Summer Bucketlist 2016-06-14T20:17:42+00:00

We love summer in Kalamazoo & Southwest Michigan! It is a great time to get outdoors with your kids and explore all of the great things that Kalamazoo has to offer!

We’ve included things from not only the Kalamazoo area, but many ideas that are within a few hours driving distance of Kalamazoo. These are perfect ideas for family fun.

Plus, this year we’ve included some of our road trip ideas. Summer is a great season to get out and explore the beauty of our region.

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75 Things to Do with Your Kids This Summer

  1. Catch a Kalamazoo Growlers baseball game. You’ll love these family friendly games and the awesome schedule of events this year.
  2. Attend a Summer Camp… or two or three! See our Summer Camp Guide for the awesome summer camps offered in our area.
  3. On a rainy day, go to a movie. We can’t wait for Finding Dory coming to theaters on June 17. Bonus, plan to attend the Finding Dory Cereal Party event at the Alamo Drafthouse.
  4. Go for a hike at the Kalamazoo Nature Center or at Fort Custer. Take the kids on an easy beginner hike.
  5. Attend one of the Children’s program at Leila Arboretum in Battle Creek. We love all of their great programs for this summer.
  6. See some alligators at the Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary or birds at the Kellogg Bird Sanctuary.
  7. Touch a big truck at the Big Truck Petting Zoo at the Portage District Library.
  8. Ride the Trolley in Grand Haven and get a tour of the town.
  9. Head to Amish Country in Shipshawnee and take a buggy ride. While you are there, check out Dutch Creek Animal Park. Our readers love it!
  10. Vist the Cheese Lady in Kalamazoo and taste some of the best cheeses around.
  11. Attend the Kalamazoo County Fair on August 8-13. Your kids will loved the themed days this year!
  12. Join one or two of the summer reading programs offered by the area libraries.
  13. Attend an area Art Fair or Art Hop on the first Friday of each month.
  14. Take the Train to Chicago. While you’re there check out these 10 Kid-Friendly Attractions. 
  15. Watch an Outdoor Summer Movie. Grab the kids and go!
  16. Introduce your kids to golf. The Kalamazoo Junior Golf Association has a great summer program.
  17. Go berry picking – strawberries, blueberries, raspberries.
  18. Check out a new to you petting zoo. Your kiddos will love the chance to interact with the animals.
  19. Take a train ride on the Coopersville & Marne Railway Train or the Little River Railroad in Coldwater.
  20. Visit Mooville and learn about how milk and ice cream is made! 
  21. Visit the splash pad at Silver Beach in St. Joseph or at River Oaks Park.
  22. Take a road trip to Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. Attend one of the Children’s Garden summer activities while visiting.
  23. Catch one of the 4th of July Fireworks displays. Watch for our firework guide coming out later this month.
  24. Take a family bike ride at a the Portage Pathway or the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail.
  25. Need a thrill? See some of the area places that your kids can find a ride.
  26. Participate in the world’s longest ice cream dessert at the House of Flavors in Ludington. 
  27. See history come alive with the Civil War Muster at Historic Charlton Park.
  28. Visit a local Farmers’ Markets to check out all of the great local produce.
  29. Grab your running shoes and join one of the great fun runs happening this summer.
  30. Take a swim at Ramona Park or Fort Custer. Or find some great area beaches.
  31. Visit the Silver Lake Sand Dunes or book at adventure package at the Silver Lake Campground and Resort.
  32. Try Foot Golf which combines elements of soccer and golf. Saturdays at 2 pm at the Red Arrow Golf Course.
  33. Have a nighttime photo shoot with sparklers.
  34. Go fishing at the Wolf Lake Hatchery.
  35. Find a local food truck and have lunch there. Check out Lunchtime Live! at Bronson Park on Fridays from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm beginning June 10.
  36. Head over to Battle Creek to see the “World’s Longest Breakfast Table” and Cereal Festival.
