Ten Places to Take Your Toddler in Toledo

 

toddler2There should be a national hug a mom of a toddler day! Seriously, the toddler years are some of the most trying times. It’s a potpourri of independent streaks, tantrums, crying, whining, exhaustion, frustration, etc. I have come to the conclusion that Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was inspired by a toddler. They are happy and giving mommy kisses one second and then suddenly laying on a dirty public restroom floor kicking there feet and screaming the next, all because they wanted to pull the paper towel out of the dispenser themselves. How dare you mom, now you must suffer with severe embarrassment as strangers walk in and give you “the look”.  And you can forget about ever being on time because toddlers will find a way to sabotage that whole punctuality thing you had going on before you had kids. They will want to put their coats on themselves and it will be the most agonizing 15 minutes of your life. They will put it on upside down, inside out, miss snaps, snap their fingers accidentally, put their hood on, take their hood off, and then, just when they almost have it, will declare that they aren’t wearing a coat. Then they will focus there attention on the invisible bumps in their socks!  Raising a toddler is a lot like trying to raise that obnoxious, drunk, roommate from college. They both can do everything themselves, they are more than happy to cause a scene in public, they both need sippy lids, they refuse to eat the food you give them, they will yell and scream and fight you when you say it’s bedtime, ten minutes later you find them passed out under a piece of furniture, and neither seems to be able to make it to the bathroom in time. Raising a toddler isn’t for the faint of heart that’s for sure. And while it can be embarrassing to take the equivalent of your drunken roommate out in public it is the best thing you can do for yourself and your toddler, promise!

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Getting out of the house, for even just an hour or two is the best way to maintain your sanity! Besides, what are you going to do at home? Pick up the same Mega Bloks 18 times while trying to multitask cleaning up spills, doing dishes, and laundry, all to have your husband come home and ask you what you did all day? Call up some friends and get out! Don’t have any mom friends yet? Make them….they will not come knocking on your door, you need to take the initiative, seek out playgroups online, on Facebook, shoot, start your own playgroup on Facebook. You need adult conversation, you need someone to say “I can totally relate”, playgroups are just as much for the moms as they are the toddlers. When you start that playgroup you are going to need to post events. Here is a list of fun, toddler friendly destinations in Toledo to get you started!

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Ten Places to Take Your Toddler in Toledo:

Sunrise Gymnastics OPEN Gym

 

Address: 3640 N Holland Sylvania Rd, Toledo, OH 43615

Phone: (419) 841-2902

Website: http://www.sunrisegymnastics.com/

When: Saturdays 12pm- 1pm (No registration necessary)

Cost: $10 for the hour

Children ages 1yr-Kindergarten can enjoy an hour of jumping on the trampoline, swinging from the rings, trying the balance beam, etc. inside Sunrise’s back gym. Parent participation is required.

 

Toledo Lucas County Public Library Story Time & Playdates (FREE)

 

 

Address: Main Branch-325 N Michigan St, Toledo, OH 43604

Phone: (419) 259-5200

Website: http://www.toledolibrary.org/events

When: Varies

Cost: FREE

Each of the library branches offers magnificent events, activities, story times, etc. for toddlers. Click on the link above to be directed to the Toledo Lucas County Public Libraries list of events…you can narrow your search by typing in your branch, event, etc. or do a broad search and venture beyond your local branch. I will tell you the Main Library has an awesome Children’s Area! There is a car children can sit in, aquarium where they could literally stand for days, Dr. Seuss’ Cat in the Hat character, and more….and there is a café if you were looking to lunch.

Toddler Time at Sky Zone

Address: 1600 Albon Rd, Holland, OH 43528

Phone: (419) 491-1194

Website: https://www.skyzone.com/toledo/

When:Fridays 10am-12pm & Saturdays 9am-10am

Cost: $10.99 hr Plus One Adult FREE

Toddler Time is a great shared experience for child and parent. A time for your little ones to discover the joy of being active, bouncing under the supervision of their parents, and without interference from the big kids!

