December 3, 2015

Apply Now for a Chance to be a Master Builder: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Michigan

Hey LEGO® fans, wouldn't it be awesome to be part of a team - because everything IS awesome when you are part of a team! (Yes, I know that many of you are now singing that in your head!) Well now is your chance to apply for a chance to become a Master Builder at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Michigan. Applicants for the Master Model Builder position will actually compete for the full-time, salaried role in a two-day Brick Factor competition! So how does one do that? Read on for details.

The LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Michigan is seeking adult LEGO® fans to apply now through midnight on Monday, Jan. 4, for the coveted role of Master Model Builder. Applicants will compete against each other in an exciting two-day Brick Factor competition, set for Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 9-10 at Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills.

The Master Model Builder is a hands-on role that is responsible for maintaining and updating MINILAND models and developing new features, exhibitions and building new models at LEGOLAND Discovery Center, as well as working with the thousands of children expected to visit the attraction. Contestants must be familiar with LEGO bricks and have experience in the model-making or craft field.

During the two-day Brick Factor event, participants will display their skill by taking part in creative challenges and building original LEGO brick models in timed rounds of judged competition. The first day of Brick Factor will consist of two rounds of judged competition, with eliminations taking place during each round. The day’s top competitors will participate in formal interviews and the final building round on Sunday, after which one will be crowned the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan Master Model Builder.

To APPLY: Apply through the Merlin Entertainments Career website. Follow this link http://bit.ly/1qgdWTy to select Michigan – Auburn Hills – United States from the drop down menu, and click on the Master Model Builder Job # 4468 for the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan attraction.

I realize this is not necessarily a "kid friendly activity" in that the applicants must be adults. I would think however that the kids would have fun watching AND it will help build excitement of the new LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Michigan! I'm looking forward to sharing more about the new venue too and all the glory of the 32,000-square-foot indoor attraction featuring millions of LEGO bricks!  To keep up with pre-opening events and activities, or for more information, know that I will share much on the blog, however please also visit the LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Michigan website or follow them on Facebook.

November 29, 2015

Gingerbread House Craft Programs

Every year my kids make a gingerbread house (or houses) to display at home. Mostly we buy the kits, but we've also participated in a few programs where the kids made them there. One of these days I will bake and make a house from scratch though. Given how much mess the whole project makes though, I really do lie making the houses elsewhere. That's one reason why I wanted to highlight these gingerbread houses making programs. 

On December 5, at Michael's Crafts from 1:00-4:00 p.m. Join Michaels for some Gingerbread House building. Parents can buy the kit in the store, then join in the decorating with the supplies in the kit and other provided supplies. I personally think this is a great "keep the house clean" idea. My only concern would be transporting the "not dry" house home!

On Saturday, December 12 at the Ypsilanti District Library (Whittaker Branch) at 11:00 a.m. or at YDL (Michigan Branch) at 3:00 p.m., kids ages 2-12 can decorate a graham cracker "gingerbread" houses with icing and candy for a holiday decoration or tasty treat. Please register for either program on the YDL website, email: mitchell@ypsilibrary.org or by calling 734-482-4110 x1390. 

Want to go ahead and build your own gingerbread house at home MLive has 5 great tips to building a gingerbread houseor watch this easy tutorial on making a gingerbread house from scratch! Have you heard of other local classes or programs for making a gingerbread house? Be sure to share them in the comments below.





Cirque Dreams Holidaze Returns to the Fox Theatre

Cirque Dreams Holidaze is "the perfect way to come in from the cold,
forget the holiday stresses and find the magic of the season"
proclaims The Oakland Press. 
Image the spectacle that 300 costumes, 20 acts and 30 performers can provide and you can image seeing Cirque Dreams Holidaze as it returns to the Fox Theatre December 22-27. Ann Arbor Mom blog readers also get the opportunity to WIN (4) free tickets to see the show. Read on for more details!

Cirque Dreams Holidaze lights up the 2015 holiday season when it returns to the Fox Theatre, after sold out performances in 2009, 2011, 2013 and 2014. The show will transform the stage into a wonderland of fantasy and disbelief  for seven glorious holiday performances.  Tickets (starting at $29) are on sale now and can be purchased at OlympiaEntertainment.com, The Fox Theatre and at all Ticketmaster locations and Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000.

Performance Schedule: 
December 22 - 7:30 p.m.
December 23 - 7:30 p.m.
December 24 - 3:00 p.m.
December 26 - 3:00 p.m. &  8:00 p.m.
December 27 - 3:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m.

Many of these acts have been featured on America’s Got Talent and similar TV shows in other countries making Cirque Dreams Holidaze the greatest variety show on the planet! Witness snowmen, penguins, angels, reindeer, toy soldiers, gingerbread men, ornaments and of course Santa; with soaring acrobatics, gravity defying feats, elaborate production numbers, imaginative costumes, illusions and more. The show also celebrates the most wonderful time of the year with singers, original music and seasonal favorites all performed in a winter wonderland of amazement.

To win (4) tickets to see Cirque Dreams Holidaze on Tuesday, December 22 at 7:30 p.m., please describe to Ann Arbor Mom blog readers our favorite Christmas Ornament. One lucky winner will be drawn randomly from all entries submitted by midnight, December 5.

November 27, 2015

Free Tickets: Ariel, Zoey & Eli Concert

Win tickets to see the Ariel, Zoey & Eli concert at the Michigan Theater.

Want to enjoy a fun concert with the kids? The Not Just For Kids series is featuring Ariel, Zoey & Eli on December 12 at 1:30 p.m. at the Michigan Theater.

Emmy Nominees Ariel, Zoey & Eli (AZE) have spent most of their young lives performing either on stage or in front of the camera. With two national television shows, their focus has always been on music, empowering their peers and enjoying those they meet along the way. This special concert will include their favorite songs, music to get you in the Holiday spirit and a few surprises!

Tickets for the concert are just $12 and perfect for everyone in the family and are available for sale at Nicola's Books or at Ticketmaster.com. The Ann Arbor Mom blog has been given the opportunity to share with one lucky winner 4 free tickets though. Just comment below on the best way your family gets into the holiday spirit. A random drawing will be done of all entries on the blog by midnight December 4.

Elf On The Shelf Causes Nightmares

I'll admit, just a little, that I bought into the whole The Elf on the Shelf thing after my son was born. However I didn't have to "buy" into it, as I already had an elf I thought might do the trick. I brought out my elf. Told the Elf on the Shelf story. Then I waited. I only needed to go as far as to say the elf was watching for good behavior and reporting his findings back to Santa. I didn't need to move him. I didn't even need to help him get into mischief as many of my friend's elf characters are doing - Although with this specific elf that is terribly tempting to do!

Wanna know why?

Take a look at my elf, that will give you a really GOOD hint.

Evil Elf on the Shelf
The reason I don't need to move my elf is, well, because he's faintly evil looking! My son is moderately terrified of him, and even asked me not to bring him out this year. Now consider again why making my elf get into mischief might be moderately fun...

Child wakes up with elf peering at him...
Child finds elf sitting on the toilet in the middle of the night...
Take pictures of elf with sleeping child...

Yes I am a mom with a slightly sick sense of humor. I loved this other bloggers commentary on over-achieving mommies and their elf on the shelf antics too!

My elf, however, is comfortably nestled within the boughs of our tree, peeking out to report the kids good behavior to Santa!

Many of my friends couldn't believe I had an "evil" Elf on the Shelf, so I posted an image on the little guy on Facebook and received multiple comments about his "good looks". One friend said...

"Where are the flying monkeys?"
Some compared it to the Stephen King's movie about the scary clown!

