Plan Your Warm Weather Fun with 101+ Summer Activities for Kids in SWMI

Summer Activities for Kids

Your Summer Bucket List for Kalamazoo

While winter has not gone away quietly (snow in April, anyone?), we are still making big plans for warm weather in Southwest Michigan.

Although spring may have started slowly and quietly, we are confident that sunny, beach-filled days are ahead for our summer in Kalamazoo.

We’ve put together a list of summer activities for kids to serve all families’ needs: places to play inside or out, camps and classes to learn, and local restaurants to try.

And when you’re ready to venture, we have you covered with day trips and weekend getaways.

Here are 101+ ideas for families to have a totally awesome summer.

Summer Activities for Kids in SWMI

Summer Highlights

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Y'OPA Frozen Yogurt

Summer Activities for Kids in Portage

165 W Centre Ave, Portage, MI 49024


Great frozen yogurt! Always clean. Great rotation of flavors and toppings. Super kid friendly atmosphere. Best frozen yogurt in the area by far! - John B.


Inspired by our Greek heritage, Y’OPA was created to be the community’s place to connect, to celebrate life’s moments and enjoy fresh, flavorful treats with others.

We have everything from frozen yogurt, to fresh smoothies and bowls, to gelato, sorbet and more. We even have treats for your furry friends!

We are known for having the best flavors, the most toppings, the friendliest people and a vibe that will have you congregating and celebrating. From the classic vanilla or chocolate topped with hot fudge, sprinkles and a cherry, to the risk takers who choose White Chocolate Mousse topped with strawberries, boba and Nerds, there’s something for everyone at Y’OPA.

OPA! It’s a Greek expression of joy, infused into everything we do.

Y’OPA is your invitation to embrace the moments that make life what it is, celebrating both the big and the small.

Air Zoo

Summer Activities for Kids in Portage

6151 Portage Rd, Portage, MI 49002


Come explore Michigan’s premiere aerospace and science center this summer!

With more than 200,000 square-feet, this Smithsonian-affiliated center features hundreds of air and spacecraft, full-motion flight simulators, hands-on learning stations, rides, theater, and active restoration center – there’s something for everyone to explore.

Summer highlights: Visiting Historic Aircraft, FREE Summer STEAM Days & National Aviation Day (Aug 19)

Admission: Ages 4 and under FREE; Ages 5-18 $14.95; Adults $15.95; Seniors $12.95
- Discounts for Military, Fire & Police, and families receiving SNAP benefits -

Allegan Event

Summer Activities for Kids in Allegan

439 River St, Allegan, MI 49010


Looking for a summer fun destination with a major "wow!" factor?!

Centrally located in southwest Michigan, Allegan Event is Michigan’s largest indoor ropes course and offers endless adventurous activities for guests of all ages to connect, get active, and make lasting memories.

Attractions include the heart-pumping bi-level Sky Trail® ropes course with Sky Rail® zip rails, Sky Tykes® course for small children, QUICKjump free-fall simulation, Vertical Drop Slide, Clip ‘n Climb® & outdoor Riverfront Zip Line.

The Spirit of Kalamazoo

Summer Activities for Kids in Kalamazoo

154 S Kalamazoo Mall, Kalamazoo, MI 49007


The Spirit of Kalamazoo is proud to sell Plainwell Ice Cream year round - up to 24 flavors are available in a cup, cone, milkshake or sundae. While you wait for your scoops, check out the Kalamazoo memorabilia when you visit this unique downtown store!

The store is a downtown destination for out-of-town visitors, with Kalamazoo-themed merchandise and clothing as well as the state of Michigan and Western Michigan University.

Jungle Joes Family Fun Center

Summer Activities for Kids in Portage

7255 S Sprinkle Rd, Portage, MI 49002


Jungle Joe's challenges you to see how many hole-in-ones you can get on our 18-hole adventure golf course. As you walk along the rolling greens, be sure to take a selfie with Georgina, our 17-foot-tall giraffe.

The course is open 7 days a week, weather permitting.

Inflatables and arcade will be open as well inside if you need to escape the summer sun!

Schultz Fruitridge Farms

Summer Activities for Kids in Mattawan

60139 CR 652, Mattawan, MI 49071


Our peaceful and authentic farm is the place for your family to take a step back and keep things simple.

We are a 3rd generation family farm that features seasonal fruits and veggies including asparagus, strawberries, sweet & tart cherries, blueberries, sweet corn, peaches, apples, grapes, pumpkins and squash. Donuts and apple cider in the fall.

U-Pick options available: tart cherries, blueberries, peaches, apples & concord grapes.