Imagination Station

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Address: 1 Discovery Way, Toledo, OH 43604

Phone: (419) 244-2674

Website: http://imaginationstationtoledo.org/

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday: 10am – 5pm, Sunday: Noon – 5pm, Monday: CLOSED*

Cost: Get a Membership! Totally worth it (all five of us got in for FREE at COSI in Columbus thanks to this membership…and it would have cost us more than the membership for admission to COSI for one day. You can also receive 50% off at Michigan Science Center) Adults: $13 Kids: 3-12 $11 Kids 0-2: FREE

Little KIDSPACE is seriously THE BEST place to take a Toddler in Toledo!! I used to just go there for two hours and then go home, it is ah-mazing! It is an enclosed, gated space, so you don’t have to worry about constantly chasing after your toddler and it gives them their much needed freedom/independence. I also like the fact that there is hand sanitizers on the way in and out. And there is so much to touch, see, do, etc. that they won’t get bored.

Little KIDSPACE is specifically designed to help kids kindergarten age and younger learn and explore. Children learn through play. They have an innate interest in the world around them, and the skills and knowledge that children acquire as they play help them to make sense of the world. Young children are active learners who engage in science every day as they observe, wonder, experiment and talk about their findings. Our littlest adventurers can hop aboard a fire truck, shop in the grocery store or climb their favorite tree house while learning about forces, motion, math and life science.

Family Center Toledo Museum of Art (FREE)

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Address: 2445 Monroe St, Toledo, OH 43620

Phone: (419) 255-8000

Website: http://www.toledomuseum.org/

Hours: Tues & Thurs 10am-3pm, Friday 3:30pm-8pm, & Saturday and Sunday noon-5pm

Free, fun, and open to everyone! The TMA Family Center, located in the education wing near the Plough entrance, is the perfect place for our youngest Museum visitors to make and take memories with their parents and caregivers. Drop in for themed activities that enliven the world of art for kids ages 1-10 (and even grown-ups!). Check the calendar on this page for upcoming projects. Calendars can be customized and printed by clicking on the Google Calendar icon at the bottom of the calendar listing.

 

Chick-fil-a Breakfast (6:30-10:30am)

Address: 4260 W Sylvania Ave, Toledo, OH 43623

Phone: (419) 474-2000

Website: https://www.chick-fil-a.com/Locations/OH/Sylvania–Talmadge

Hours: Monday – Saturday 6:30 AM-10:00 PM, Sunday Closed

Meetup with other mommas and toddler from breakfast! (Around 9:30/10am) I know it sounds crazy but breakfast is the cleanest and least busy time of the day. Toddlers can play in the play area without having to worry about being trampled by bigger kiddos and moms can enjoy coffee/sandwich at the nearby booths. Then, this is the best part…you go home and guess who is so tired out from their morning activity? Both of you! Lol! Yep, nap time!!

 

Barnes and Noble Fallen Timbers Storytime & Craft (FREE)

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Address: The Shops at Fallen Timbers, 3100 Main St #1400, Maumee, OH 43537

Phone: (419) 878-0652

Website: https://stores.barnesandnoble.com/store/2298

When: Thursdays @ 10am and Saturdays @ 11am

I so looked forward to Thursday mornings, I would keep the baby in the stroller, grab a coffee from the Starbucks in the store then stroll over to the story time in the children’s area. This is probably one of the best story times in the area…kiddos listen to a story, move, do a craft, and most importantly everyone is understanding of the fact that littles don’t always sit still! Story time was probably when my love affair with Barnes & Noble started…I crave those bargain books, lol! So be sure to pack some extra willpower when you go! 😉

Wildwood Preserve Toddler Trails

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Address: 5100 W Central Ave, Toledo, OH 43615

Phone: (419) 407-9700

Website: https://metroparkstoledo.com/explore-your-parks/wildwood/

When: Varies- Click on the website for upcoming Toddler Trail events (usually 10am-11am)

Cost: Varies but usually $2-$5 Registration is required

This outdoor, multi-sensory nature play and exploration introduces your toddlers up to three years of age to the natural world and promotes preservation. Parents accompany and assist in their child’s experience at the program. Register toddlers only. (They always have fun themes and hand-on activities)

Toledo Zoo & Aquarium (Nature’s Neighborhood)

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Address: 2700 Broadway St, Toledo, OH 43609

Phone: (419) 385-5721

Website: https://www.toledozoo.org/

Hours: 10am-5 every day (Sun.-Sat.)

