Places to Go Out And About (Safely) in and around Ann Arbor/Detroit this Winter
Your family could really use a fun outing, but you're committed to social distancing. You've already walked your neighborhood, and many of your usual destinations are too crowded for comfort. Luckily, there are new and interesting places to explore while staying a safe distance from others. If you can, switch your schedule and do your outings on weekdays to avoid weekend crowds. KidsOutAndAbout offers a few suggestions you may not have considered, and all of them nearby.
Swoosh Into the Season With Winter Sports
There's never been a better time to learn a new winter sport. Staying at home all the time is tedious, and we're all hoping that we can make this winter fly by. If you're not sure where to get started, begin with our Embrace the Winter article that offers an overview of some outdoor sports you might like to try. Whether you try ice skating, snowboarding, skiing or snowshoeing first we've got Big List of places within driving distance. Planning a weekend ski trip? Different resorts may be following different protocols, and you'll need to research area covid protocols if you'll be crossing state lines. Be sure to click on the ski resorts website to get all the details before setting out.
Visit the Animals
While you're staying away from crowds of people, now's a great time for some animal encounters and the peace we find in the natural world. Domino's Petting Farm is open several days a week with opportunities for you and your kids to explore the barns and paddocks while breathing in plenty of fresh air and enjoying the distraction of the animals in winter. The Creature Conservancy is offering special private tours. The Family Friendly Tour is perfect for kids under 10. It's a little bit shorter, moves a little quicker (to accommodate shorter attention spans) and does not include direct contact with the animals. The Private Zoo Tour is great for families with kids over 10. Tours generally last about ninety minutes and include opportunities to touch and feed some of the animals.
Take A Hike
If you dress appropriately, you can take a hike year-round. It's great exercise, it lets you connect with nature and each other, and best of all, it's free. Put away the phones (except for cool activities like geocaching, looking up new plants, or making a photo collage or map) and head out to the trail! Click the link below for nearby options, and also check out our article of tips and tricks for making the most of the experience and avoiding whining.
Winter At the Drive-In
Pfft - what's a little snow and cold temperatures to we Michiganders? The fun doesn't end just because winter arrives and the Ford Drive-In is here to prove it. With a philosophy that says, "If the people want to see a movie, we'll show them a movie (or two)," the Ford is open SEVEN nights a week! Current movies are posted on their website and Facebook page so definitely check there to see if they have a family-friendly movie scheduled and to make sure that some impending blizzard hasn't forced them to close.
Soothe Your Soul at SEA Life
It's a scientific fact that watching fish swim lowers your blood pressure. Imagine what watching hundreds or thousands of fish can do for you! SEA Life has implemented protocols allowing for socially distant visits including limited capacity, timed admission, health screenings, one-way exhibit viewing and the temporary closure of the play area and Doodle Reef. You can see the full list of safety measures on their website.
Go On A Hunt
Kids love a good hunt! There is something very motivating and satisfying about seaching for something, whether it's treasure or not. One fun way to lean into that impulse is to go geocaching. Did you know that little treasures are hidden all over the place? If you've never tried geocaching, it's a wonderful opportunity for kids to get some activity outside while using using their deductive skills. There are also tons of companies that offer virtual scavenger hunts, either for items that you can find just about anywhere, or region-specific hunts that provide a tour of a special place. Both activities offer the chance to safely explore while keeping a distance from others.
When Staying Home Is the Only Option
We know that things are changing quickly, and whether it's new local regulations or your own family's need to isolate, even the safest "out and about" options may not be appropriate for you at some point this winter. If that's the case, keep in mind that we've got plenty of ideas to keep life interesting while you're at home.