That'll give you nightmares!
And yet others said my Elf on the Shelf reminded them of Chuckie the doll!!!


I'm not sure that it reminds me of anything more than my grandparents. They were the ones that gave the elf to me the year I was born. He certainly does have an oddly strange look about it,maybe he's about to spit something out of those overly large cheeks. I suppose though that says more about the late 1960's - So I can blame that on my parents generation eh?

Have you given into the Elf on the Shelf?

November 9, 2015

Win tickets to Fancy Nancy: Splediferous Christmas


Win 4 free tickets to see Fancy Nancy: Splediferous Christmas
when it comes to the City Theatre November 20-22.




Hello Ann Arbor families! Want to join Nancy in a very fancy holiday celebration? Then be sure to read on for a chance to win tickets to see Fancy Nancy: Splediferous Christmas plays at the City Theatre playing November 20-22.

Tickets are $25 general admission and can be purchased at OlympiaEntertainment.com, The Fox Theatre and at all Ticketmaster locations and Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000. Discounts for groups of 10 or more are available by calling 313-471-3099. For additional information, call (313) 471-6611.

Want to know more? Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas is based on the New York Times bestselling picture book by Jane O'Connor and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser. What could be fancier than Christmas? Presents with elegant wrapping paper, festive decorations, Christmas cookies with sprinkles - and who could forget the tree? After all, there is no such thing as too much tinsel. Ooh la la! This year, Nancy is especially excited. She bought a brand-new sparkly tree topper with her own money and can't wait to decorate the Christmas tree. But when things don't turn out the way Nancy planned?

The showtimes are as follows:
Friday, November 20 - 6:30 p.m.
Saturday, November 21 - 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Sunday, November 22 - 11:00 a.m. and 2:0 p.m.

Want to know how your family can win free tickets? Well since the play is about Nancy's fancy tree topper, tell me in the comments below what your fanciest tree topper would be. A random winner will be chosen from all entries on the blog and on Facebook for (4) tickets to see Fancy Nancy: Splediferous Christmas on Saturday, November 21 at 2:00 p.m. All entries must be received by midnight on November 12.

October 21, 2015

Hike to Arbor Woods Preserve

On Sunday, Oct. 25, 2:00-4:00 p.m., families can enjoy great fall weather by hiking at Northfield Woods Preserve (East Northfield Church Road, Ann Arbor). Plan to meet at this preserve lot since there is no parking lot for Arbor Woods. Families will hike from Northfield Woods to the mature wooded area of Arbor Woods to explore this new preserve.

On the hike, families will look at wildflowers and grasses, id some trees and shrubs, look for signs of
wildlife and more. Naturalist Faye Stoner leads this walk.

This is a free program. Call 971- 6337 for general information; use extension 334 or email stonerf@ewashtenaw.org to reach Faye.

October 15, 2015

Autumn Bird Walk

On Sunday, Oct. 18 9:00-11:00 am, families can enjoy the sights and sounds of many of Michigan's birds during the Woods, Water and Wetlands  Autumn Morning Bird Walk at Independence Lake (  3200 Jennings Rd, Whitmore Lake). Interested families should plan to meet at the Blue Heron Bay parking lot shortly before 9:00. Plan to look for resident and migrating birds in a variety of habitats.

This free event is perfect for beginning birders and all are welcome. Please bring binoculars and bird book if you can.  A few binoculars will be on hand for sharing.

Naturalist Faye Stoner will lead this walk!

October 7, 2015

Fall Color Hike

The annual Fall Color Hike, presented by the Potawatomi Trail Committee is an excellent way to see Michigan in all of it's glory. The 5-mile hike is perfect for families to enjoy and costs just $4/person and happens this year on October 10 and 11. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. and ends at 2:00 p.m. although hikers can stay on the trail until 5:00 p.m. To participate, hikers will begin and end at Camp Munhacke (20120 Bartell Rd. Gregory). All proceeds from the hike are used to support Scouting Programs.

My family has hiked several times, even when my daughter was as young as 4! It's a good hike and very well marked. Typically there are many that you will encounter along the way, so this is a perfect event for novice hikers! Be sure to take a lightweight pack with snacks and plenty of water. There are several restrooms along the way too!!!

This is a five mile hike taking approximately 2-3 hours on the Bill Baker Trail which is on State property and is therefore governed by all state rules and regulations. Pets are not allowed on the hike though, so please leave fido home! Please remember to dress appropriately for the weather and to wear proper hiking shoes or boots that are comfortable to wear.

October 6, 2015

Fall Toddler Hike at County Farm Park

Fall is the best time of the year to take the family for a hike. The youngest members of the families should not be denied the opportunity either. On Thursday, Oct. 15 at 10:00 a.m., take your little ones on a guided hike with naturalist Shawn Severance at County Farm Park. This is a perfect activity for families with children ages 1–5 years old. Meet at the Medford Road Entrance to take a walk through the woods and fields to experience the sounds, scents and tastes of the changing season.  The "hike" travels along mostly paved surfaces too, so this is a good event for those with strollers too.

Although this is a free event, please pre-register at parks.ewashtenaw.org and select “Nature and History Programs” under “Activities”.

October 5, 2015

Pioneer Days at the Waterloo Farm Museum

On Sunday, October 11, 2015, noon-5:00 p.m. at the Waterloo Farm Museum (13493 Waterloo Munith Rd, Waterloo, MI) families can celebrate late 19th century farm life! This event includes tours of the Farm Museum and Dewey School, live music, and demonstrations of crafts, trades, and traditional cooking methods. Admission to the Waterloo Farm Museum grounds for this event is $5 for adults and $2 for children aged 5-12, free admission is granted for children under 5 and members of the Waterloo Area Historical Society.

Now in its fifth decade, Pioneer Day at the Waterloo Farm Museum is the premier event on the Waterloo Area Historical Society's calendar. A visit to the Farm Museum and tour includes a complex of farm buildings including the restored ten-room Farmhouse dating from 1855. In the Farmhouse kitchen you will be greeted by the delicious smells of Sunday dinner being readied for the dining room table. A docent in every room will be your guide as you tour the house set with utensils, furniture, clothing, and other household items of the time.

I know my kids especially enjoy the demonstrations of butter making in the Spring House, hearth cooking in the Log House, brick-oven baking in the Bake House, and blacksmithing in the workshop.

Be sure to head out this weekend for this wonderful educational opportunity!



October 4, 2015

Historic Tours of Parker Mill

My daughter watching with wonder how the
Parker Mill grist mill works. Take your family
on a free tour this October!
Sundays throughout October (Oct. 4, 11, 18, and 25) from 1:00-5:00 p.m. families can get a free tour of the Parker Grist Mill (4650 Geddes Rd, Ann Arbor). Parker Mill is one of a few remaining pioneer grist mills still operational in southeastern Michigan.  Come and learn how the Parker family used water power to grind corn and wheat, turn a lathe and run other machines in their mill.  Your family can stop by anytime to visit, but a more formal detailed tour will begin at 3:00 for interested visitors.

My children have been there many times. In fact when we stopped by the other day after making our cider, they knew so much that they could almost lead the tour themselves. Oddly enough they continue to enjoy the wonders of watching the grist mill operate!

Bring along your camera too for photo ops. Parker Mill is one of the nicest natural places to take family photos too!!!


September 29, 2015

LEGOLAND Discovery Center Groundbreaking

Yesterday at Great Lakes Crossing was the groundbreaking ceremony for the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan. While you can't get in on the action just yet, you will be able to help determine which Michigan buildings/landmarks should be constructed with LEGO bricks to be featured at the attraction through a Facebook vote. In fact, the LEGOLAND Discovery Center Michigan Facebook page will have many great contests while you wait for the grand opening!

