20 + Marvelous Family Things to Do Near Battle Creek MI

things to do in Battle Creek MI

What to do in Battle Creek MI with Kids

Hello, Battle Creek!

You’ve probably heard it. Battle Creek = Cereal.

At one point in the 1900s, Battle Creek was home to over 30 cereal companies, the most famous being Post and Kellogg’s brands. While the latter is the only remaining cereal manufacturer in the area, Battle Creek has certainly earned its moniker: Cereal City. But… Cereal City is home to more than just breakfast food.

This guide highlights the best of Battle Creek for families, whether you’re dropping by for a day or moving into a SWMI neighborhood.

Battle Creek Snapshot

HISTORY: Adjacent to City Hall in downtown, you’ll find Monument Park, including a statue of Sojourner Truth. The marker details Battle Creek’s unique history as part of the Underground Railroad.

FUN: Flash Flood is an outdoor water park, a perfect summer outing for kids of all ages.

FOOD: Visit the Battle Creek Farmers Market at Festival Market Square, with vendors offering the best of Michigan grown fruits and plenty more. Make sure to attend one of the Food Truck Friday events at the market. 

OUTDOORS: Looking to explore outside? The Calhoun County Park System features multiple parks with over five miles of trails.

Why people love to live in Battle Creek

Battle Creek’s vibrant downtown community offers art galleries, entertainment, quaint restaurants and plenty of shops. You’ll find a small-town feel coupled with urban amenities.

A big local draw is Binder Park Zoo. Families line up to feed Ce-Ce the giraffe (she’s known to be the first one at the feeding deck each morning.)

Families also flock to Leila Arboretum and their dozens of gardens and walkways. You’ll find the Kaleidoscope Gardens and fantasy forest – perfect for exploring.

BC-based Willard Library, one of the oldest libraries in Michigan, offers robust youth programs.

W.K. Kellogg Manor House is the former summer residence of breakfast cereal pioneer W.K. Kellogg and located on beautiful Gull Lake.

Things to Do in Battle Creek MI

Families will find plenty of community interaction as well as loads of fun for kids of all ages. Rain or shine, cold or not, the following Battle Creek spots have something for everyone.

And, make sure not to miss the bonus areas, all within 30 minutes of Battle Creek.  

Battle Creek MI

1 – Get Your Animal Fix at Binder Park Zoo

Binder Park Zoo 
7400 Division Dr, Battle Creek, MI 49014

Did you know that giraffes love lettuce? Get a chance to see these amazing leafy green-loving animals, as well as dozens more, at the Binder Park Zoo.

This adventure park is walkable but includes a free Wilderness Tram from the main zoo to the Wild Africa exhibit, home to the must-see big cats, and striped & spotted friends

If your feet need a break, hop on a flamingo or hippopotamus and ride the Conservation Carousel, or wind through the forest on the Z.O.&O Railroad. Binder Park Zoo also offers a host of educational opportunities for budding zoologists of all ages, so check their events schedule prior to your visit. 


Binder Park Zoo
Take the tram (it’s free!) to Wild Africa

2 – Hit a Homerun at Bailey Park and ANYbodies Playground

Bailey Park
1350 Capital Ave NE, Battle Creek, MI 49017

Pack up the Cracker Jacks and gloves to head over to Bailey Park for America’s favorite pastime. This 80-acre park features three full-sized baseball stadiums, two softball diamonds, sand volleyball courts and shuffleboard courts.

Bailey Park is also home to the Battle Creek Bombers, a summer league consisting of the nation’s top baseball players nationwide.

All abilities are welcome at the Anybodies Playground inside Bailey Park. Multiple slides, a sand area, swings and a toddler area make this totally fenced in park well worth the visit. Be sure to bring along lettuce to feed the ducks and geese who hang out in the nearby creek. 

Families visit Battle Creek - playground
📷: Calhoun County Visitors Bureau 

~ SWMI Parks & Playgrounds

3 – Find Reservations for Thousands at the Cereal Festival

Cereal Festival

Imagine a whole street filled with picnic tables and all the cereal you could ask for. If you’re a fan of this crunchy breakfast staple, you do not want to miss the Cereal Festivain downtown Battle Creek.

The event takes place in June each year, and features a parade, vendors, live music and of course: cereal.

Families at Cereal Festival parade near Battle Creek
📷: Calhoun County Visitors Bureau 

4 – Pack a Picnic for Historic Bridge Park

Historic Bridge Park
14930 9 Mile Rd, Emmett Township, MI 49014

Historic Bridge Park is a sure-fire win for multi-generational enjoyment. Situated along the Kalamazoo River as the trailhead for the Linear Bike Path, history buffs can walk across several restored steel road bridges within the park.

Bring a picnic lunch and take in the scenery of the river while the kids get their wiggles out on the nearby playground. As an added bonus, bridges are lighted in the winter so bundle up and don’t forget the hot chocolate! 

