plainwell Ice Cream. You can walk to either, and then sit along the river and enjoy a taste of summer.

Thurl Cook Park‘s Sledding Hill is the place to be in the winter, with a 100 foot lighted sledding hill. During the rest of the year, park amenities include a dog park, tennis, basketball, pickleball courts, and a pavilion.

Rent kayaks and navigate through the waters of the Kalamazoo River. Plainwell Kayak Company offers a one-hour trip from Plainwell to Otsego, just right for beginners or families with young children.


Try a signature white stiletto latte at Mezzo Coffee House, Otsego’s local coffee joint. While you are enjoying java bliss, the kids will love the frozen hot chocolate or a cotton candy frappe of their own. Not a coffee fan? Mezzo carries loose-leaf tea as well, so sit back and relax.

Catch a new flick at the M-89 Cinema. If ticket prices have been keeping you from the movies lately, then the M-89’s affordable ticket prices may be just the ticket. Make sure to check out their generous popcorn movie bucket deals available during the week.

Let the kids expend energy at Brookside Park – with large play structures at both ends of the park.

Family fun Otsego

Hanna Adams Photography

As soon as the snow flies, pack up the skiis and head to Bittersweet Ski Resort. Offering youth ski lessons, 20 different runs based on skill level, and the Bittersweet Cafe to warm up in and sip hot chocolate, it’s no wonder Bittersweet is the perfect place to spend a snowy Michigan day.

Did we miss any of your favorites? Please let us know in the comments below.

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