What to do in Battle Creek 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.
When you’re in Battle Creek with your family, you’ll find yourself picking from a mountain of entertainment options. It’s up to you to decide what type of experience you’re looking for…
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.
This article highlights the best of Battle Creek for families, whether you’re dropping by for a day or moving into a neighborhood.
There’s a lot for families to love about living in Battle Creek. Outdoor recreational opportunities, historical sites, and year-round entertainment are some of the best that Battle Creek has to offer.
Life in Battle Creek
Why people love to live here:
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.
You should know: The city of Battle Creek features 29 parks and 26 miles of paved bike and walkways throughout the city. Battle Creek’s National Cereal Festival is an annual event held in June. Fun fact – cereal was invented by accident! W.K. Kellogg and J.H. Kellogg invented it in the basement of the Battle Creek Sanitarium.
Things to Do in Battle Creek
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.
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 has a host of educational opportunities for budding zoologists of all ages, so check their events schedule prior to your visit. Description for this block. Use this space for describing your block. Any text will do.
Drive into the Past at Station 66
4588 D Dr S, Battle Creek, MI 49015
No matter how many years young you are, you will get a sweet sense of nostalgia walking into Station 66. 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.
Hit a Homerun at Bailey Park and ANYbodies Playground
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 physical 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.
Reservations for Thousands at the 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 Festival in downtown Battle Creek. The event takes place in June each year, and features a parade, vendors, live music and of course: cereal.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Enhance Your Five Senses at 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.
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.
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.
Historic Bridge Park, Underground Railroad Sculpture, ANYbodies Playground, Linear Bike Path and Cereal Festival image credit: Calhoun County Visitors Bureau
4 “Bonus” Things to Do Near Battle Creek
From dairy farms to a turkey-themed restaurant, there is something for everyone within a 30-minute drive from Battle Creek.
Moove up to 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.
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.
Turkeyville recently added an RV campground, so take a weekend and enjoy all this attraction has to offer.
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.
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.