Fall can be a busy time for families with school, homework and after-school activities in full swing. But it’s also the most beautiful time of year in Michigan, with crisp leaves under foot and red and gold trees making the sky explode overhead.Take a break from the commotion and spend a day at one of these fun family getaways.
8109 E. Jefferson
Detroit, MI 48214
Nestled in the Detroit River just minutes from downtown Detroit, Belle Isle offers an assortment of fun activities for families. Nature lovers will enjoy taking in the fall colors on the island’s wooded areas or interacting with the deer in the Nature Zoo. From relaxing on the green, soaking in some of the last sunny days before winter to fishing along the Isle’s many shores, those searching to truly get away will find what they’re looking for. The newly re-opened aquarium features a variety of tropical creatures and operates from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays with free admission.
110 Cabela Blvd. E.
Dundee, MI 48131
www.cabelas.comAlthough a retail store might not seem like an ideal getaway location, Cabela’s is an exception. The 225,000-square-foot showroom includes educational displays, animal exhibits and even aquariums. Kids can have a chance to see not only local widlife, but also exotic animals such as elephants and water buffalo displayed in a setting that mimics their natural habitat. For hunting families, fall is a great time to find out about new items before hunting season starts.
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61475 Silver Lake Road
South Lyon, MI 48178
www.erwinorchards.comErwin Orchards is more than just an orchard and cider mill. The attractions and entertainment are aimed at all age groups, from the kids’ hay and straw maze to the family-friendly corn maze to the haunted barn and maze for older kids and adults. Of course, Erwin also offers the obligatory cider mill and apple harvest with a pumpkin patch, raspberry patch and a wagon ride around the orchard.
Frankenmuth Chamber of Commerce
635 Main St.
Frankenmuth, MI 48734
www.frankenmuth.orgFor a taste of Germany just a short drive away, head to Frankenmuth for a day or a weekend. Known as Michigan’s Little Bavaria, Frankenmuth celebrates its heritage daily and holds festivals on most weekends throughout the fall. One of the best-known attractions in town, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland is a great place to stock up on decorations for the home and tree. Dinner at Zehnder’s for its famous fried chicken tops off a fun family getaway day.
The Henry Ford
20900 Oakwood Blvd.
Dearborn, MI 48124
Fall fills the senses at Greenfield Village with colorful trees jewel-bright against the blue sky and the scent of wood-burning fireplaces enhancing the crisp air. A living history lesson, Greenfield Village offers not only historic homes and workshops, such as the site where the Wright brothers invented the first airplane or Thomas Edison’s laboratory, but also the chance to experience history firsthand. Visitors can ride in a Model T Ford, ride a steam engine train or watch a baseball game as it was played in 1867. Even the food is historic.
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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.