Historic Bridge Park in Battle Creek
📷: Calhoun County Visitors Bureau 

5 – Tour de Linear Bike Path

Linear Bike Path
10 State Street West, Battle Creek, MI 49017

If your family prefers to get around on wheels, look no further than the Linear Bike Path. Find a spot in the free parking lot across from Friendship Park, and follow the Perimeter Park Trail northwest alongside the Kalamazoo River. The bike path offers various entry points in Battle Creek. 

Bike Path for families in Battle Creek
📷: Calhoun County Visitors Bureau 

~ Bike & Hiking Trails

6 – Capture History at the Underground Railroad Sculpture

Underground Railroad Sculpture
256 W Van Buren St, Battle Creek, MI 49017

Learn about the impact Battle Creek had on the Underground Railroad while admiring the 28ft long, 14 ft high sculpture dedicated to the men and women who risked their lives for freedom. Both young & old will take away something from this tribute to the past. 

Underground Railroad Sculpture in Battle Creek MI
📷: Calhoun County Visitors Bureau 

7 – Bring your Aviators to the Field of Flight Air Show and Hot Air Balloon Festival

Field of Flight Air Show & Hot Air Balloon Festival
3140 5th Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49037

The Air Show & Balloon Festival is a multi-day event held annually over the 4th of July that has drawn crowds in the hundreds of thousands for decades past.

With a schedule that includes air shows, hot air balloon launches, live music and plenty of food and craft vendors, this experience is an absolute bucket list item. 

Battle Creek MI Field of Flight Balloon Festival
Hot Air Balloon Illume (📷: Leslie Puckett)
Family fun in Battle Creek - Festival Air Show Field of Flight

8 – Enhance Your Five Senses at Leila Arboretum

Leila Arboretum
928 W Michigan Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49037

Leila Arboretum boasts over 2500 marked trees and plants with sights and smells to delight the senses.

Admission to the arboretum is free and includes a peace labyrinth, kid-friendly Kaleidoscope Garden and a Fantasy Forest filled with unique, mythical wood carvings. In the summer, they also have a co-op farmer’s stand. 

Kids visit parks Leila Arboretum
Find unique wood carvings in the Fantasy Forest at Leila Arboretum

9 – Aim for the Splash Zone at Flash Flood Water Park

Flash Flood Water Park
35 W Hamblin Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49017

Centrally located in downtown Battle Creek, Flash Flood Water Park is sure to get the adrenaline pumping for all the water babies in your life. Open Memorial Day to Labor Day, the indoor/outdoor waterpark includes two 200-ft water slides, a toddler area, a zero-depth pool entry and a snack shack to replenish your calories. 

outdoor water park battle creek

~ SWMI Splash Pads & Water Play

10 – Hit the Trail at Ott Biological Preserve

Ott Biological Preserve
Arlington St, Battle Creek, MI 49014 

Nature lovers will love a cool walk amongst the trees at the Ott Biological Preserve, just east of Battle Creek.

This 298-acre park includes five miles of walking trails that take you through wetlands, forests and even alongside two spring-fed lakes.
Keep your eyes peeled for several species of carnivorous plants along the way, including pitcher plants, bladderwort and several orchid varieties. 

11 – Grab your Groceries (and more) at Horrock’s

Horrock’s Farm Market
5801 Beckley Rd, Battle Creek, MI 49014 

From flowers to meat to bulk candy, Horrock’s is like no grocery store you’ve ever seen. The Battle Creek location is its second shop in Michigan (the original is in Lansing). They also have a beer garden and tavern.

Find Horrock’s in a remodeled JCPenney at the Lakeview Mall in Battle Creek.

📷: Horrock’s

12 – Have Some Free Family Fun at City Kids Day

Kellogg Arena
1 McCamly Sq, Battle Creek, MI 49017

Started by former Battle Creek resident James ‘Quince” Williams in 2019, City Kids Day invites local kids to play inside Kellogg Arena. The event features bounce houses, games, prizes, live music and free fun.

In 2022, Battle Creek Mayor Mark Behnke signed a proclamation declaring June 25 “City Kids Day” in Battle Creek. The event will be held on June 22 in 2024.

4 Restaurants to Try in Battle Creek

Foodies can find a variety of culinary options around Battle Creek. The best part? Giant menus so everyone will find something they love.

13 – Drive into the Past at Station 66

Station 66
4588 D Dr S, Battle Creek, MI 49015

No matter how many years young you are, walking into Station 66 will give you a sweet sense of nostalgia. Step inside the refurbished 1940s gas station to find unique ice cream flavors, fresh donuts and locally sourced produce.

Choose something off their mouthwatering diner-style menu, then put the cherry on top with a savory slice of pie or crisp. In the summer, enjoy your sweet treat outside on one of their many picnic areas. 

