Our Top 5 Ann Arbor Area Museums for Kids

Museums are a great choice year round. They are a great option for rainy summer days (or really hot days when the air conditioning is a welcome relief). They are also a great option for freezing cold winter days. There are a number of great museums in and around Ann Arbor that are a great choice for a family visit. Below are my Family’s Picks as our 5 Favorite Ann Arbor Museums for Kids.

Top 5 Ann Arbor Area Museums for Kids

University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History will be closed for over a year as they move to their new building. Plan a visit in 2017 before they close.

My daughter loves the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History from the paleontology exhibits on the second floor to the Michigan wildlife on the third floor to the archaeology and mineral exhibits on the fourth floor. She can explore the museum for hours on end reading every informational plaque.

The University of Michigan Natural History Museum is located on the campus of University of Michigan on North University Avenue. The museum is open from 9a-5p everyday except Sunday when it is open from noon-5p. Admission to the museum is free. There is a suggested donation of $6/person.

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum offers a fun interactive visit with plenty to explore for all ages. The Preschool Gallery is perfect for toddlers and preschoolers to explore balls, water, and climbing. Since it is just for kids ages 4 and under, it is a great place for toddlers and preschoolers to escape the big kids. My daughter has always been fascinated by the bubble display in the Legacy Gallery. Another favorite is Block Party, which was supposed to be a temporary display in 2011 and proved so popular that it is still around today. Over the years they have replaced the blocks a couple of times (moving to a stiffer foam with the last replacement). The museum adds exhibits several times a year, so we always have fun on our visits. Don’t miss their latest temporary exhibit, Chew on This.

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The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum’s address is 220 E. Ann St in Downtown Ann Arbor. They are open from 10a-5p on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, from 9a-5p on Tuesdays, from 10a-8p on Thursdays, and from noon-5p on Sundays. Admission to the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum is $12 for all those ages 2 and over. The offer discounted admission of $5 on Thursdays from 5-8p.

Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

My daughter loves ancient history so she has enjoyed this museum since she was a preschooler. She particularly likes the child mummy. Even for my daughter, the Kelsey Museum is a short visit. They periodically offer Family Days with kids activities.

Kelsey Museum Family Day

The Kelsey Museum of Archaeology is on the campus of University of Michigan at 434 South State St. The museum is open from 9a-4p Tuesday through Friday and 1-4p on Saturday and Sunday. The museum is closed on Mondays and University Holidays. Admission to the museum is free, but donations are welcome.

Michigan Firehouse Museum

The Michigan Firehouse Museum is located adjacent to Ypsilanti’s Depot Town. The Firehouse Museum has a nice collection of historic fire trucks and a replica firehouse. The museum is perfect for preschoolers who love fire trucks (be prepared, there is no climbing on the trucks). My daughter and her friend had a blast when I took them as preschoolers and we returned a second time as a family one year during the Ypsilanti Heritage Festival.

Michigan Firehouse Museum Engines on Display

The Michigan Firehouse Museum’s address is at 110 West Cross St in Downtown Ypsilanti. The museum is open from 10a-4p Tuesday through Saturday, noon-4p on Sundays. The Firehouse Museum is closed on Mondays. Admission to the museum is $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 2-16.

The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village

My daughter loves both The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. The Henry Ford has plenty of hands-on activities for kids such as paper planes, K’nex race cars, and rubbings at various exhibits. My daughter loves exploring the historic buildings at Greenfield Village. She loves watching the tradespeople in various shops such as glass-blowing, ceramics, and tin shop. We have also enjoyed the historical skits featuring historical figures like the Wright brothers and Laura Ingalls. They are a little far from Ann Arbor, but my daughter has such a great time, that I thought it was worth including them.

Check out our summer 2016 review of Greenfield Village.

The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village are located at 20900 Oakwood Dr in Dearborn, about 40 minutes from Ann Arbor. The Henry Ford and Greenfield Village (seasonally) are& open from 9:30a-5p daily. Greenfield Village is open from mid April through the end of October. They are only open Friday-Sunday in November and are closed from December-mid-April.. Admission to Greenfield Village is $27/adults, $24.50 for Seniors (62+), $20.25 for Youth (ages 3-11), and free for children 2 and under. Admission to The Henry Ford Museum is $22/adults, $20 for Seniors (62+), $16.50 for Youth (ages 3-11), and free for children 2 and under.

Honorable Mentions:

University of Michigan Museum of Art

I have to admit that art museums are not my thing, so I have only visited the museum once without my daughter. The museum periodically offers Saturday story and Family Art Studios.

Imagination Station

Toledo’s Imagination Station is a great museum. As Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum member, we received half price admission. My daughter and I had a great time at Imagination Station last summer.

Imagination Station - Wednesday Activity Review

Michigan Science Center

We visited the museum once when it was the Detroit Science Center and was hosting a dinosaur exhibit. Since that time they closed and re-opened as the Michigan Science Center. It is a little far from Ann Arbor, so it didn’t make the top of my list.

Cranbrook Institute of Science

On our to visit list is the Cranbrook Institute of Science. Through summer of 2017 they have a King Tut exhibit. Check out this review from A Geek Daddy.

Sloan Museum

The Sloan Museum in Flint currently has a Titanic exhibit through May 21, 2017. We saw the exhibit several years ago when it was at The Henry Ford and definitely recommend it. For more information, check out this review written by Mrs. Weber’s Neighborhood.

Top 5 Ann Arbor Area Museums for Kids

What other museums near Ann Arbor does your family like?

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Ann Arbor with Kids is your go-to source for Ann Arbor Family Fun. It got its start in an activity list that I was compiling for the playgroup I ran at our church. When my daughter started preschool, the other moms were thrilled to hear about my list. I decided to take the list public in 2009.

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