20+ Affordable & Free Things to Do in Kalamazoo this Spring

Spring Things to Do

Catch Spring Fever in Kalamazoo

As soon as Cadbury pops up at the grocery store, I know what it means. It means Spring is around the corner.

After the cold winter, there is nothing like digging your hands in the dirt, seeing those first tiny buds on the trees, or stomping your boots in a rain puddle. Not to mention daring to crack that window a little bit as you drive around, since here in Michigan we put shorts on as soon as it hits 60 degrees.

You know the signs of spring, right? Local favorites, such as The Root Beer Stand and Twisters, open for the season. And, you breathe a sigh of relief not worrying about the endless winter gear and clothing every time your child heads outside.

With spring in the air, where should a family head first? With all that Kalamazoo has to offer, the options can seem overwhelming. We’ve compiled over 20 of the best and affordable things to do for families.

Whether you want to kick back and relax in the sunshine, or take off and explore, there’s an activity perfect for you.

Featured Partner

AppleTree Early Care and Preschool

We welcome infants as young as 6 weeks old at any of our locations. We create individualized Infant Lesson Plans to determine key areas to work on with your baby so they can develop their language, physical, and emotional skills at their own pace. Visit gildenwoods.com to find the location nearest you and to schedule a free tour today!

AppleTree

Gilden Woods – Kalamazoo
4620 Arboretum Pkwy
269-459-9301
Gilden Woods – Portage
1518 East Centre Ave
269-359-1115
AppleTree – Otsego
909 Dix Street
269-692-3675
Facebook |Email

Important Message: Area businesses are working to implement procedures based on the new safety guidelines. For each of the attractions and events we mention, we include a link to the business website. Please use this link to confirm the details, hours of operation and any requirements guests must follow before visiting. Thank You!

Things to Do

Strike Out Into Nature

The trails at Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery are free to the public all year round. For a small fee, kids love feeding the fish in the show pond.

Fish Hatchery

Head out to the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Kids three and under are free, and you can enjoy the Nature Center inside and out. Explore the trails on your own, or let your kids play at the natural playground. Try one of their signature programs – Preschool Explorers on Tuesdays (be sure to register first online).

Hike somewhere new at one of the 18 Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy preserves. Free and open to the public, they are a beautiful place to stretch your legs. Consider setting up a checklist with your family and aim to visit all 18 of them.

Load up the bikes and visit the Kal-Haven Trail State Park. This 33-mile long former railroad bed crosses over bridges, passes through towns and goes all the way to South Haven for the truly adventurous explorers.

Go birding with your binoculars and your field guide at the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary. See and feed the waterfowl, view the raptors and gamebirds on display, or just come for a picnic outdoors.

Bird Sanctuary

Buy a couple of seed packets and let your kids have a plot of land to create their own flower or veggie garden. For added fun, let them add rocks and decorations to make a fairy or a toad hideaway.

Combine art and nature by painting some rocks and hiding them around town. Post clues for other friends to find them on the Portage, MI Rocks! Facebook site.

Put on your raincoat and galoshes and go on a rain puddle walk. Hop, skip, and jump to your heart’s content. We recommend the West Lake Nature Preserve’s watery bridges for splashy fun!

Portage Hiking Trail

SEE ALSO: Bike & Hiking Trails »

Spring for a Fun Time Indoors

Rainy day? Bounce that cabin fever away at Airborne Adventure Park or Jungle Joes.

Catch a movie with Flick’s Family Film Festival at Celebration Cinema, where kids 12 and under get in free to select movies and times.

Sad to see winter end? Take the family to an Open Skate at The Rink Battle Creek on the weekends.

Make a sand candle at Kalamazoo Candle Company. For $10, kids can make their own custom sand candle, complete with custom colors and scent! Note: Capacity is limited; call ahead to schedule.

Enjoy all of the fun for half the price at Airway Fun Center. Regularly priced attractions are half price on Tuesdays.