Please check our website, Facebook or call to confirm current availability

Corey Lake Orchards

Summer Activities for Kids in Three Rivers

12147 Corey Lake Rd, Three Rivers, MI 49093


Bring the family to visit Corey Lake Orchards, a woman-owned and family-oriented agro-tourism destination in the scenic lake country west of Three Rivers.

Since 1961, the farm has maintained its strong legacy of growing fruit and vegetables, selling produce in the open-air market, providing seasonal U-pick, and creating a relaxing family atmosphere. Fruit pies, fresh cider & donuts, hard cider, wine, and brandy are made onsite.

Check the website for festivals in August and October.

Berry Brothers Retail

Summer Activities for Kids in Paw Paw

37146 30th Street, Paw Paw, MI 49079


Berry Brothers will be offering u-pick blueberries this season and we are excited to introduce u-cut flowers.

If you visit the farm this season you can watch and experience our process of harvesting the blueberries from the fields, onto the line, and into the store for packaging.

You can also enjoy ice cream, smoothies, grilled blueberry bratwursts or a photoshoot in our sunflowers!

Earth First Farms

Summer Activities for Kids in Berrien Center

8335 Smith Road, Berrien Center, MI 49102


SW Michigan families will enjoy their delicious produce from Earth First Farms even more knowing they are all certified organic.

Currently celebrating 17 years growing in beautiful Benton Harbor, Earth First Farms offers organic strawberries, blueberries, apples and other fruits. Upick and already picked produce are available. Come join us and create a new, laid back, family tradition!

All forms of payment are accepted & visitors are encouraged to call first.

Summer Activities for Kids Outside

As the days grow longer and the sun shines brighter, we recommend maximizing your family time outdoors.

Whether it’s a lazy day at the beach to build sandcastles or a full day of visiting furry and scaly friends at the zoo, there are summer activities for all ages to enjoy. Grab your sunglasses, lemonade, and sunscreen and embark on your outside adventures.

Parks, Playgrounds & Lakes

1 | Explore the trails and natural playground at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.

Kalamazoo-Nature-Center-Playground-natural-water-splash-pad-park

2 | Visit Aslyum Lake for some outdoor fun and Kodak-worthy moments.

Asylum-Lake-Preserve girl throwing rocks in water

3 | If your little one is a climber, take her to one of the toddler-friendly parks in Southwest Michigan.

4 | Go for a hike at one of the Kalamazoo-area trails.

5 | Feed the fish at Wolf Lake Fish Hatchery.

6 | Explore one of the Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy‘s ten public nature preserves.

7 | Grab the sunblock and towels and head to Ramona Park Beach.

families at the beach - Ramona Park Beach
Ramona Beach is free for Portage residents; non-residents can purchase passes.

8 | Play a round of mini-golf at Jungle Joe’s Family Fun Center.

9 | Not a fan of sand in your car? Enjoy some sand-free water play at a splash pad.

10 | Make it a beach and playground day with a day trip to St. Joe.

11| Play pickleball at Kindleberger Park.

Kalamazoo Park, Parchment Park
Photo: City of Parchment

Outdoor Amusement Centers, Zoos & Attractions

12 | Visit the alligators, camels and goats at Boulder Ridge Wild Animal Park.

13 | Play mini-golf, brave the ropes course or zoom around the track on go-karts at Airway Fun Center.

14 | Walk the trails and visit the waterfowl at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary.

15 | Bring the marshmallows and go camping.

16 | Hold and feed gators at Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary in Athens.

Families visit alligator sanctuary

17 | Feed the giraffes and visit Raj the snow leopard at Binder Park Zoo.

Binder-Park-Zoo-feeding-the-girafes

18 | Say giddyup and get ready to hit the trails while horseback riding.

Other Fun Outdoor Activities

19 | Rent a canoe, kayak or SUP for the day and have a family adventure.

teen kayaking
photo: Plainwell Kakak Company

20 | Go on a geocaching adventure somewhere new. If you’re new to the geocaching scene, try these tips to get started.

21| Try out an old-fashioned lawn game like badminton, croquet or bocce ball.

22 | Visit the Spinosaurus and other prehistoric friends at Western Michigan University’s Dinosaur Park.

Dinosaur Park is located just east of Rood Hall on WMU’s campus.

23 | Visit Kalamazoo’s Art Hop on the first Friday of each month. Browse local talent at this FREE event.

24 | Hop aboard a train and watch the world pass by on one of these Train-tastic Adventures.

25 | Invite whimsy by planning and planting a Fairy Garden in your yard.

26 | Catch a movie with Portage’s Movies in the Park.