As a Parent Brand Supporter I will bringing you lot of news, many great opportunities, and perhaps a give-away too, so stay tuned to the Ann Arbor Mom Facebook page as well as on the blog!

September 28, 2015

Alvin & The Chipmunks Live on Stage! [Ticket Give-Away]

Win tickets to see Alvin and The Chipmunks Live On Stage
when they come to Detroit October 30!

Twentieth Century Fox announced today that Alvin and The Chipmunks will be live on stage with a brand new, music-filled interactive show coming to the Fox Theatre. In Detroit there will be two performances Friday, October 30 at 2:00 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

The world’s most famous chipmunk trio – accompanied by the Chipettes – will delight fans of all ages with live performances that will feature world-class production, music, special effects and immersive interactivity to encourage audience participation. Based on the characters from the hit Twentieth Century Fox movies, the show will bring the music and excitement of a live rock concert to life as the Chipmunks perform hits by One Direction, Maroon 5, Christine Aguilera, Elvis Presley and more! Join Alvin, Simon and Theodore as they sing and dance their way across America en route to their big charity concert. From an “old school” breakdancing competition in Chicago, to a no- holds-barred food fight in New York City, and with the Chipettes along for the wild ride, Chipmunk fans from coast to coast will experience it all –LIVE on stage! For more information please visit, www.alvinlive.com.

Tickets are on sale now ($19, $25 and $40) and can be purchased at OlympiaEntertainment.com or Ticketmaster.com.

Want to win tickets to Alvin and the Chipmunks? Tell me which chipmunk (or Chipettes) is your child's favorite. A random winner will be drawn from all entries posted by midnight on September 30. Remember too, I must be able to contact the winner of the drawing!

September 26, 2015

Not Just for Kids Series at the Michigan Theater


Ann Arbor has some awesome entertainment options for live theatre, Of course as adults we know that, but did you know that the Michigan Theater has a Not Just for Kids series of events that happen throughout the year? Here is a run down of the season so that families can plan ahead.

Dog Loves Books
Sat. Oct. 3 at 1:30 p.m.
Recommended for grades K-2

Ariel, Zoey & Eli
Sat. Dec. 12 at 1:30 p.m.
For all ages!

Junie B.’s Essential Survival Guide to School
Sat. Feb. 13 at 1:30 p.m.
Recommended for grades K – 5

Alexander, Who’s Not Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move
Sun. Apr. 10 at 1:30 p.m.
Recommended for grades K – 4

Seussical
Sat. May 7 at 1:30 p.m.
Recommended for grades K – 4

The Not Just For Kids series is live musical theater presented five times a year at the Michigan Theater.  It’s a great way to introduce kids to live theater (no video screens) through the books they love.  It’s affordable entertainment too, with tickets just $10 for Michigan Theater members and $12 for non-members.

Want to check out the first show of the season? One random reader will receive a family (4) pack of tickets to the October 3 performance of Dog Loves Books just by commenting below on what theater means to your family. A winner will be chosen from all entries submitted by midnight October 1st!

Good luck!

September 14, 2015

Win Tickets to See The Wiggles!


Want to win a family (4) pack of tickets to see The Wiggles on October 11, 2015 at 1:00 p.m.? Read on for details on winning this prize pack valued at $98.

The tickets will be placed at will call in the Fox Box Office for pickup when you and/or your winner arrive for the show.  Please send me a link to your post once the giveaway is up and running, as well as your winner's name once you have it.

Below are the copy and image you may use on your blog for the promotion.

September 14-18

The Wiggles, will return to the U.S. this fall with their incomparable brand of preschool entertainment for their “Rock & Roll Preschool” tour. Ready to once again delight families at the Fox Theatre on Sunday, October 11 at 1:00 p.m., they will be touring in support of their brand new CD and DVD, Rock & Roll Preschool, as well as a new season of their hit TV series airing on Hulu.

Tickets ($18, $24.50, $34.50 and $60) are on sale now and can be purchased at OlympiaEntertainment.com,  The Fox Theatre and Joe Louis Arena box offices,and at all Ticketmaster locations and Ticketmaster.com. To charge tickets by phone, call (800) 745-3000.  Discounts for groups of 10 or more are available by calling 313-471-3099. For additional information, call (313) 471-6611.

Don’t want to miss your chance to see this highly entertaining quartet? Just for Ann Arbor Mom readers, tell us about your best Wiggles moment in the comments below. A random entry from all comments posted by midnight, September 18, will be chosen to win (4) free tickets to see the Wiggles!  

September 3, 2015

Free Movies: Fall 2015

See free movies at Goodrich Theaters Sept 12-Nov. 8.

Attention families, free movies are back! On weekends September 12 through November 8 at Goodrich Quality Theaters (Canton Cinema - 43555 Ford Rd., Canton and Quality 16 - 3686 Jackson Rd., Ann Arbor) at 9:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m., the entire family can enjoy a free movie once they register for the FMG club. Tickets are first come, first serve and plan on an intermission with every show, otherwise everyone gets in free!

The schedule is as follows:
  • 9/12-13: Penguins
  •  9/19-20: The Spongebob Movie 
  • 9/26-27: Paul Blart Mall Cop 2
  • 10/3-4: Home 
  •  10/10-11: Annie 
  • 10/17-18: The Nut Job
  • 10/24-25: Night at the Museum Secret Tomb
  • 10/31-11/1: Minions
  •  11/7-8: Shawn the Sheep Movie

August 25, 2015

Watch your Son Grow Through Participation in Scouting!

"Why is scouting important to me? As a Scouter mom I get to watch him grow into a wonderful, considerate young man... Why wouldn't anyone want this for their son?"

My son with his Papa at the
100th Year Anniversary Camporee.
Yes, that statement was posted as part of a Mom 2 Mom contest our local Boy Scout council promoted a few years ago. Guess what? It is still incredibly accurate several years later. My son went through the entire Cub Scout program and is now a Boy Scout. He is an amazingly involved and motivated young man who I admire greatly.

What Scouting Has Done for My Son

My son has always been a giver. Not necessarily in the monetary sense, but through participation in scouting he has learned to be an active part of the community. I often hear that he is the first to raise his hand to volunteer to help in some way, and I love that he is learning that giving does not always have to mean money, and that one person CAN make a difference. These are valuable life lessons.

Giving of ones self means that he will be able to relate to his greater community. Right now that is his class and school, but scouting has opened his eyes so that he can see the value of helping in the neighborhood, township and beyond. He has worked on conservation projects for the local watershed, and for the county, he has participated in food drives, at the animal shelter, and through soliciting funds for those in need. He has also volunteered at senior centers and food banks. These experiences have opened him up to people he may have never have met, and it has helped him understand that one person can make a difference.

This summer he went away to three camps. Since I ask my children to help pay for their fun expenses, like the canteen at camp, much of his summer slush fund was depleted. Regardless of that, when he heard that the local Humane Society was low on toys for cats, he and his sister counted coins to purchase $30 some to donate. They hunted down the best deals too, knowing fully well that more cats could have the toys if they could make their money go further.

My son helping serve at a
pancake breakfast.
One of the stories I like to share when doing Friends of Scouting presentations, is from the first year he sold Boy Scout popcorn. He was given a $20 to spend, but instead of using the money on himself, he asked me to put it in his popcorn money so that he could give it to the soldiers. Here he was, at just 7-years old, taking his money and giving it to others!

There are many other great stories of course but the point is that though scouting, my son has learned the value of hard work, teamwork and friendship. He has built up his self esteem and learned new skills.

Now that he has moved onto Boy Scouts he knows that hard work and perseverance can move mountains. Just this past year, while doing several class projects and the science fair, I have heard him say countless times, "Mom I don't want to be that kid who does the minimum." His hard work has paid off in many ways that makes a mom proud.

Could he have gained this without scouting? I'm pretty sure that he could have, but the experiences he has had, and what he is learning through participation in Cub Scouts and now Boy Scouts, is shaping him into a young man that I admire greatly. These experiences and skills are helping to shape him in amazing ways, ways that would make any parent proud.

September is a great time to look at scouting, as there are many open houses, scout nights and round-ups. Want to find a local Cub Scout Pack, Boy Scout Troop or Venturing Crew for your son to join?  Check out the Be A Scout website for more information on what is available to your child.

August 24, 2015

Free Admission to the Henry Ford

Get free admission to the Henry Ford during Target Family Days!

On Monday, September 7 (9:30a.m. - 5:00 p.m.) families can receive free admission to the Henry Ford Museum courtesy of Target. The Target Family Days, are scheduled throughout the year and include free activities, admission and parking. Find live music, hands-on demonstrations, make-and-take activities and more season-specific programming. Target Family Days at the Henry Ford are for families, so be sure to head over to check it out!

August 18, 2015

Saline Community Fair: Rides, Agriculture, Animals & Fun


Check out the Saline Community Fair this week Sept 2-6, 2015
This week's fair of choice is the Saline Community Fair. Beginning September 2 and running through labor Day families can check out the rides, eats and exhibits as well as many great special attractions at the Saline Community Fair.

Special attractions that families might enjoy are events happening throughout Thursday's"Pre-school  Day" 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. and Saturday's "Kid's Day". Families will especially enjoy the annual talent show, Saline's Got Talent and Saturday's parade in downtown Saline, as well as animal shows, tractor pulls, plenty of entertainment! For a full listing of Saline Community Fair daily events though, be sure to visit the fair website.

Saline Community Fair
September 2-6, 2015
Daily Admission: for those 11+ is $7.00 (kids 10 and under FREE Admission)
Special season passes are available!

Ride Armbands:
 
Ride armbands will be available for purcase.  Special pricing for rides is also available during Preschool Day where fair admission is $5.00 (ages 2 and up) 9:00 - 2:00 p.m. The pricing includes kiddie rides only from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. No big kids rides will be open until 2:00 p.m. Also in years past, there is special pricing on Labor Day beginning at 1:00 p.m.

Saline Community Fair Highlights:

To highlight the special events on Thursday's Preschool Day, families in the past have found plenty of great activities and events for the everyone. Past performances by Cirque Amongus, Nick's Kid Show, and Gemini, with special activities provided by the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, a fun display of fire trucks from the Saline Area Fire Department, and the New Beginnings baby animal exhibit. My family especially enjoyed viewing all of the great displays put together by the kids - and of course my award winning pepper jelly being displayed! (I'm not going to say I should have won, but that was the very last jar since my family all but sucked down 8 jars in a matter or 2 weeks.).

Continue to watch the Ann Arbor Mom blog for fair updates or check out the full Saline Community Fair calendar of events on their website. Below are a few select highlights that may be especially helpful to families.


September 1:
Parade (Bennett Street, Saline) - 6:30 p.m.
Followed by Old Fashioned Games in Mill Pond Park

September 2:
Gates Open - 9:00 a.m.
Rides Open - 3:00 p.m.
Miss Saline Pageant - 8:00 p.m.

September 3 - Preschool Day:
Note: While the Fair Website indicates that this morning is for "Pre-School aged children and Toddlers" know that my experience has been that there are often older children in attendance and in line for the rides!

Gates Open - 9:00 a.m.
Preschool/Toddler Program - 9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
A2SO Pet Instruments - 9:00 a.m. - noon
Ann Arbor Hands on Museum - 9:00 a.m.
Junior Livestock Auction - 7:00 p.m.

September 5 - Ladies Day:
Gates Open - 9:00 a.m.
Ladies' Day Program - 1:00 p.m.
*Regular Admission Begins 1:00 p.m.
Rides Open - 2:00 p.m.
Saline's Got Talent - 6:00

September 6 - Kid's Day:
Gates Open - 9:00 a.m.
Kid's Activities - 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Lookin’ Back (Bob Seger Tribute Band) - 7:30 p.m.

September 7 -  Free Admission:
Rides Open (armbands $10) - 1:00 p.m.

August 14, 2015

Movies-in-the-Park: "Home"

See the movie "Home" under the stars on August 21!

We really enjoy spending time outdoors as much as possible, and movies in the park are some of the best ways during the summer months to do that! On Friday, August 21 at Mill Pond Park (Saline) families can enjoy seeing the movie Home.

Bring your blankets, family and friends and enjoy a great evening under the stars. From 6:30 pm to dusk there will be free family fun including inflatable obstacle course, inflatable bouncer, music, picnicking, sponsor activity area, games and more. Concessions are available for purchase. The movie "Home" will begin at sundown.

August 13, 2015

August Hikes for the Family

There are two hiking programs happening later this month through Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation. They are both appropriate for the whole family. What's really nice is that the timing of each event means you get to explore nature in several ways!

On Thursday, August 20 take a sunset hike at Rolling Hills at 6:30 p.m. A Field Guide to Fields will take you through Rolling Hills to see the botany, wildlife, and history. Explore the botany, wildlife, and history of the North American temperate grassland. Meet in the Prairie Pavilion lot.

Later in the week, on Sunday, August 23 from 2:00-4:00 p.m. Explore the northern wetland habitats of  Trinkle Marsh. While on the naturalist led program there will be wet conditions so be sure to dress for the weather.

August 9, 2015

Chelsea Community Fair

I still feel the loss of the Michigan State Fair, I miss the barns upon barns of animals and agricultural displays. Not to mention the fun fair food, games, music and family-friendly atmosphere. Next week though we can take in the Chelsea Community Fair (20501 W Old US Highway 12, Chelsea) August 25-29, 2015!

Expect traditional displays such as the Nature's Creation of Life display, the many animals, as well contests, the demolition derby, tractor pulling and many horse shows! After my foray into home wine brewing, I'm looking forward to checking out the homemade wine contest as well as the tables upon tables of home canned and baked goods on display. New this year is a cool ice cream truck, a lumberjack show, draft horse pull and square dancing. Be sure to check out the full schedule of events at the Chelsea Fair before heading out though!

Admission prices for the event are $7.00 with free admission for kids under age 10. In addition to the daily admission fee, your family might opt to enjoy the midway and rides for $20.00.

Here is a brief list of highlighted events that might be of interest to local Ann Arbor families:

August 23:
Free Admission to Tractor Pull

August 24:
Free Admission to Tractor Pull
Gates Open at 9:00 a.m.

August 25:
Gates Open at 10:00 a.m.
Rides Open at 5:00 p.m.
The Nature’s Creation of Life exhibit is open all day
Colors the Clown performs 5:00-8:00 p.m.
Children’s Parade; Tricycle Pull & Kid’s Day Events in Main Arena 5:30 p.m.
Demolition Derby starts at 7:30 p.m.

August 26:
Gates Open at 10:00 a.m.
Rides Open at 1:00 p.m.
The Nature’s Creation of Life exhibit is open all day
Colors the Clown performs 3:00-7:00 p.m.
Demolition Derby starts at 7:30 p.m.

