Now that the Christmas rush is past, many of you may be taking a deep relaxing breath and wondering what to do for the remainder of the year. Maybe you’re like me and ready to avoid the shopping malls and stores. Maybe you’re looking for activities to keep the kids busy during school break (as if the mounds of toys shouldn’t do this!). Maybe you want to get some friends together for a fun outing. Whatever your reasons, there is plenty to do in the area, both inside and outside.
Snow has fallen on southeast Michigan, providing opportunities to play outside. Many metroparks, and even some golf courses, have plenty of trails groomed for cross country skiing. We may try snowshoeing this winter. I know REI rents snowshoes (and other outdoor gear), which will be good for us rather than buying before determining if we like the activity.
If you are interested in warm activities, there is plenty to choose from! Many metroparks also have nature centers filled with interesting animals and exhibits. From past blog posts, you’ve probably noticed I’m a fan of our local cultural institutions – there are many to choose from that offer fun yet educational opportunities for all ages.
From now through Dec. 30, Cranbrook Institute of Science is hosting Fossil Festival from 1-4pm (free with museum admission). This hands-on special event lets visitors make a dinosaur egg, create fossil casts and more. The event coincides with the Institute’s traveling exhibit, Dinosaurs: The Lost World. Daily planetarium and bat shows are also available for an additional fee.
While on the Cranbrook campus, visitors interested in art can head to the Art Museum for their special exhibit, My Brain Is in My Inkstand: Drawing as Thinking and Process, which is open through March 2014 (free with museum admission). This exhibit focuses on the idea that drawing is a thinking process in arts and sciences, and that sketches on paper are the start of most idea (think car designs, football plays, house layouts and more).
The Michigan Science Center in Detroit is hosting kids’ lab experiments on Saturday and Sunday (free with museum admission). These hands-on experiments and demonstrations let kids learn to use microscopes and other science gadgets. The science center has a cool Kids Town for young children to explore and their traveling exhibit, Science of Rock n’ Roll, is open through Dec. 31 (additional fee to tour this exhibit). Visitors can learn about the history of rock and roll, the building blocks of music, discover how instruments work, and more. Several interactive stations welcome visitors to create music, remix famous rock songs, practice on various musical instruments, and more.
If you’re in Detroit at the Michigan Science Center, you can wander across the street to the Detroit Institute of Arts for the Watch Me Move: The Animation Show that closes Jan. 5, 2014. This exhibit highlights more than 100 classic, popular and cutting-edge animated segments from movies that span across cultures and genres. While the DIA is free to Oakland, Macomb and Wayne county residents, the Watch Me Move exhibit is an extra fee.
The Detroit Historical Museum is across Woodward and offers free museum admission to visitor interested in taking a step back in time to discover local history and landmarks.
I’m planning to take advantage of some classes offered at my local Michael’s. I’ve wanted to learn to knit or crochet for a while so decided taking a basic intro class would be better than trying to teach myself. A variety of classes, from knitting to beading to scrapbooking, are offered at a minimal fee. I noticed our local JoAnn’s and the community center also offer classes.
Local libraries are also offering programs, especially for toddlers and young children. Reading time and special programs are usually abundant so check out your library’s website or calendar (I’ve also noticed most of these programs are not limited to city residents so you can check out other libraries too). Speaking of reading, I just picked up some books from the library and downloaded an e-book from my library app for my Kindle so I guarantee you’ll find me on the couch at times wrapped in a blanket with tea while the snow falls outside. Now that’s pure relaxation for me!