Detroit with Kids: A Perfect Family Day

by Kim Goodin, an AOL Travel ContributorPosted Oct 14th 2010 04:20 AM

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Detroit with Kids: A Family Vacation

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A visit to Detroit with kids is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of family vacation ideas. After all, the city has been in the news repeatedly over the years for its high crime rate and poverty level. No question about it, Detroit is suffering. The good news is that the Detroit area is chock full of things to do, even with kids. If you extend your plans to include travel outside the city proper, you can enjoy unique and fun family vacations in Detroit with kids.


Morning


Start the day in Midtown with breakfast at Detroit's favorite crêperie, Good Girls Go To Paris. Good Girls has some 50 different fillings, both sweet and savory, so even kids who balk at unfamiliar foods will love it. How about bananas and Nutella, or berries and whipped cream? Or something heartier, say eggs, ham and Swiss cheese, or Nova lox and brie? Washed down with hot chocolate or a latte, it's a filling and refreshingly different way to start your morning.

Good Girls Go To Paris
15 E. Kirby St., Suite 115
Detroit, MI 48202
313-964-2023
http://www.goodgirlsgotopariscrepes.com/
Mon-Thu 9AM-8PM, Fri-Sat 9AM-10PM, Sun 9AM-5PM

Next up is the nearby Detroit Science Center. Loads of hands-on activities make it fun for kids of all ages, but the younger set will especially love Kids Town, with its changing seasonal themes. Educational fun in Detroit with kids? Absolutely!

Detroit Science Center
5020 John R. St.
Detroit, MI 48202
313-577-8400
http://www.sciencedetroit.org/
Hours vary seasonally. Spring/Summer Tue-Fri 9AM-3PM, Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun noon-6PM; Fall/Winter Wed-Fri 9AM-3PM, Sat 10AM-6PM, Sun noon-6PM
Adult $13.95, Senior/Child (3-12) $11.95, Children (2 and under) free

If time and energy permit, head over to the Detroit Children's Museum, where admission is free with your receipt from the Science Center. As part of its new association with the Science Center, the museum has received an overhaul in recent months, and is looking better than ever. More hand-on activities, more color, more fun! It's the perfect place to make memories (and take priceless photos).

Detroit Children's Museum
6134 Second Ave.
Detroit, MI 48202
313-873-8100
http://www.sciencedetroit.org/DCM.html
Mon-Fri 9AM-4PM, Sat 10AM-4PM
Children $2, Adult $4. Free with Science Center receipt.


Afternoon


By now, you're probably starving! Make your way downtown and grab lunch at American Coney Island. It's inexpensive and has good choices for both kids and adults, making it perfect for family vacations. Detroit's specialty is the Coney Island, a hot dog topped with chili, onions and mustard. You'll be surprised how good it is.

American Coney Island
114 W. Lafayette Blvd.
Detroit, MI 48226
313-961-7758
http://www.americanconeyisland.com
Daily 24 hours

Once everyone has a full belly, it's time to cross the river to Belle Isle. Designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, it's the kind of place that just might make your kids say, "This is our best family vacation!" Detroit isn't known for green space, but you'll find it here, along with a half-mile beach, zoo, conservatory, maritime museum, nature trails, swan boats and a fantastic playground.

Belle Isle
Across the Belle Isle Bridge, off of E. Jefferson Ave.
313-224-1101
http://www.fobi.org
Park daily dawn-dusk; individual attraction hours vary
Park free; individual attraction fees vary


Evening


After a few hours playing at the park, everyone is bound to be ready for some relaxation time. You have a couple of good options for dinner in the vicinity. Just over the bridge is Sindbad's, a long-standing Detroit restaurant that's something of an icon. For grownups, there are steaks, seafood and sandwiches. Kids can choose from chicken fingers, grilled cheese, and the like. It's perfect for family vacations in Detroit.

Alternatively, boogie over to Hard Rock Café. The pros: the kids' menu has more variety, the atmosphere is fun and relaxed, and Mom and Dad can get a cocktail and gawk at the music memorabilia (self-portrait of Jimi Hendrix, Ted Nugent guitar). Cons: the atmosphere is fun but it's also loud, and prices may be a bit steep for some budgets.

It's been a full day, but if you still have the energy, jump in the car and cruise over to the Ford Drive In in Dearborn. The drive-in theater is an American tradition that is sadly almost extinct, so if you can swing it, it's a cool experience for the kids and will end Detroit family vacations on a high note. Kid-appropriate movies usually start around 8PM.

Sindbad's
100 St Clair St.
Detroit, MI 48214
313-822-8000
http://sindbads.com/
Sun-Thu 11AM-9:30PM, Fri-Sat 11AM-11:30PM

Hard Rock Café
Inside Compuware World Headquarters
45 Monroe St.
Detroit, MI 48226
313-964-7625
http://www.hardrock.com/locations/cafes3/cafe.aspx?LocationID=367&MIBEnumID=3
Sun-Thu 11AM-11PM, Fri-Sat 11AM-2AM

Ford Drive In
10400 Ford Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48126
313-846-6910
http://www.forddrivein.com/
Show times vary
Adults $8.50, Child (6-12) $3, Child (5 & under) free
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