Wednesday, August 27 - Senior Day:
Gates Open at 10:00 a.m.
Rides Open at 1:00 p.m.
The Nature’s Creation of Life exhibit is open all day
Kiddies Peddle-Power Tractor Pull at 1:00 p.m.
Colors the Clown performs 3:00-7:00 p.m.
Chelsea Community Fair Diesel Shootout Truck Pull starts at 7:30 p.m.

August 28 - Ladies Day:
Gates Open at 10:00 a.m.
Rides Open at 1:00 p.m.
The Nature’s Creation of Life exhibit is open all day
Tractor Pulling Contest, Farm Stock, Speed-Pull Weight Transfer Sled Classes starts at 7:00 p.m.

August 29:
Gates Open at 10:00 a.m.
Rides Open at 1:00 p.m.
The Nature’s Creation of Life exhibit is open all day
Youth Horse Show (Fun Day) 9:00 a.m.
Parade 1:00 p.m.
Colors the Clown performs 3:00-7:00 p.m.
4-Wheel and 2-Wheel Drive Pulling/Diesel Truck Pull Contests start at 7:30 p.m.

August 7, 2015

See the Perseid Meteor Shower at Independence Lake

See the Perseid Meteor Shower  next Tuesday at
Independence Lake! 
On Tuesday, August 11 from 9:00 p.m. - 1:00 a.m. see the Perseid Meteor Shower in the peaceful setting at Independence Lake. Naturalist Ron Gamble will start the evening with a brief talk on
meteor shower viewing starting at 9:00 p.m. Pre-registration for this free program is required, call Faye at (734) 971-6337 x 334.

Meet at the Independence Lake Park, Beach Center lot.

July 28, 2015

Summer Heat Wave Pool Give-away

The box arriving at my house the other day was perfect timing. It sure has been warm in Ann Arbor the past week or so! We finally flew past 90-degrees straight into a week of summer. Of course my children were crushed when they realized that they can not enjoy what was in the box due to the way our yard slopes.

Wait, what was IN the box? Funny you should ask!

Right now on the Ann Arbor Mom blog, local families have the opportunity to WIN a free backyard pool from Backyard Ocean! You read that correct as one Ann Arbor family gets their very own 8' x 26" Float to Fill Ring Pool Set. All you have to do to win, is comment below with one of your favorite ways to cool off in summer. For us it is a trip to the Argo Cascades followed by wading in the river at Island Park. Need some hints? Backyard Ocean has several great ways to cool off this summer and I highlighted a few of my favorites from their list!

Top Ways to Cool Off this Summer

1) Create a Slip n' Slide - This last week while visiting Silver Lake State Park, we heard of a local that creates a killer water slide using just sheets of plastic and a water pump. The slide starts at the top of the dune and ends in Silver Lake. Unfortunately he did not put it up while we were there. I also appreciate this great idea of a water-slide baseball! Honestly though the kids will have a lot of fun using a plastic drop cloth and sprinkler this summer!

2) Ice Cube Relay Races - Love, love, LOVE the idea of using ice cubes for any kind of game or relay race. I especially like freezing mini toys in ice cubes, then in using a stray see who can "thaw" their toy the fastest using only their breath. Although it is not a "ice cube" also consider stringing together frozen spoons then run an in and out relay.

3) Stay off Hot Pavement with a Bike Wash - No we are not talking a motorcycle wash (although pretty sure the riders would think this is cool) but how about using PVC a drill and a garden hose to create this front yard monstrosity? Pretty sure ALL the kids would want to play, making your the "cool house" for more reason than one! You can get all necessary supplies at Lowes.

Bike wash project directions courtesy of Lowes
 4) Homemade Popsicles - We used to make these ALL the time with small Dixie Cups, popsicle sticks, plastic wrap and a juice of choice. Consider adding real fruit too. Just drop fruit and juice into a cup, wrap the top with plastic wrap and insert a popsicle stick. Then freeze until solid! Easy peasy.

So what are your thoughts on the best way to keep cool? Comment below with your tip for a chance to with backyard pool from Backyard Ocean. All comments received by midnight August 7 will be entered into a random drawing. There is one caveat though, the winner must be available to meet with me in the parking lot of the local Sheriff Station in Ypsilanti - I already have the pool in hand, ready to give to the winner.

Thank you to Backyard Ocean for this amazing pool give away.

After you win your backyard pool, you may also appreciate some information on swimming pool safety and maintenance!

Hope to see many great tips - Stay cool.

July 8, 2015

Michigan State Fair 50% Discount Ultimate Wristband Tickets!

I have many fond memories of wandering the Michigan State Fair. I loved seeing all of the livestock exhibits, the homemaker and arts exhibits and the baby animal exhibits. I was always amazed at what other kids displayed and dreamed of winning a ribbon. Then one sad day the Michigan State Fair went away.

Several years ago I finally entered several jars of canned goods, photography and other pieces of art in the Saline Community Fair. Although it was not the exact same thing, I was excited that I won the ribbon that I had dreamed of. I have since submitted entries for the past several years and have even gotten the kids on the action after they realized they could earn a few dollars if their displays won!

I'll admit, I have not gone to the Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair since they moved to the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. That was mostly due to us traveling at that time the last few years. It looks like this year however I'll be able to take my kids to the fair for their own experiences. The best part is, I can get Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair tickets at 50% off right now! That's a great family deal and definitely one to scoop up now!


The Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair runs September 4-7, 2015 at the Suburban Collection Showplace (46100 Grand River Ave., Novi MI 48374). Ticket prices start as low as $8 for entry into the fair, however on the website, they are offering an Ultimate Wristband for $30 which includes unlimited carnival rides, the exhibit hall, the agriculture and home arts shows, free entertainment, and a performance of the Shrine Circus.  You can get 50% off Michigan State Fair tickets though through July 26! That's just $15 for the Ultimate-Wristband and all that it entails!

We're going to attend this year, will you take the family to the fair?



Note - Some friends were confused by the mention of Fifth Third Bank. They are the sponsors and not where you pick-up tickets. The discount voucher reads like this: "Please print and present voucher or present on mobile phone at the Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair and visit the Carrot Pass/QR code experience line for express entry and to redeem voucher." Also note that you are limited to buying (4) tickets for yourself and (4) tickets for a friend with this deal!

June 8, 2015

Win Free Strawberry Shortcake at the Belleville National Strawberry Festival

Win (4) free strawberry shortcakes ($16 value) during
Belleville's National Strawberry Festival June 19-21.
For YEARS before my children came along, I have enjoyed Strawberry Festival time. When the kids were born it became even more special. We enjoy the crafts, activities and events that happen during Belleville's National Strawberry Festival. We were happy to end up joining a church that promoted the event too and even happier to learn that our church makes the most amazing Strawberry pies and shortcakes! That's one reason why I love this opportunity to share with Ann Arbor Mom readers this great give-away.

Since 1977, Trinity Episcopal Church has been a part of the National Strawberry Festival in Belleville, which is held yearly over Father’s Day weekend. Visitors come from all over southeast Michigan for the famous homemade sloppy joes and glazed strawberry pies offered. Imagine a pie filled with four pounds of fresh berries! Don't have time to stop in to the church and eat out back? Don't worry as I have personally observed MANY visitors even stopping by just to pick up their pie.

It is best though to stop in and stay a while. Come for the craft show or enjoy many tasty treats in a comfortable, family friendly atmosphere. Nachos, sloppy nachos, 100% beef hot dogs, strawberry shortcake, sundaes, and smoothies are just a few of their delicious offerings. In addition to the fresh glazed strawberry pies, their bakery tent sells homemade strawberry bread and muffins, strawberry freezer jam, cheesecake, and tarts. They also offer no-sugar-added and gluten-free options. Food tent and bakery menus can be found on the Trinity Episcopal Church Strawberry Fest page of the website too!