Cost: Adults $21, Children (2-11) $18, Under 2 Years FREE

I always let the kiddos pick one animal to see and then we lived in Nature’s Neighborhood for the rest of the time. Thanks to the membership I never felt obligated to see EVERYTHING, we could always go back later in the week. My personal favorite part about the zoo in the winter time is the fact that no one is there, it is the best! I am not a huge fan of the zoo in the summer, it is WAY too crowded. So soak up the secluded retreat while it last. Go see an animal then park the stroller at Natures Neighborhood. (We would even pack lunch and eat it there in the kitchen area). For more info click link, https://www.toledozoo.org/natures-neighborhood/

Learning Express Events/Crafts

Address: 5577 Monroe St, Sylvania, OH 43560

Phone: (419) 885-3959

Website: https://www.facebook.com/LearningExpressSylvania/

When: Varies

Learning Express offers fun simple, seasonal crafts for toddlers. Dates & days vary; they currently don’t have anything posted but be certain to check back in February for a fun winter/ Valentine craft for littles.

 

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Added Tips for living with Toddlers:

Always pack bubbles-quickest way to get your toddler attention is to blow bubbles, truth!

Leave the house early, around 9:30am so that you can get to places right when they are open, that is when they are the cleanest and since toddlers love touching everything, and sometimes licking things, this is the best time to avoided maximum germ exposure/ germ lollypops.

Always have a change of clothes for yourself in the car…because puke, spills, and bloody noses happen!

Never run out of wine! 😉

Enjoy it! Take LOTS of pics, it goes by WAY too fast!

Do you have a favorite local spot to take your Toddler? Please share. Lets make this a great resource for all toddler parents to reference.

Dinner at 4pm: Are you raising 80 year old children?

Dinner at 4pm, are you mad? Seriously, the only people who eat dinner at 4pm are those living in retirement homes. At least that was what I thought in the past, (in fact, one of my Sheroes does this and I thought she was crazy) but I recently had a change of heart.  It all occurred one afternoon when my youngest asked for her 3rd afterschool snack in an hour. This got me thinking, why do we eat when we eat? Who established those times? And why do we follow an agenda that doesn’t suit our lifestyle? The answers to these questions brought about one of the biggest game changers in our meal schedule since eliminating that midnight feeding when the children were babies. The 4pm dinner!

So, after giving my daughter her 3rd afterschool snack in an hour’s time, two things occurred to me; one, she had just eaten the equivalent of her dinner, and two, in two hours when it was dinner time she would more than likely eat nothing because she will be full from all her snacking.  Having one child not eat their dinner is annoying, but all three, that’s just darn right frustrating. I starting have a sense of defeat. Why bother prepping and making all these healthy meals if the kids aren’t even going to eat them! I had grown sick and tired of wasting good food and money, something needed to change! And change it did. I managed to remove my heart and emotion for the situation and got down to the logistics. Why are the kids so famished after school? They have breakfast around 7:30am, lunch almost exactly 4 hours later, around 11:30am, and 4 hours after lunch is when they get home from school. But instead of being fed a meal at that time I give them apple slices that are supposed to tie them over until 6:30pm, that’s 7 hours between lunch and dinner, and to be honest sometimes dinner was even later than that depending on extracurricular activities. Why?….

Why do we eat when we eat, why eat dinner at 6:30pm/7pm? When I was a child we always ate dinner when dad came home and my parents did the same when they were children, so on and so forth. But that was also back in the pre-computer, web-conferencing, facetime, texting/cell phone era when parents were officially clocked out at 5pm or 6pm. A lot has changed since then and yet we are still maintaining that same time schedule.

Who established dinner time? I suppose I did, I set the meal time schedule. I like the idea of us all sitting down as a family, saying the prayer, breaking bread together, and sharing the happenings of each other’s day.

