Best museums for Michigan families
With exhibits relating to science, history, art and more, Michigan’s museums offer education that doubles as entertainment. Visit one of these great museums soon. Who knows? You just might learn something.
Whether you're a kid or just a kid at heart, you're encouraged to reach out and touch the exhibits at the Impression 5 Science Center. While most museums provide detailed descriptions near each exhibit, at Impression 5, some of the exhibits have intentionally been left without explanation, requiring visitors to figure things out on their own through experimentation. Join the museum for themed Super Saturdays and Scientific Sundays. Free wireless access is available throughout the museum.
Located at Museum Drive off of Michigan Ave., Lansing, MI; Hours: Open 10am-5pm Monday through Friday, 10am-7pm Saturday and 12pm-5pm Sunday; Closed major holidays; Admission: $5 – Adults and Students, $4.50 – Seniors. Children pay their age up to age 5.
Abracadabra! Make yourself appear at the American Museum of Magic, open April through October. Housing the largest privately owned collection of its kind, the museum aims to educate the public, preserve artifacts and celebrate magic as entertainment (not the occult). With nearly a million items from around the world dating back to the 16th century, magic lovers will have plenty to keep themselves busy.
Located at 107 East Michigan Ave., Marshall, MI; Hours: Open 10am-4pm Thursday through Saturday April through May and September through October; Open 10am-4pm Tuesday through Saturday June through August; Admission: $5 – Adults, $3.50 – Children and Seniors.
Finally – a place where you won't have to say, "Don't touch that" throughout your visit. Touching is practically required at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. Exhibits relating to science, math and technology will captivate curious kids of all ages. The pre-school gallery is ideal for children and babies aged four and under. The museum participates in the ACM and ASTC Travel Passport programs.
Located on East Ann Street between Fourth and Fifth Avenues, Ann Arbor, MI; Hours: Open 10am-5pm Monday through Saturday and 12pm-5pm Sunday; Open Tuesdays beginning at 9am; Admission: $9. Children under two are free.
Maybe you heard it through the grapevine – the Motown Historical Museum is one of Detroit's most popular tourist attractions. The house known as Hitsville USA, now home to the Motown Historical Museum, is where the great music of Motown was born. View the original recording studio and a fascinating collection of Motown memorabilia. Guided tours are offered during the museum's operating hours. No cameras are allowed.
Located at 2648 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI; Hours: Open 10am-6pm Monday through Saturday July through August; Open 10am-6pm Tuesday through Saturday September through June; Admission: $10 – Adult. $8 – Senior and child under 12.
From paintings to sculptures, Impressionist art to Modern, the Flint Institute of Arts presents a wide spectrum of artwork for visitors to admire. More than 7,500 works of art reside in the FIA permanently, and the museum welcomes special exhibitions throughout the year. You can enjoy a free, self-guided audio tour or browse at your leisure. No food, drinks or gum are allowed inside.
Flint, MI; Hours: 12pm-5pm Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 12:pm-9pm Thursday, 10am-5pm Saturday and 1pm-5pm Sunday; Admission: General Admission is free, Special exhibitions: $7 – Adult, $5 – Student and Senior, Free – Child under 12 and all visitors on Saturdays.
As the name suggests, The Henry Ford has an enormous collection of cars on display, from the Model T to the Lincoln Continental that John F. Kennedy was riding in when he was assassinated to a nuclear-powered Ford Nucleon. But beyond the wheels, the Henry Ford Museum has an impressive collection of Americana. The Henry Ford complex also includes an IMAX Theater, The Ford Rouge Factory Tour of a working automobile factory, and Greenfield Village, a collection of historic buildings manned by employees in period costumes performing period chores and activities.
Dearborn, MI; Hours: Open 7 days a week, 9:30am-5pm; Admission: $15 – Adult, $14 – Senior and Active Military, $11 – Child, Free – 4 and under.
The Weird Michigan Wax Museum tells the stories of Michigan's colorful characters. The museum uses dioramas featuring life-sized wax figures that focus on the strange history, folklore and legends of Michigan. Learn about the snake princess of Belle Isle, the Michigan dog man, the Soop Cemetery ghost and others. The museum now also features an outdoor mining experience allowing guests to pan for gold and gems.
Saint Ignace, MI; Hours: Open 9am-8pm Monday through Saturday and 10am-7pm Sunday Mid-May through Labor Day, Open 9am-6pm Monday through Saturday and 10am-6pm Sunday Labor Day through mid-October; Admission: $7 – Adult, $5 – Senior and Child (6-12), Free – 5 and under, $30 – Family pack (6 admissions).
As the world's largest institution dedicated to the African American experience, the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History has an impressive collection of artifacts and archival materials. The central experience of the museum is the And Still We Rise exhibition, tracing the journey from Africa to present day, and there are other permanent and temporary exhibitions providing an even fuller history. With regularly changing exhibitions, you will learn something new every time you visit.
Detroit, MI; Hours: Open 9am-5pm Tuesday through Sunday, 1pm-5pm Sunday; Admission: $8 – Adult, $5 – Senior and Child (3-12), Free – Child under 2.
The Curious Kids' Museum was voted the best place to take kids in Southwest Michigan by area residents, and they ought to know. The museum is an interactive playground for the mind, with over 100 exhibits in science, history, culture and technology. Family programs are presented every Saturday, and on Wednesdays, the Wee Discover program offers special activities for toddlers and preschoolers. A second location called the Curious Kids' Discovery Zone has opened in the same complex, and discounts are available when you purchase tickets to both locations.
Located at 415 Lake Blvd., Saint Joseph, MI; Hours: Open 10am-5pm Wednesday through Saturday and 12-5 Sunday September through May; Open 10am-5pm Monday through Saturday and 12-5 Sunday June through Labor Day; Admission: $4 – Anyone 1 and older September through May, $6 – Anyone 1 and older June through Labor Day.
With great exhibits and a variety of programs, the Upper Peninsula Children's Museum wants children and families to have fun in their interactive learning environment. Children can pilot an airplane, step inside a real ambulance or walk through a giant head! The museum offers a vacation package, allowing out of town visitors to purchase a weeklong family pass at a discounted rate. And if you really can't get enough of the place, they offer a sleepover option as well.
Located on West Baraga Ave., Marquette, MI; Hours: Open 10am-6pm Monday through Wednesday and Saturday, 10am-7:30pm Thursday, 10am-8pm Friday, 12pm-5pm Sunday; Admission: $5.00 – Adults and children, Free – Infants, $25.00 – Family rate.