I am proud too, that my children have had the opportunity to work alongside many volunteers during the festival, and that half of the proceeds from Trinity’s Strawberry Festival activities go back into the community. Your support helps support local services and projects while the other half supports special projects in the church.

In addition to their craft show, bakery and good food, this year Trinity will also have live entertainment on Friday and Saturday evening and a free Kid Zone on Saturday and Sunday with crafts and games and special guest appearances by Disney’s Princesses Anna and Elsa.

Let Trinity Episcopal Church is the first Strawberry Festival stop you see on Belleville Road when you exit I-94 heading into Belleville. They will be open on Friday, June 19 (4:00-9:00 p.m.), Saturday, June 20 (10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.), and Sunday, June 21 (11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.) Credit cards will be accepted at the bakery and food tent and parking is free. Find more information about the event at the Strawberry Festival Facebook Event Page for Trinity Episcopal Church.

Trinity is also one of the National Strawberry Festival Trolley stops.

Want another reason to stop at Trinity during Strawberry Festival? How about winning (4) FREE Strawberry shortcakes to eat there or take home? Now for Ann Arbor mom readers, comment below for your chance to win. Comment on Facebook for a second entry too. Just tell us which product your family likes best: A - Strawberry shortcake, B - - Strawberry pie, C - Strawberry smoothies, D - Strawberry cheesecake or E - ANYTHING strawberries!!!

All entries must be submitted by midnight Wednesday, June 17.

June 7, 2015

Nature Fun For Kids 2015

The naturalists at Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation have an awesome opportunity for Ann Arbor families looking for a great outdoor experience. "Nature Fun For Kids!" happens throughout the summer at various locations at 10:30 a.m. on a variety of topics. Are your kids interested in nature and science? The perhaps they would appreciate learning about clouds, what is swimming in the pond, or local wildflowers! Whatever their interest, the park naturalists can address your needs.

June 13: Cloudspotting
June 18: Dipping the pond
June 27: Hiking
July 2:P Living like a pioneer
July 11: Monarch butterflies
July 16: Wading the stream
July 25: Fishing fun
July 30: Wildflower bouquet
August 8: Skull hunt
Aug 13: Spiders

Just be sure to pre-register for their free program as it is limited to 15-participants. Register by calling 734-971-6337 x334.

June 5, 2015

National Trail Day

This is the perfect time of the year to get outdoors. Everyone can benefit from the fresh air - Mom, Dad AND the kids. So why not take advantage of National Trail Day?

On Saturday, June 6, 2015 there are plenty of opportunities to participate in organized hikes locally. I will be hiking as part of the Iron Belle Trail dedication hike where 130 Scout Troops throughout the state will hike from Belle Isle to Ironwood in a single day. Of course my group only has 5.5 miles of that! Don't let that scare you though. Your hike can be as short or long as you like!

There are two local organized hikes that Washtenaw County Parks and Recreation are leading. The first begins at 10:00 a.m. and ends at 1:00 p.m. at the Leonard Preserve  (N Union St, Manchester, MI 48158) and the second runs 2:00-4:00 p.m. at the Squires Preserve (Sylvan Rd, Chelsea, MI 48118). All ages are welcome to participate. Bring a snack, water or lunch and dress appropriately.  


If you are not able to walk tomorrow, on Sunday there is another 1-mile family friendly walk too. The Family Adventure Walk is a free event from 10:00 a.m.-noon  at Lily Park (Ellsworth and Platt). Enjoy activities sponsored by the Leslie Science Center, and Ann Arbor Hands On Museum as well as find food, fun and t-shirts! It's all about getting outdoors this weekend.

May 1, 2015

Mothers Day Crafts

Tomorrow will be beautiful in Ann Arbor, but as my daughter reminded me last night, Mother's Day is NEXT WEEKEND! She was actually pretty cute too, as she told me that she wanted to save money to buy me a big diamond. I didn't have the heart to tell her she didn't need to but instead told her that Daddy will be taking her to Home Depot to build a picture frame. I told her she could give it to Grandma, but I expect I will be receiving it now. With that being said, I wanted to share these three quick Mother's Day craft options that are happening tomorrow.

I already highlighted the Home Depot kids building project earlier this week, but as a reminder, starting at 9:00 a.m. at local Home Depot locations, kids can build a cute picket fence frame. It would be a perfect Mother's Day project.

Lucky kids (and parents) may also want to stop by a local Michael's craft store during their Kids Club® event 10:00 a.m. - noon. This is where they craft and you shop. This 30-minute drop-in event gives kids the opportunity to create and take home a completed project for just $2/child. The cost  includes supplies and none of the mess. It is for kids ages 3 and up. Tomorrow kids are making a Mother's Day frame.

Then later that day, stores are offering a family class for another kind of frame. This one is a cute canvas project that highlights your child's handprints so they can say "Owl always love you! The project runs 6:30-8:30 p.m. and costs $15 for the canvas and all supplies. Once again though, the mess stays at Michael's.

So Whoo loves you this Mother's Day? Be sure to take the kids. If you don't want the projects, I'm certain grandma would love to receive one this Mother's Day!

April 29, 2015

Birding for the Family


I love spending time in the woods with the kids. In the past few years we have gotten more into birding as well. This is actually the second year I am coaching my daughter in Feathered Friends for the Washtenaw Elementary Science Olympiad too. So why are birds so special? Because they offer the perfect opportunity to see things in nature, and to do so requires everyone to be quietly observant!

There are two great programs available through the Washtenaw County parks and Recreation program in May that I wanted to highlight. They are perfect opportunities for beginning birders and they are free events! Be sure to check them out.

On Saturday, May 2 at the Kosch Headwaters Preserve (Prospect and Ford Roads), walk through open fields, dry woods, wet woods and more to see the birds living there. The area is perfect for birding and should provide a nice variety of spring birds. Bring binoculars and field guide if you can. Beginning birders welcome! Faye Stoner leads this walk starting at 8:00 a.m.

Then on Saturday, May 9 at County Farm Park (Platt Road entrance), bring the kids to the free event called "Birdwatching For Kids." Celebrate backyard and urban birds on International Migratory Bird Day! The program will start with some basic bird identification tips and then head out into the gardens, fields and wooded areas of County Farm to see what birds we can find living in the park. The information collected that day will be sent to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology to add to their data on birds that live in urban areas. Bring binoculars and field guide if you can, but some materials will be provided. Children ages 6 and older are welcome to participate. Faye Stoner leads this hike starting at 3:00 p.m.

April 28, 2015

Free Friday at Cranbrook


This Friday 5:00-10:00 p.m., families can get free admission to the Cranbrook Institute of Science during First Free Friday. The program, courtesy of the MASCO Corporation Foundation, will offer a free evening of science fun for everyone! See the many great exhibits. I took the kids this last fall and they really enjoyed it.

Extend your stay by grabbing a snack at The Café or stop into the Observatory too! Planetarium and bat shows are offered at an additional charge.

Mother's Day Kids Building Projects

The two local big box building stores have two fun (and free) kids building clinics coming up where kids can make a nice gift for Mom or grandma. My kids always loved participating in the building projects and I appreciate not needing to clean up their mess. Will your register your kids for these free activities?


On Saturday, May 2, at 9:00 a.m. your kids can make a cute photo frame at local Home Depot stores. The kids building clinics provide free kids aprons, an activity pin, the materials and event the paint for the project. You just supply the kids. To register for the Home Depot kids workshops visit their website.