  37. Enjoy one of the great productions at the Kindleburger Summer Festival.
  38. Take in a Wild Wednesday program at the Bird Sanctuary.
  39. Summer is not complete without a day trip to the beach….South Haven, St. Joseph, or Saugatuck are all beautiful.
  40. Your kids will LOVE the LEGO Travel Adventure exhibit at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. Plus, it’s free!
  41. Find a park you haven’t been to and visit it. See our listing of Kalamazoo Park Guide for our favorite parks in the area.
  42. Attend the Battle Creek Air Show and Hot Air Balloon Festival in July. You won’t want to miss the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds!
  43. Love alfresco dining? Check out these outdoor patio dining hotspots.
  44. Pack a picnic and take it to the Air Zoo picnic area. Watch the airplanes take off and land. If you’re looking for an adventure, bi-plane rides fly out of their East Camp.
  45. Take in a Michigan waterpark on a rainy day or weekend.
  46. Go to a parade around the area.
  47. The summer concerts series offered in Bronson Park and Kindleberger Park are wonderful! Pack a blanket, a picnic, and enjoy!
  48. Plant flowers in outdoor containers and deliver them to friends.
  49. Go out for donuts for breakfast to Sweetwater Donuts.
  50. Go horseback riding.
  51. Discover Detroit! You’ll love all of the great family activities including Michigan Science Center, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan, and more!
  52. Always wanted to be a pirate? Check out the Pirate Chaser cruise in South Haven for a fun summer adventure.
  53. Go to Michigan’s Adventure for the day. They have a new Farmland Farm with a full petting zoo this year. (Remember the days of Deer Park Funland?)
  54. Camp out in the backyard (or in your living room).
  55. Movie time! Head out to a cheap summer movie. Both the Alamo Drafthouse and the Kalamazoo 10 are offering cheap summer movies.
  56. Rent a kayak or a canoe for a family water adventure.
  57. Visit the barn animals at the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Or even more fun, help out with their Saturday morning chores.
  58. Experience the new POPnology exhibit at the Air Zoo for a hands-on journey of innovation, creativity, science, and wonder as you’ll experience popular culture’s impact on technology,
  59. Attend an event at the Historic Charlton Park.
  60. Visit either Binder Park Zoo to feed the giraffes or John Ball Zoo to see tigers or the Detroit Zoo to see their new penguin exhibit.
  61. Visit a Michigan lighthouse.
  62. There are so many festivals during the summer…RibFest, Taste of Kalamazoo, etc. make sure to attend at least one.
  63. Ice cream and summertime go hand in hand. Check out our readers favorite places.
  64. Visit Milwaukee. We love Miller Park, the great food, museums, and more and just it’s just four hours away.
  65. Attend the Vicksburg Old-Fashioned Car Festival and check out the old cars, arts and craft show, and ice cream social.
  66. Take a day with nothing planned, head outside and just enjoy!
  67. Head over to LEGOLAND Discovery Center that just opened this Spring. The LEGO-lover in your family will love it!
  68. It’s not too late to catch one of these late spring/early summer festivals.
  69. Attend the Family Fit Festival and connect with local organizations to help you stay active and healthy.
  70. Send the kids to a Vacation Bible School. Most of those are FREE and offer some great weekly programs.
  71. Invest in a new board game. Perfect for a rainy day or when you’re planning a family game night.
  72. Plan a date night with your special someone. We’ve got a lot of ideas for some active fun. Or head to an area restaurant to grab a great meal and some alone time.
  73. Head north to the West Michigan Chalk Art Festival at Tanger Outlet Mall.
  74. Read to the kids. See the summer reading recommendations from our friends at Bookbug.
  75. Take a boat ride. West Michigan has so many fun options in Saugutuck, South Haven, Muskegon, Ludington and more.

What’s on your summer bucketlist? Tag your Instagram photos #kzookidssummer to share your adventures.

Hope You Have A Great Summer! -Fun Starts Here logo