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

Free Things To Do

Catch Spring Fever in Kalamazoo with Some Free Things to Do

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 to first? Read on for over 25 of the best and most affordable things to do for families.

Free things to do

Strike Out Into Nature

1 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.

2 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 online).

Kalamazoo Nature Center
photo: Kalamazoo Nature Center

3 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.

4Load 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.

5 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.

6 Visit the free Dinosaur Park on Western Michigan University’s campus.

Dinosaur Park Western Michigan University
Visiting WMU’s dinos is one of our favorite free things to do in Kalamazoo

7 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.

8 Watch spring bloom before you during a walk around Leila Arboretum. The Kaleidoscope Garden doesn’t open until June but the Fantasy Forest and trails are open. It’s dog friendly, too.

9 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
Want more outdoor trails? See our Bike & Hiking Trails Guide.

Spring For a Fun Time Indoors

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

11 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.

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

13 Make a sand candle at Kalamazoo Candle Company. For $10, kids can make their own custom sand candle, complete with custom colors and scent! (PS: visit on Tuesdays, where the cost is only $7!)

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

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

16 Pinspiration Kalamazoo offers a large variety of projects and you can pick the time you want to go. Don’t miss the Splatter Room if your kids want to get extra messy.


17 Play with a cat and enjoy a snack at Kzoo Cat Cafe. Book a reservations to snuggle with the adoptable cats. Kids and grownups of all ages will love this experience. Check out our visit!

Move It to a Museum

18 The Kalamazoo Valley Museum is always free and is open every day except Monday. Make it easy and register for your visit online before you arrive.

With free admission all year round, KVM is definitely on our list of free things to do in SWMI.

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

20 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. Children 4 & under are always free.

If you want to head somewhere new and kid friendly, hop in the car and visit one of these children’s museums for some more hands-on fun.

Sip, Snack and Slurp Your Heart Out

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

22 Try a Millennium restaurant on Mondays, where they offer 30% off for rewards members!

23 Pack a lunch and a checkered blanket and head Texas Drive Park or another of our favorite picnic spots.

Kalamazoo Park

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

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

Kalamazoo Farmers Market

26 Treat yourself to some breakfast tacos from La Familia Cafe.

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

Free Spring Events

Libraries, museums and other organizations are offering some fun and FREE events this spring. We’ve highlighted a few examples here; be sure to see the full list in our calendar below.

Mar 1-31 Self-Guided Storybook Walk, Pierce Cedar Creek Institute
Sun, Mar 5 (2:00 PM) Winter Concert Series, Ransom District Library
Tues, Mar 7 (3:00 PM) Drop-In Gaming, Richland District Library
Thu, Mar 23 (10:00 AM) Community Playgroup, Galesburg-Augusta Primary School
Sat, Apr 1 (1:00, 2:30 PM) Crawlspace Comedy, KVM
Tue, Apr 4 (10:00 AM) Springtime BINGO & Scavenger Hunt, Otsego District Library

SEE ALSO: Toddler/Preschool/Infant Calendar »

Driving Route: Free Activities in Kalamazoo

Whether looking to venture during break or anytime this Spring, try this route to explore Kalamazoo for free!

More to Explore

About The Author