Bucket List of Experience for Kids in Kalamazoo
We are all too familiar with the expression, “The days are long, but the years are short“, right?
Before we know it, our kids are in school and “too cool” for things they once loved. So, what are some of the unique things to do around Kalamazoo before your kids grow up?
We all know, it doesn’t require a fancy vacation to make a lifetime of memories with the kids. Get ready for the bucket list to end all bucket lists that features 60+ awesome adventures and experiences for children. Bonus, many of these experiences are free or cheap.
There is something for every season, grab your calendar and start planning!
60 Ideas to do in Kalamazoo as a Kid
1. Visit the Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery during the summer and take part in their catch and release fishing basics. For ages three to 16. Or visit any time to feed the fish and explore the Visitor’s Center.
2. Feed the alligators at Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary.
3. Visit the Silver Beach Carousel in St. Joseph. Pick between 48 unique carousel figures and ride beneath twinkling lights.
4. Get up close and personal with animals during a weekly Creature Feature or stroller stroll at the Kalamazoo Nature Center.
5. Visit Wild Africa at Binder Park Zoo and feed the giraffes.
6. Learn about fire safety and visit a fire station during Fire Prevention Week.
7. Meet your favorite book characters and take home a children’s book at Kalamazoo Public Library’s Party in the Park during the summer.
8. Get your magnifying glass and attend the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts’ Art Detective Program. Admission to the KIA is always free for children under 12.
9. Take a ride in this majestic 26-foot indoor Ferris wheel as you scan the exhibits at the Air Zoo.
10. Root for your favorite local college team by visiting a Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo College or Kalamazoo Community College sporting event.
11. Pick fresh fruit at a local U-pick farm.
12. Experience old school fun with Nostalgic-Inspired ideas around Kalamazoo. Watch a movie at a drive-in theater, lace up and go roller skating, and play arcade games.
13. Soar down the perfect sledding hill and try other fun outdoor winter adventures.
14. “Chuck-A-Puck” at a Kalamazoo Wings Hockey Game and don’t forget to find Slappy the Mascot.
15. Enjoy delicious pancakes and syrup at Kalamazoo Nature Center while experience the maple sugaring process up close at the annual Maple Sugar Festival held annually in March.
16. Bounce over to Sky Zone Kalamazoo where the kids can jump with friends their own size.
17. Make new friends when you visit a favorite Toddler-Friendly Park Around Kalamazoo.
18. Watch the hot air balloons soar at the Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival or Kalamazoo Balloon Festival.
19. Dine with royalty during a Princess Tea at Henderson Castle.
20. Plan a visit to the Kalamazoo Valley Museum. The Burton Henry Upjohn Children’s Landscape room offers plenty of hands-on learning.
21. Take a walk around the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary to spot a variety of birds on their three miles of paths.
22. Stay steady at the outdoor Millennium Park Ice Rink.
23. Visit a story time at Barnes and Noble or peruse the great selection of children’s books at Bookbug.
24. Cool off at the splash pad at River Oaks Park in Galesburg.
25. Take a dip at the Kik Pool at Upjohn Park.
26. Visit Delano Homestead Farmyard for Farmyard Wednesdays in the summer and feed the animals.
27. Learn about natural history for FREE at the Kingman Museum in Battle Creek.
28. Cultivate your musical experience at a family-friendly Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Family Discovery Concert at Chenery Auditorium.
29. Springtime signals the emergence of beautiful butterflies. Make a trip to the annual Butterflies are Blooming event at Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids.
30. Take a ride on the Holly Jolly Trolley in Downtown Kalamazoo over the winter holidays.
31. Learn beginning gymnastics skills at a nearby tumble spot – try an open gym session.
32. Watch the entertaining Do-Dah Parade in downtown Kalamazoo in June to see fun floats and wackiness from local organizations.
33. Visit Old Dog Tavern on a Saturday morning to groove to music- by BenJammin Educational Music. Kids are invited to join the band, on stage under the spotlights!
34. Take in a Children’s Storytime at the Kalamazoo Public Library or Portage District Library.
35. Enjoy a toddler-friendly obstacle course, music and playtime at a Just Move Fitness Play Date. It’s a toddler party.
36. A perennial favorite in a fall is a visit to Gull Meadow Farms. Scoop up corn in the corn crib, pick apples, feed goats and get lost in the corn maze.
37. Experience all things locomotive in person – take a train ride on a steam engine or zip around on a zoo train.
38. Let your kids create a masterpiece by painting a piece of pottery at Art Bayou.
39. Visit the Kaleidoscope Garden at Leila Arboretum in Battle Creek.
40. Take a seat in tractors, trucks and emergency service vehicles in the spring at the Big Truck Petting Zoo at the Portage District Library or the Touch-a-Truck event with over 50+ unique vehicles.
41. Grab a spoon and be part of the “World’s Longest Breakfast Table” at Cereal Fest in Battle Creek, where kids will have the chance to meet some of their favorite breakfast characters and enjoy cereal. Stay and watch the festival and parade.
42. Fall isn’t complete without a stop to visit “Gene the Pumpkin Man” to pick out a pumpkin.
43. From Key Lime to New York Cheesecake and every flavor in between, Sweetwater’s Donut Mill is often considered the best-tasting donuts in Southwest Michigan. Help the kids find their official favorite donut.
44. Pick a car to root for at the Kalamazoo Speedway.
45. Visit all of the farm animals at the Kalamazoo County Fair in August where “kids day is every day.”
46. Step back in time and dine at George and Sally’s Blue Moon Diner at the Gilmore Car Museum.
47. Make the perfect scent together at a Kids Day Out Kalamazoo Candle Workshop.
48. Pie for everyone! Visit the best places to get pie in Kalamazoo.
49. Gather the family and head to Binder Park Zoo for a one-of-a-kind overnight experience with a surfari slumber party.
50. Where’s Waldo? Find Waldo around Kalamazoo in July.
51. Test out a violin or a flute at a Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra Instrument Petting Zoo.
52. Give Porter the mascot a high-five and cheer on the Kalamazoo Growlers Baseball Team at a home game.
53. Take advantage of FREE (or almost free) family-friendly movies at Celebration Cinema Crossroads during Flick’s Family Film Festival or a Morning Movie at Goodrich Kalamazoo 10 at special times throughout the year.
54. For families with children under the age of five, attend a mini-concert for FREE at a Fontana Crybaby Concert.
55. Travel to space during a planetarium show at the Kalamazoo Valley Museum or consider other space-tastic places to explore in Kalamazoo and beyond.
56. Make the most of the long winter in Michigan by finding a favorite, cozy hot chocolate spot.
57. During the holiday season, visit the Holiday House 5777 at Christmas for an amazing blow-up decoration display.
58. Trick-or-Treat at Binder Park Zoo’s ZOO-BOO in October.
59. Enjoy indoor swimming, year-round with a variety of options listed on the Indoor Swim Guide.
60. Take a family bike ride on the Kalamazoo River Valley Trail, offering 35 miles of paved surface, or the Portage Bikeway.
61. Celebrate red, white and blue by attending the Schoolcraft 4th of July Parade, or other Independence Day event.
62. Older children and teens will enjoy a home-away-from-home at a summer camp where they can roast marshmallows over a campfire and make life-long memories.
62. Dip your toe in the crystal blue water of Lake Michigan or other beaches in Southwest Michigan.
63. Finally, capture the family in postcard-worthy views and sights at one of the best photo worthy locations in the area.
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