Why do we follow an agenda that doesn’t suit our lifestyle? One word, tradition, tradition says that the family sits and eats dinner together when the dad gets home from work. But here’s the thing, after the children have each had 3 afterschool snacks and 6:30pm rolls around, not only does no one eat but often times we have to go somewhere- religious education classes, Boy Scouts, basketball practice/game, or some other school/church activity. And what’s more, since my husband changed jobs two years ago he travels a lot which means often times he isn’t in town or at least not home in time for dinner. And yet there I was still sticking to a tradition.

Solution: Serve dinner when everyone is hungry, when they will eat the healthy meal that I have prepared. Serve dinner when there is time, time to sit before running off to another activity. But what about the family table, praying, breaking bread, sharing? We can do that earlier, or, even better, 4 hours after dinner and after those extracurricular activities the children’s bellies usually have room for a small snack before bed. Thus, the family table is quite suitable for an evening snack & chat before getting ready for bed- and if dad is in town he can join us. (This might mean giving up your screen time in the evening, do it!! This was another HUGE game changer to our evening routine that we adopted a couple years ago).

So it turns out all those folks in the retirement homes were onto something. The 4pm dinner and 8pm snack has been quite accommodating to our busy lifestyle and best of all the healthy, good food, and money spent on said food don’t go to waste. In fact we are having quite the opposite problem; there are no leftovers for the next day. What a magnificent problem. Then they are often off to an activity and return home for a delicious snack before bedtime.

Here are some examples of the snacks we enjoy:

Strawberry & Banana Smoothie (Kiddos’ Snack-Paleo(ish) Greek Yogurt is debatable)

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Ingredients:

1 Banana- sliced

2 Cups Frozen Strawberries

1 Cup Greek Yogurt

1 Cup Coconut Milk

2 Tablespoons Honey

Instructions: Blend everything together and serve. If you wish you could also place in a frozen safe dish and freeze overnight and have yummy frozen yogurt the next day.

Avocado Love (Sugar Free)

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1 Avocado, ¼ cup cucumber slices, & 4 cherry tomatoes sliced -drizzled with garlic olive oil (Bumble Olive Oil Company) and then topped with a bit of pepper. (Mom’s snack-sugar free)

Buffalo-ish Cauliflower (For everyone! Sugar Free!!Buffalo sauce is on the side since it is too spicy for some of the kiddos)

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Ingredients:

One Head Cauliflower cut into bite sizes

1 Cup water

1 Cup Almond Flour

Salt & Pepper to taste

½ cup Red Hot

1 Tablespoon Kerrygold Butter

Instructions:

Combine water and almond flour into a batter. Coat each cauliflower in batter and then place on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 450 degrees then flip each and bake for an additional 10 minutes until each is slightly brown and crispy looking.

While baking place Red Hot and butter in pan on top of stove, heat till butter is melted.

If you are not sharing this amazing dish with kids then brush buffalo sauce over cauliflower bites and place back in the oven for 8 minutes until the buffalo sauce is absorbed and cauliflower is crispy.

Salad Love (Sugar Free)

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Eggs, avocados, cucumber slices, and red & orange pepper slices in garlic olive oil-a.k.a. a salad (Mostly moms snack but once mom starts eating it everyone wants some, go figure! Lol! This is a sugar free snack)

Blueberry & Strawberry Smoothie (Kids’ snack-Paleo)

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Ingredients:

2 Cups Frozen Strawberries

1 Cup frozen Blueberries

½ cup hot water (otherwise everything freezes together in the blender)

1 Tablespoons Honey (Optional)

Instructions:

Blend 😉

Carrot Candy (Kids’ Snack-Paleo)

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Ingredients:

8 Carrot’s sliced into small bite sizes

2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt to taste

Instructions:

Place sliced carrots in bowl, pour olive oil in bowl and toss until all slices are coated. Place slices on baking sheet, sprinkle with salt. Roast at 400 degrees for 15 minutes. Let cool then devour-kiddos say they taste like candy.

Have you ever considered altering your meal schedule?

