Playdates provide opportunities for kids to make friends and learn socialization skills, while parents connect and enjoy a little grown-up time. It’s common, and often practical, to schedule a playdate at one of the parties’ houses, but off-site playdates can be exciting and educational, especially at these, the best spots for summer playdates in the Detroit area.
Farmington Hills Nature Center
24915 Farmington Road
Farmington Hills, MI 48334
Located within Farmington Hills’ Heritage Park, the Nature Center contains a life-sized wildlife diorama with more than 20 animals, as well as two aquariums featuring native Michigan fish species, a backyard bird-viewing habitat and a hands-on touch table. The Nature Discovery Trail ties in the educational information to real-life examples. The center offers a variety of kids’ activities throughout the year, such as scavenger hunts, nature films, and story and craft sessions.
Related: What Birds Can Teach Kids
Heritage Park Petting Farm
12803 Pardee Road
Taylor, MI 48180
Price: $3 for Taylor residents/$4 for non-residents/free children 1 and younger
The petting farm at Heritage Park allows kids to have hands-on interaction with farm animals that they might otherwise miss out on in the big city. The nature pond features turtles, frogs and koi fish, and the big red barn is home to a variety of animals including cows, sheep, ponies, goats, donkeys, chickens, pigs, rabbits and even alpacas. A knowledgeable staff is on hand to answer questions and facilitate interaction with the animals. The farm’s Visitor Center is powered in part by a wind turbine and solar panels, providing an opportunity for kids to see and learn about alternative energy sources.
2240 W. Buno Road
Milford, MI 48380
Click here for pricing
A playdate at Kensington offers a wide variety of fun activities for kids of all ages, from running around in open green spaces, playing on the beach and swimming, or even spending a few hours at the Splash ‘n’ Blast water park. With a little pre-planning, parents may create an educational scavenger hunt involving the park’s nature trails, challenging kids to find flowers, leaves and animals. Admission to Kensington requires a Metroparks entry permit, available for $5 daily or $25 annually.
Related: Best Parks for Kids in Detroit
Held at locations throughout the Detroit metro area, family fun nights include kids’ activities, outdoor concerts and a family movie under the stars. Fun nights are held during the week and on weekends, depending on the date and park. Playgroups may meet early to play in the park and enjoy a summer day; the rest of the family may come later for a potluck picnic dinner before the fun night activities begin. Events start at different times, depending on the park.
Tunes on Tuesday
Northville Town Square
Northville, MI 48167
Tuesday mornings during the summer, head to downtown Northville for the Tunes on Tuesday kids’ concert series, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Performances include songs and sing-alongs, puppet shows, comedy and storytelling, and dance shows that include the whole audience. After the show, enjoy lunch at one of the many restaurants on Main Street, or explore the shops, including a number of children’s stores and a bookstore. Performances are held rain or shine. The rain location is Genitti’s Hole-in-the-Wall at 108 Main St. There is no fee for the concert series.
Jennifer Walker is a freelance writer living in Detroit. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in animal science from Michigan State University. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.