Plan an indoor adventure with Allegan Event; their climbing walls are fun for both families and date nights!

Photo: Allegan Event

Move It to a Museum

The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is always free and is now open with limited hours & capacity (register online for tickets). The children’s landscape is not open yet, but this can be a great FREE option for older kids. See their website for details.

Things to do in Kalamazoo - Museum, Zoo, Science Center

Get your art on at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. Kids 12 and under are free (register online for tickets).

The Air Zoo is ready for you! Visit Aliens & Androids (including Ironman and R2D2), try out their hands-on stations, or learn more about Amelia Earhart from her new exhibit. Children 4 & under are always free.

Air Zoo Hands On
Photo: Air Zoo

SEE ALSO: Favorite Children’s Museums in Michigan »

Sip, Snack, and Slurp Your Heart Out

Drive your car in for a homemade root beer and the best hot dog in town at The Root Beer Stand.

Try some fancy ice cream with Rollup Ice Cream & Tea.

Ice Cream places for families near Kalamazoo
Photo: Rollup Ice Cream & Tea

Pack a lunch and a checkered blanket and head to one of our favorite picnic spots in Kalamazoo.

Buy some delicious cupcakes from Layla’s Cool Pops. Her philanthropic shop donates proceeds to local nonprofits to end homelessness.

Stroll through the market and say hello to your favorite farmers as Farmers Markets open for their season in May.

Treat yourself to some breakfast tacos from La Familia Cafe.

Visit your favorite bunny, and hunt for eggs at one of the many Easter events around Kalamazoo.

SEE ALSO: Breakfast Restaurants »

SEE ALSO: Kids Eat Free »

Events

We’ve selected a sampling of free and affordable events scheduled for this Spring in Kalamazoo.

Events are subject to change; confirm with organizers before heading out. For a full lineup of family fun, be sure to check our calendar.

Spring Free/Affordable Events near Kalamazoo

MAR 5-MAR 14, 2021 | ALL DAY

Downtown Kalamazoo Restaurant Week
Downtown Kalamazoo
Michigan Ave, Kalamazoo, MI 
» Enjoy signature food pairings and unique offerings from a whole new menu at participating restaurants. $10, $25, or $35

MAR 5, 2021 | 10 am

Virtual Stroll with Nature: Over the Rainbow 🆓Hosted by Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
Virtual Event
» Join us in discovering how rainbows form, where to find them, and how to make your own rainbows!

 MAR 6, 2021 | 11 am

Maple Sugar Program Sarett Nature Center
2300 N Benton Center Rd, Benton Harbor, MI 49022
» 11am-12pm. Enjoy a talk and a stroll through the woods to learn how maple syrup is made. Please call (269)-927-4932 to register. $5/non-member and free to members and children.

MAR 8-MAR 21, 2021 | 10am-5pm

Hoods Up! Engines on Display
Gilmore Car Museum
6865 W Hickory Rd, Hickory Corners, MI 49060
» The hoods will be raised on all the vehicles inside the Gilmore Car Museum, and their engines will be showcased! Included with regular admission.

APR 3, 2021 | 11 am

Easter Egg Hunt 🆓Cornwell’s Turkeyville
18935 15 1/2 Mile Rd, Marshall, MI 49068
» FREE Event for kids age 1-14 MUST be signed up by 10:45! Hunt will start at 11:00 and NO late entries will be allowed! We will give each age bracket a number of eggs to find based on number of kids in group. Some eggs have candy some have prize tickets and some have free ice cream or cotton candy!

APR 25, 2021 | 11 am

13th Annual Green-A-Thon 🆓
Portage City Hall

7900 South Westnedge Avenue, Portage, MI 49002
» 11am-3pm. In celebration of Earth Day, the 2021 Green-A-Thon will offer the first-ever pairing with the Portage Farmers Market! The event will feature music, games and representatives from local organizations providing environmentally friendly ideas. **All activities will be subject to COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines