Staycation: FREE and Cheap Things to Do in Metro Detroit

With the high price of gas right now, many people are opting to forgo the family vacation.  However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a good time…instead have a Staycation!  You can explore your own city with FREE and inexpensive things to do around town.

Since I live in the metro Detroit, Michigan area (on the west side of the city), I am going to list some of our favorite activities.  However, you won’t miss out even if you don’t live in my area, since tomorrow I will post a huge list of Staycation posts from around the country.  Hopefully, you’ll be able to find a someone who lives in your area.

Splash Parks or Sprayscapes:

There are a variety of FREE sprayscapes around town that are fun for a morning/afternoon or even a full-day of fun, including:

Hiking and Biking

Although this is a suburban area, there are still several parks where you can go hiking, including:

  • Woodland Hills Park in Farmington Hills
  • Saturday in the Park – a large section of Hines Drive is closed to car traffic on Saturdays from 9 am to 3:30 pm for biking

Museum Adventure Pass:

Check your local metro Detroit library to see if they are participating in the Museum Adventure Pass program.  Basically, you can pick up a FREE pass to local participating museums for either 2 or 4 people using your library card.  You have a certain number of days to use your pass, and there are limited passes available at any given time for participating museums.

Henry Ford Museum:

Visit the Henry Ford Museum for FREE on Target Family Days for FREE admission to the museum as well as FREE parking.  This summer, FREE Family Days are scheduled on 7/16 and 9/5/11.

Detroit Science Museum:

Several times per year, Ford sponsors Ford FREE FunDays with FREE admission to the Detroit Science Museum.  This summer the dates are:

June 12, Diggin’ for Dinosaurs — Enjoy special hands-on activities and demonstrations on these prehistoric wonders. Experience the center’s special exhibit Dinosaurs Unearthed, the IMAX film “Dinosaurs Alive!” and the Planetarium show “Dinosaur Planet” General museum admission is complimentary, however there is an additional charge for the special exhibit and theater shows.

Cranbrook Institute of Science:

Get FREE admission, courtesy of MASCO Corporation Foundation, on 6/3/11 between 5 and 10 pm.  If you subscribe to the Cranbrook newsletter, you can be informed of any additional FREE admission events.

Events:

  • Fireworks – there are lots of fireworks shows around the 4th of July, including the the Livonia Spree fireworks on 6/26/11
  • Mud Day – 7/12/11 between 11 am and 1 pm at Hines Park – Nankin Mills Area, Westland. Combine two hundred tons of topsoil and 20,000 gallons of water and you have created every child’s fantasy and every mother’s nightmare. The Westland Fire Department will be on hand to hose off all the muddy kids
  • Woodward Dream Cruise – sit along Woodward Avenue and watch classic cars cruise along the road – 8/20/11 this year

Library Programs:

Check your local library for fun programs.  In the past, we’ve been able to go to a program on Bats, Legos, etc.  Also, our local library shows FREE kids movies one afternoon each week during the summer.

I’m sure that I missed tons of great activities to do around town.  If you have a favorite that I missed on the west side of metro Detroit, leave a comment, and I’ll add it.

 

Comments

  1. shelly morrison says:

    question about the free henry ford museum days. do you have to live in the detroit area to take advantage of this. we live in hillsdale michigan and wanted to take the kids. also is there a limit to the number of people who are admitted we are a family of 13.

    thanks i look forward to hearing back from you

    • I don’t see anything on the site Henry Ford site about any limitations (you can click on the link above by Henry Ford to see all the info about Target days).

      Plus, I believe that we actually visited once on a Target Day when we had an annual pass, and they didn’t ask to see anything, we were able to just walk in. I would call the Henry Ford Museum before you visit just to confirm that before you make the drive, though.

    • We live in Monroe County and had no problems getting in for the free days two years ago–they didn’t ask for any type of ID :)

  2. There are some great free days at cranbrook and Detroit science center. Perfect for dinosaur enthusiasts as both have large exhibits this summer.

  3. Thanks so much for these! We live in Ypsilanti and work in Ann Arbor so we’re always looking for fun things to do around here. :)

  4. The river walk in downtown Detroit would be a good place to go. They have a mini place to play in the water (water fountains from the ground near GM building), there’s a carousel and ice cream shop at one end, and they have tours up and down the river. It would be a pretty good experience for kids.

  5. To Shelly,
    No you do not have to live in the area we live more North by the other bridge and go to the free events. I also wanted to point our though it is not a free day that Greenfield Village will be having all sorts of civil war re-enactors there this weekend. They have battles each day along with all of the normal things to see and do. They even have an awesome memmorial ceremony on Monday. As you may have guessed I will be one of the re-enactors present this weekend. We truly enjoy this weekend and love to see others enjoy it as well!

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