Autumn in northwest Michigan is a time to recognize our region’s harvest and take in the vibrant and changing colors across our wooded landscape. Below are a few local activities that not only include kid-friendly must haves like restrooms, parking, covered areas, and more, but also celebrate the bounty of the season.
Northwest Michigan is abundant in farms including orchards and pumpkin patches, with many geared toward families offering kid-friendly activities like hayrides, corn mazes, and pumpkin picking. Be sure to check out Fleming Farms in Gaylord. Starting in October, they offer regular weekend hay rides as well as donuts, cider, pumpkins, and a corn maze. Established in 1909, Greer Farms in McBain offers kid-friendly activities including farm animals, draft horses and carriage rides, and a pumpkin patch. You can enjoy a real cider mill experience at Uncle Frank’s Apple Town in Brutus, just 10 minutes north of Petoskey. Kids can watch donuts and cider being made, pick apples from the orchard, and of course sample the fruits of the farm: free pressed apple cider, apple donuts, and other bakery items. Uncle Frank’s also offers hayrides and a corn maze!
Nature, Science, Art Discovery
Fall is a reminder of the great transformations that occurs in nature. You can celebrate this time of year by checking out the seasonal exhibits offered at the Boardman River Nature Center. The displays encourage interaction and feature Michigan’s most interesting fauna and flora. Raven Hill Discovery Center located in East Jordan, also offers hands-on science, history and art exploration with indoor and outdoor exhibits throughout the year. Bonus: Raven Hill offers FREE (Families Reaching for Educational Excellence) admission the second Saturday of each month.
The Headlands, an Emmet County park located two miles west of downtown Mackinaw City, is one of 20 Dark Sky Parks located worldwide. This park offers stargazers exceptional views of the night sky. Visit in March or September and you may see the Northern Lights. This park is open 24/7 and includes a one-mile paved interpretive trail from the Headlands entrance to the designated Dark Sky Viewing Area. It features cultural docents, indigenous artwork and regional photography that interpret humanity’s relationship to the night sky over the centuries and across a variety of cultures.
There are many different kinds of kid-friendly activities that offer stimulation and opportunities to interact and connect with your child. Be sure to check out what’s available and offered in your community and the surrounding area.