The second kids building clinic is part of the Kids Build and Grow series. On Saturday, May 9 at 10:00 a.m. kids will build a cute planter specifically for Mother's Day. In my experience though, be sure to register early for these clinics as they tend to fill up quickly!

April 6, 2015

Ann Arbor Earth Day Celebrations, Activities & Events

Do you want to teach your children to appreciate their natural environment? Why of course you do, what parent wouldn't. The world we live in needs to be around for generations to come, and our kids need to understand what they can do to live in, and improve it. Since Earth Day arrives on Good Friday this year, many events are taking place around that day. Take a look, and find an event you can attend to show off mother Nature in all her glory!

The Annual Ann Arbor Area Earth Day Festival will be held on April 19, noon-4:00 p.m. at the Leslie Science and Nature Center (1831 Traver Rd., Ann Arbor). The free event features educational displays, music, hands-on activities, face painting, animals, clean energy expo, and family entertainment including storytelling and sing-alongs. The event always includes the All Species Parade too, with many participants in costumes representing plants and animals. For a full list of Earth Day activities at the LSNC be sure to refer to their website.

Another great way to encourage sustainability  a love for nature and taking responsibility is through allowing your children to participate in a Earth Day project, a spring clean-up event or other community conservation project.

April 4, 2015

Family Fun Night at UM Natural History Museum

This Friday Night spend a Night at the Museum specifically a Fun Friday Night The University of Michigan Natural History Museum (1109 Geddes Ave, Ann Arbor).  On Friday April 10, the museum will be open until 8:00 p.m. so the entire family can enjoy experiencing all the museum has to offer. This free event includes storytime, cow eyeball dissections, the Planetarium and fun activities. The entire event is free however donations are accepted. For planetarium shows at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m., there is a $3 cost. Each show is 30 minutes long. Tickets can be purchased the night of the event at the Museum Gift Shop.

Be sure to arrive early as some activities have limited space. The Fun Friday Night includes:
  • Planetarium shows at 5:30, 6:30 and 7:30 p.m
  • Storytime at 6:00 and 7:00 p.m. (limited to 36 people)
  • Free demonstrations
  • Dinosaur tour at 7:00 p.m. (limited to 15 people)

April 3, 2015

Free Program: Birds, Music and Spanish! Ages 3-7

On April 10 at 11:0 a.m., your tot will surely enjoy participating in "Twitter, Tweek, De Aves" sponsored by Anchors Unlimited Science Fun, Inc. at the Ann Arbor District Library (downtown). Kids ages 3-7 will have the opportunity to listen and learn about birds while enjoying music and Spanish during this free program. The program incorporates hands-on learning stations too!

Space is limited for this event though, so be sure to register early. For questions, please feel free to email captain@anchorsciencefun.com.

April 1, 2015

Kids Learn About Michigan Frogs and Toads

Join the Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation and Faye Stoner exploring Michigan's frogs and toads on Saturday, April 11, 7:00-8:30 p.m. The free program is perfect for all ages and takes place at the Beach Center at Independence Lake (3200 Jennings Rd, Whitmore Lake, MI 48189). A brief indoor presentation will be followed by hike to look and listen for frogs. A few live frogs will be on hand to see and touch.

New Exhibit at U-M Museum of Natural History

Starting April 4 and running through January 2016, families should consider visiting the new exhibit The Shape of the Universe.   The exhibit traces the history of our evolving understanding of the Universe, from Einstein's discovery of space-time, through the development of theories explaining the Big Bang and cosmic expansion, up to cutting-edge research on gravity waves being conducted by U-M mathematician Lydia Bieri. This exhibit will include interactives, video, beautiful NASA photographs, and artwork by local high school students.

March 30, 2015

The Critter House at the Leslie Science & Nature Center

Sundays, April 5, 12, 19, 26  from noon-3:00 p.m. families can explore the Critter House at the Leslie Science & Nature Center (1831 Traver Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105).

The Critter House allows kids of all ages to observe frogs, turtles, snakes, rabbits, and more as they hop, crawl, or slither in their homes here at LSNC! The animals at the house include species native to this region as well many unique and exotic animals donated by our supporters. During open hours the staff will answer your questions, hold interactive activities, and help you get up close and personal with some interesting and unusual animals! Take advantage of this great way for kids–and the whole family–to develop an appreciation for the incredible diversity of the natural world.

This is a free activity no registration is required. Please call 734-997-1553 with any questions.

March 26, 2015

Spring Welcome a Children’s Program

Let us enjoy a hearty "Spring Welcome!" with Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation. On Thursday, April 2, join naturalist Shawn Severance at County Farm Park (Medford Lot) to explore the magic of spring.  

During this program children ages 2-5 will read the book “Tap the Magic Tree” which will be followed by a tap, jiggle, wiggle and brush as the kids breeze their way through the woods.  Hopefully the kids will wake up the tiny leaves and flowers nestled snug in their buds, waiting for spring. This free event will be held at 10:30 a.m.

March 25, 2015

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie Coming to Performance Network


Rescheduled from December, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is coming to the Performance Network (120 E. Huron St, Ann Arbor, MI, 48104) May 30-31. This delightful family theatrical production explores the delicious chain reaction set in motion when a little boy offers a cookie to a visiting mouse. Performances are May 30 and ­31 at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 each and may be purchased online at www.pntheatre.org or by calling the box office at 734-­663-­0681.

 Want a chance to win (2) free tickets to the Saturday, May 30th at 2:00 p.m.? Thanks to performance Network, the Ann Arbor Mom blog has the opportunity to give one family free admission to the program. Just comment below on what part of the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is your child's favorite part. A random winner from all entries posted by midnight April 8. Tickets will then be held in will-call at the theater for the winner.

March 22, 2015

Exploring the Back Forty

Get outdoors and Explore the Back Forty of Rolling Hills. On Sunday, March 29, 2:00-4:00 p.m. (meet in the northern Sports Field Lot) join naturalist Faye Stoner to explore  the western-most fields and hedge rows of the park. Hikers will discuss the plant and animal life found. Some easy bushwhacking may be required for this hike so dress appropriately.

March 20, 2015

Toledo Zoo Aquarium Grand Re-opening

On March 27, 2015, the Aquarium at the Toledo Zoo will re-open. The newly renovated Aquarium houses 3000+ aquatic animals in 178,000 gallons of water – nearly four times the volume as the previous Aquarium. Although the two and half year renovation preserved the exterior of the Works Progress Administration (WPA)-era structure, the new Aquarium experience, from sleek sharks to glittering tropical fish, is like nothing seen before in this region.

Families will now be able to touch a stingray, stand beside a sea turtle as it glides by, and talk to a diver inside The Reef. Every step leads further into the mysteries that lurk underwater, from flooded forests of the Amazon and deep seas of the Pacific to fish that glow in the dark and sea nettles that kill with a touch.

So what's new in the Toledo Zoo aquarium?

Exhibit water volume:
Old: 46,000 gallons
New: 178,000 gallons

Largest Exhibit:
Old: 7,600 gallons
New: 90,000 gallons

Percentage of marine (saltwater) exhibits:
Old: 37%
New: 87%

That's a lot of change to check out, so be sure to stop in after they re-open March 27!

March 18, 2015

Spring Break Camp Programs Around Ann Arbor

With spring break rapidly approaching, area parents are beginning to plan for the big question: “What will I do with my child when they are out of school on break?” If you haven’t done so already, following is a list of spring break camp programs in and around Ann Arbor. I will add to the list as additional camp opportunities are brought to my attention!