27 | Paint rocks and hide them for others to find around town. Share your creations with Kalamazoo Rocks.

Indoor Activities in Kalamazoo

While we love summertime weather in Kalamazoo, sometimes Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. Whether it’s too hot, too rainy or you just need a change of scenery, there is no shortage of indoor play options to engage the family.

We’ve highlighted high energy activities where kids can run and play, as well as lower-key projects to do at home.

Bounce, Jump & Play

28 | Strike! Go bowling with the family at Airway Fun Center. Be sure to try the Kids Bowl Free program.

Bowling Lanes Portage
Airway is one of three local Kids Bowl Free bowling alleys.

29 | Bounce your way over to Airborne Adventure‘s trampoline park and try the ninja warrior course, x-swing or zip line. 

30 | Suit up the family for laser tag at Revel & Roll West.

31 | Comb our list of Indoor Play Areas, to discover somewhere new to beat the summer heat.

32 | Play some Donkey Kong or Pac-Man at Klassic Arcade.

33 | Take a leap of faith, literally, at Allegan Event. Climb on and over 85 rope elements as you maneuver your way around the course.

34 | Have big kids? Take them to Climb Kalamazoo (more ideas for teens and tweens here).

Museums & Libraries

35 | Broadcast the latest news and weather forecast from Kalamazoo Valley Museum.

36 | The flight simulators are back! Soar to new simulated heights at the Air Zoo.

37 | Pick up a new set of bedtime stories from the Portage or Kalamazoo libraries.

Portage Library Building
The Portage District Library reopens May 9, 2022

38 | Explore the latest masterpieces at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.

Other Things to Try

39 | Play Mouse Trap, Sorry, or other favorite board games. 

40 | Gather books you no longer read and donate to a Free Little Library.

41 | Go swim at an indoor pool.

42 | Make a photo journal or scrapbook of all of the memories the family will make this summer.

43 | Make a Snuffle Mat for your dog, or donate one the SPCA or Kalamazoo Animal Rescue.

44 | Press summer flowers and use them for homemade bookmarks or cards.

45 | Restock your art supplies from Colors & Cocktails.

Art Kits Kalamazoo

46 | Grab your telescope and do late-night stargazing.

47 | Make your own candle or sand candle (no drying time!) at Kalamazoo Candle Company. Visit them downtown or at their new shop in Portage, across the street from Target!

48 | Build your own terrarium at Mason Jar Plant Shop.

49 | Go paint pottery at Art Bayou or pick up a kit to go.

Kalamazoo Pottery Painting
Photo: Art Bayou

Kalamazoo Restaurants & Food

Kalamazoo has a fantastically diverse set of restaurants to satisfy every palette. Whether it’s pizza, sushi, grape leaves or Pad Thai, this area can cover your family’s appetite.

And when you’re ready for dessert, make sure you have room for rolled ice cream, decadent cakes, handmade candy and macarons.

Beyond sampling the local favorites, summer also provides a fun time to experiment with cooking at home. This list also includes some fun recipes to try with your family.

Restaurants, Bakeries & Farmers Markets

50 | Grab a scoop of strawberry ice cream at one of Kalamazoo’s best ice cream spots.

51 | Take the kids on a surprise donut run to Sweetwater’s Donut Mill or Peace, Love, and Little Donuts.

52 | Try out a new breakfast spot, and get your eggs sunny side up.

53 | Dine al fresco with the family on one of Kalamazoo’s outdoor patios.

Kalamazoo Outdoor Dining
photo: One Well Brewing

54 | Try a pickle pizza from Jac’s or Louie’s Trophy House.

55 | Try some unique, over-the-top food from local restaurants.

Unique Food Monster Shake Cherri's Chocol'art
Try a Monster shake from Cherri’s Chocol’art

56 | Feel like a kid in a candy shop at Rocket Fizz or Mattawan Candy Company.

57 | Celebrate a summer birthday with cake from a favorite bakery.

58 | Grab some late-night grub from the Late Night Food Truck Rally.

59 | Visit a farmer’s market and stock up on locally grown goodies. 

60 | Pick up a grilled cheese kit from The Cheese Lady in Texas Corners.

61 | Try a Boston Cooler from the soda bar at Schultz’s Treat Street.

62 | Cool off with some Boba tea from local shop.

Best Boba Tea- Cravings Deli
Photo: Cravings Deli

Cook at Home

63 | Bake a strawberry cake after fruit picking with the family.

Strawberry Picking

64 | Make your own healthy and delicious popsicles or fruit slushies.

65 | Make meals together. The kids can help with these recipes.