Photo op: – stand next to the 14 ft. tall ice cream cone, carved out of solid oak, for a sweet picture.

Ice Cream place in Battle Creek - Station 66 Diner

~ SWMI Ice Cream Shops

14 – Noodles, Noodles and MORE Noodles

Umami Ramen
215 W Michigan Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49017 

Not only will you devour authentic and fresh ramen, you’ll be able to try new and delicious creations at Umami Ramen. Every week, they cook up something new that is an instant favorite. You can build your own Ramen Bowl or pick from their diverse menu. Take their food home or dine in at the restaurant that features at outdoor patio.

Don’t sleep on their Thanksgiving egg rolls! They’re only around in November and you can call ahead to reserve them.

Umami Ramen Battle Creek Facebook
📷: Umami Ramen

15 – Dine In an Old Railroad Depot

Clara’s on the River
44 McCamly St N, Battle Creek, MI 49017 

Clara’s has it all from an inviting dining experience to a vast menu for all eaters. The beautiful patio situated next to the Battle Creek River has live music on the weekends and award winning food. Brunch is served on Sundays until 2 PM and includes a buffet and made-to-order food like omelets.

The menu is HUGE.

Claras on the River Battle Creek Facebook
📷: Clara’s on the River

16 – BC Puts the New in New Holland

New Holland Brewing Co.
64 W Michigan Ave, Battle Creek, MI 49017 

Located in the heart of downtown Battle Creek, the trendy ambiance makes for a great date night. You’ll enjoy the 4,000-square-foot covered beer garden that includes an outdoor walkup bar and live music on the stage. Bringing the kids? They have a kids menu that includes a pop or lemonade.

The food is great and so is their merch–you can shop on your way out.

New Holland Battle Creek Facebook
📷: New Holland Brewing

5 Bonus Things to Do Near Battle Creek

Within a 30-minute drive of Battle Creek, there is something for everyone, from dairy farms to a turkey-themed restaurant.

17 – Moove up to Moo-ville Creamery

Moo-ville Creamery
5875 S, M-66, Nashville, MI 49073

Fresh ice cream? Check. Petting farm? Check. Play area? Check.

Moo-ville Creamery hits all the boxes for a family fun adventure. Be sure to take the dairy farm tour to learn how milk gets from the cow to your grocery store. There is also a gift shop where you can take home the freshest dairy products around.

Boy with cow at Dairy Farm near Battle Creek

18 – Gobble up the Fun at Cornwell’s Turkeyville USA

Cornwell’s Turkeyville USA
18935 15 ½ Mile Road, Marshall, MI 49068

A Marshall staple since 1968, Cornwell’s Turkeyville is a family run business whose focus is on fun, food and community.

Entertain the whole clan with antique & craft shows, outdoor flea markets, a turkey-themed restaurant, ice cream parlour, dinner theatre and exciting seasonal and holiday events, including a Haunted Adventure in the fall.

Family Places to visit near Battle Creek

Cornwell's Turkeyville
Turkeyville Train, decked out for Halloween

19 – Make Boredom Disappear at the American Magic Museum

American Magic Museum
107 E Michigan Ave, Marshall, MI 49068

Also located in nearby Marshall, the American Magic Museum is home to the largest collection of magic collectibles in the country. Peruse the memorabilia from famous magicians like Houdini and Michigan’s own Harry Blackstone, then marvel at mystifying illusions at a magic show the whole family will enjoy. Just remember: a true magician never reveals his secrets.

Family Magic Show near Battle Creek

20 – Alligator or Crocodile? Learn the Difference at Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary

Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary
1698 M-66, Athens, MI 49011 

Anytime you can combine education with real-life experience is a win, and the guides at Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary do not disappoint. Encounter alligators in multiple stages of life, along with other reptile friends, like an African tortoise and snakes.

Buy a bucket of tasty treats to feed the animals along your tour, and if you’re feeling especially brave you can hold one of the friendlier inhabitants. Every animal at the sanctuary was acquired through adoption, rescue or donation and will remain here for the rest of their lives. 

Families visit alligator sanctuary

21 – Hands-On Fun for All

Kids ‘N’ Stuff Children’s Museum
301 S Superior St, Albion, MI 49224 

Located in an old grocery store in Albion, Kids ‘N’ Stuff is a hands-on museum that kids of all ages will beg to visit again. Babies to elementary-aged kids will enjoy the play areas that include a fire station, a bank, a farm and a house. A brand-new water table and loads of STEM toys will keep your kids busy for hours.

Kids 'N' Stuff Children's Museum children's museums in Michigan michigan museums


What is Battle Creek known for?

• Birthplace of the cereal industry, “Cereal City
• Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival
• The Underground Railroad and Sojourner Truth

How many people live in Battle Creek?

52,123 (2022 estimate)

How many parks are in Battle Creek?

The city of Battle Creek features 29 parks and 26 miles of paved bike and walkways throughout the city.