Ann Arbor Art Center Spring Break Camp
 Kids ages 5-12 get creative at the Ann Arbor Art Center. Before and after care is available. Cost $360+.

Girl Scouts Heart Of Michigan Spring Break Camp - Ypsilanti
Girls have a lot to experience over spring break. Find daily programs or stay the whole week. For more information or to register, call the GSHOM at 734-714-5140.

Leslie Science & Nature Center Spring Break Camp
Kids in grades K-5 can experience the great outdoors with a walk in the woods, frolic in the fields, or poke around local ponds, filling spring break with natural wonders - Other activities include outdoor games, survival skills and explorations on the wet and wild side. Register online, drop off or mail-in form at 1831 Traver Road (Ann Arbor, MI 48105) or call 734.997.1553. Cost: $250.

Peachy Fitness Spring Break Camp
Yoga and fitness camp for kids ages 5-14 runs daily 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.. Cost $175.

Summers-Knoll School Spring Break Camp
Kids in grades pre-k through 8th grade should plan to join in on a week of spring break adventures at Summers-Knoll School (2203 Platt, Ann Arbor, 48104). The program offers engaging and educational programs for children ages 4.9 years through 13 years. Campers are divided into age-appropriate groups for daily art, science, and outdoor activities. Pre and post camp care is also available for an additional fee. Register online and contact Rachel Goldberg (rgoldberg@summers-knoll.org or 734.971.7991734.971.7991 with questions. Cost $255.

WideWorld Sports Spring Break Camp
Experience an indoor soccer camp during spring break for half or full day. Before care starts as early as 7:30 a.m. with a late pick-up up until 6:00 p.m. Cost: $135/$195

If you have additional spring break camp information, please list it below in the comments of contact me at tmayrend (at) gmail dot com.

Spring Break Activities for Kids: Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti


There may be some questions on Phil's "spring" prediction however,
your kids and teens still have plenty of Spring Break activities!
Many schools in the area are having spring break after Easter. Unfortunately the list of activities and events seems to be a bit short this year. Below is an events listing, day-by-day, to keep your kids and teens happy and busy throughout spring break and their week off school.

Events that happen all week include Spring Break events at the Ypsilanti District Library (229 West Michigan Ave., Ypsilanti) from 2:00-3:00 p.m. and daily activities at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

If more activities are found, they will be added to the post. Have you heard about something fun to do on spring break? Be sure to comment below!

Monday, April 6:
10:00 a.m.: Is it spring yet? The Matthaei Botanical Gardens wants you to figure that out. Kids can grab their parents and an activity backpack to go on a self-guided hunt for signs of spring. Scavenger hunt sheets, magnifying lenses, and twig and bud detective guides will help children investigate signs of spring.  This is a free event!

2:00 p.m.: Spring Break Fun (YDL-Michigan) Kids can stop in everyday for a fun craft or activity. K-5 Activity.

2:00 p.m.: Secret Agent Training Center at the AADL. This free event is intended for grades K - 8. Find out what it takes to be a spy at Super Secret Spy School. Kids will learn techniques and strategies employed by the sneakiest of spies for carrying secrets, mastering disguises, and writing in code.

6:00 p.m.: Spring Break Matinees at the Ypsilanti District Library (Whitaker Rd.) - Free movies.  All ages are welcome and there will be free popcorn! Movies:  Sleeping Beauty

6:30 p.m.: Spring Break @ the Library (YDL Michigan Branch) Celebrate National Poetry month! Bring your rhymes to the Teen Zone and add your lyrics to the beat. Hosted by ADB. Free teen event.

7:00 p.m.: Felt Ball Fun Teen Event and youth (grade K and up). Spend time with local crafter Beth Battey as she leads a hands-on workshop to make a felt ball. Start with colorful wool roving, add warm water, a little soap and some patience, and you get a fun felt ball! Felt balls can be toys for kids and pets, jewelry, a garland or a fun decoration!

Tuesday, April 7:
10:00 a.m.: The Power of Nature - A Make Way for Spring program for kids at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Children and their parents invited to celebrate World Health Day with self-guided activities that tap into the power of nature. Free; self-guided.

11:00 a.m.: Spring Break @ the Library (YDL Michigan Branch) Put your creativity to work over Spring Break and make a graphic novel with Casey Dixon. Brainstorm a story, layout your ideas on storyboard, get tips and improve your drawing. This program runs Tuesday-Thursday. Free teen event.

1:00 p.m.: 3-D Flower Art at the AADL. Kids will make gorgeous 3-D flowers to decorate your space or give as gifts.

2:00 p.m.: Spring Break Fun (YDL-Michigan) Kids can stop in everyday for a fun craft or activity.

6:00 p.m.: Spring Break Matinees at the Ypsilanti District Library (Whitaker Rd.) - Free movies. All ages are welcome and there will be free popcorn! Movies:  Maleficent

7:00 p.m.: Polymer Clay Pinwheel Earrings Teen Event (grades 6+). Head to the Library and make a pair of fun, one-of-a-kind earrings.

Wednesday, April 8:
10:00 a.m.: Eco-Kids - A Make Way for Spring program at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Children accompanied by a parent will learn how to turn table scraps into soil through composting and make paper from recycled newsprint.  $5.00/child includes activities and materials. A Make Way for Spring school break activity.

2:00 p.m.: Spring Break Fun (YDL-Michigan) Kids can stop in everyday for a fun craft or activity.

2:00 p.m.: Pokemon Showdown at AADL. This free event is intended for grades 6 - 12. Are you walking around with a head full of Pokemon knowledge? Pokemon Showdown is the ultimate Pokemon battle simulator - and there's no need to catch 'em all!

2:00 p.m.: Caped Crusaders. Kids (grades K-5) will make a one-of-a-kind super hero cape. We’ll show you how.

6:00 p.m.: Spring Break @ the Library (YDL Michigan Branch) Teens can make a glass bead wind chime. Free teen event.

6:00 p.m.: Spring Break Matinees at the Ypsilanti District Library (Whitaker Rd.) - Free movies. All ages are welcome and there will be free popcorn! Movies:  Big Hero 6


Thursday, April 9:
10:00 a.m. Native Beauties - A Make Way for Spring program at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. Children accompanied by a parent will learn what makes a plant native and how it can be used in the garden  $5.00/child includes activities and materials. A Make Way for Spring school break program.

1:00 p.m.: Make a pencil crossbow at the AADL. Kids (grades K-5) will use household materials to learn a little about how crossbows work.

2:00 p.m.: Spring Break Fun (YDL-Michigan) Kids can stop in everyday for a fun craft or activity.

6:00 p.m.: Spring Break Matinees at the Ypsilanti District Library (Whitaker Rd.) - Free movies. All ages are welcome and there will be free popcorn! Movies:  Boxtrolls

7:00 p.m.: Teen Event - Make Studded Cuff Bracelets at the AADL. Teens in grades (6+) will make something shiney for their wrist - studded cuff bracelets!


Friday, April 10:
10:00 a.m.: Conservation Station - A Make Way for Spring program at the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. On a guided tour children accompanied by a parent will explore the trails and wetlands at Matthaei Botanical Gardens and discover ways to become stewards of the land. (Rainy day alternative: Michigan ecosystems games.)  $8.00/child includes materials and activities. A Make Way for Spring school break program.

1:00 p.m.: Button Bonanza at the AADL. Kids in grades K-5 will make fun button crafts including button flower rings.

2:00 p.m.: Spring Break Fun (YDL-Michigan) Kids can stop in everyday for a fun craft or activity.