66 | Blend frozen bananas to make a smooth, cool treat. (Daniel Tiger fans will know this as banana swirl).

67 | Make your own lemonade and “sell” it to family members from a cardboard stand.

Fairs & Festivals

Festivals and fairs are summertime staples in Southwest Michigan. Live music, games and delicious food (hello, elephant ears!) are all ingredients for a great family experience.

Each summer, these events return to Kalamazoo with a mix of time-honored traditions and new and fun experiences.

Summer Camps & Classes

Camps and classes are a fun way to keep children’s brains energized and learning during the summer break from schoolwork. Whether your child is interested in creative endeavors like art or music or more physical activities like sports, Kalamazoo offers a diverse set of camps to meet all families’ needs.

There are more summer camps and class offerings for 2022. Make sure to sign up early, as many favorites fill up quickly.

Summer Camps

74 | Western Michigan University’s Dollars and Sense Camp will have your big kid (grades 8-12) budgeting, investing and saving in no time.

75 | Explore your creative side with summer camps at the KIA for grades 1 – 12.

76 | The Air Zoo is inspiring future engineers and scientists with summer camps for preschoolers through twelfth grade.

77 | Looking for an overnight camp? Since 1950, Van Buren Youth Camp has welcomed kids to Great Bear Lake to swim, kayak, make arts and crafts and play sports.

78 | Getting OUTSIDE is a priority with Kalamazoo Nature Center. They even offer a Thursday overnight camp out for the big kids!

Kalamazoo Nature Center kids playing in creek
Photo: Kalamazoo Nature Center

79 | Camp Kzoo is full of adventure, with daily trips to places like the Kik Pool, Rollerworld, and the movie theater.

Summer Classes

80 | Want to bond with some music classes? Crescendo Academy of Music is offering its Music Together classes this summer for caregivers and little ones.

81 | Kingdom Soccer offers youth soccer classes starting at age 2.

82 | Kalamazoo Music School offers the ultimate in flexibility for families; kids interested in learning an instrument or voice lessons can take them 7 days a week!

83 | Soccer Shots engages kids aged 2-8 in soccer skills, using parks in multiple cities near Kalamazoo.

Take a Road Trip

While Kalamazoo is pretty amazing, sometimes it’s good to break out of your comfort zone and explore somewhere new.

You can try a new amusement park, museum, zoo or beach and still have enough gas in the tank to return home.

Whether you’re looking for a day trip or are ready to pack the bags for a weekend away, we have you covered with our favorite family road trips.

Day Trips Within 2 Hours

84 | Watch the trees come to life in the Fantasy Forest at Leila Arboretum

Kids visit parks Leila Arboretum

85 | Plan a shopping day at the Tanger Outlet Mall in Byron Center.

86 | Say hello to the tigers and penguins at John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids.

87 | Head to Lansing and visit Impression 5 Science Center or Potter Park Zoo.

88 | Take a day trip to South Haven: swim, walk the pier and shop during the day. Stay for the Lake Michigan sunset.

89 | Immerse yourself in art and flowers at Fred Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

90 | Go zip lining through the trees at TreeRunner Adventure Park in Grand Rapids.

91 | Go grocery shopping or play banker at the Kids ‘N’ Stuff Museum in Albion.

92 | Barrel down the dunes in a schooner by booking a ride with Saugatuck Dune Rides.

93 | Raining? Get in the car and visit our favorite Grand Rapids indoor play places.

94 | Explore the Curious Kids Museum in St. Joseph, ride the Silver Beach Carousel and explore a playground on the beach!.

95 | Visit Moo-ville and learn how milk and ice cream are made. Stay and see the animals in the FREE petting farm.

Boy with cow at Dairy Farm near Battle Creek

Get Away for a Weekend

96 | If your family likes thrill rides, check out Michigan’s Adventure. Don’t forget the swimsuits for their outdoor waterpark.

Fun things to do in summer coaster

97 | Take a road trip to Detroit and visit Belle Isle.

98 | Beat the traffic and take the train to Chicago and explore the Magnificent Mile.

99 | Head east to Auburn Hills and visit Peppa Pig World of Play, LEGOLAND Discovery Center, and SEA LIFE Aquarium.

100 | Cross one place off your bucket ‘visit’ list from our 18 places to take your kids in Michigan before they grow up.

Pictured Rocks
Pictured Rocks is one of 15 bucket list-worthy stops in Michigan.

101 | Spend a weekend away at the Grand Hotel at Mackinac Island.

102 | Need more ideas? Here are our picks for family-friendly destinations within a 2-5 hour drive.