My Sheroes do more than Eat Pray & Love

You gotta love Hollywood, add an emotional soundtrack that will tug at audience’s heartstring to any image and/or picture and suddenly watching someone have the equivalent of a bowel movement is not only acceptable, but creative and inspiring. To add insult to injury why not blast Facebook with beautiful images of bad advice, hashtag vague phrases, and ultimately misinterpret ones purpose for life entirely. Once you allow your mind to be fed this alluring lifestyle that breeds self-love, self-assurance, self-analysis, self-examination, self, self, SELF, one could easily become glutton and drunk on the magnetism.

There is a group of women who are quite popular, mostly due in part because of their all-encompassing self-everything books, lifestyles, and who have grown quite a huge presence on social media, via popular picture/quotes, hashtags, YouTube videos, etc. and they have been known to identify each other as Sheroes=She +Hero. Upon learning that yet another one of these Sheroes had decided to leave her husband I literally wept. For I knew that her decision was monumental, she did not just end a marriage, break a vow, a promise, a commitment, but she also broke a family. And once something is broken, shattered into a hundred pieces, no matter how much time, love-wins Band-Aids are placed on it, or glue is used it will never be the same ever again. My heart really breaks for the children; they will never again have a, one, single home, but rather, mom’s house and dad’s house. We can justify anything, there are probably a million and one reasons why this broken family is for the best, but if one goes deep, really deep, beyond the mind, past the heart, to the soul, that is where truth sleeps.

After sinking into a mild depression upon reviewing the Sheroes of our time, these mentors of moms, these role models, leaders with such huge followings on social media, I came to the realization that I was listening to the emotional soundtrack, it was tugging at my heartstrings, & I was watching the equivalent of someone having a bowel movement. I was duped. I started contemplating all the other women in my life that might be feeling this same sense of being deceived and suddenly I had a revelation, a deep insight, my Sheroes weren’t those women with the all-encompassing self-everything books, movies, YouTube videos, etc. My Sheroes are the amazing women God has placed in my life, their stories are profound, and they are the true Heroes.

My Sheroes are…..

The wife who found out her husband was cheating on her and she stayed, worked things out, kept her family together despite all the horrible advice she received to leave. It was far harder for her to wake up every morning and see him and relive all the hurt than it would have been to leave but her love for her children, family, God, her commitment to marriage and her family was more important than her emotional state at that time.

The mother who has a nonverbal autistic child, who does everything she can for that child, along with her family, who you know must live with some heartache but maintains a positive outlook.

The wife and mother who had tumors removed from her brain and who now has to live with side-effects from the surgeries.

The woman whose husband cheated on her, refused to work on their marriage, left her, got remarried, had children, his second wife died, and this amazing women opened her heart and home to her ex-husband’s children because the children were innocent in all his life decisions.

The mother who not only had to give birth to her stillborn baby but also had to go through the heartache of explaining to the other children why their sibling wouldn’t be coming home.

The mother whose dream finally came true and she gave birth to her second, much prayed for child, only to find out the baby needed open heart surgery immediately.

The young wife whose husband had testicular cancer twice early on in their marriage and her commitment, her sacred vows of Holy Matrimony meant far more than any biological family.

My Sheroes do more than Eat Pray and Love, they stay! When the going gets tough, no matter how many times, they persevere, they stay….these bad-ass women honor their commitments!

These amazing women are held to high esteem in my mind, are very close to my heart and each of their stories have touched my soul deeply.

Are there any Sheroes in your life? Perhaps you are a Shero? Please feel free to share your story.

 

 

Michigan Science Center

“Awesome!”, “Cool!”, “Amazing!” those are the replies my 11, 9, & 6 year olds gave when asked what they thought about their experience at Michigan Science Center. Michigan Science Center is a hands-on STEM based museum located in Detroit, Michigan. We ventured up there and had the pleasure of partaking in their Glow Night. Glow Nights are special evening hours, 6-9pm, with discounted pricing (now through the 6th of Jan.), and some added Holiday fun. But best off all it provided us the opportunity to see what amazing exhibits, displays, and activities one can do, see, interact with, & even make at Michigan Science Center (MiSci).

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Our visit…..

First Stop-  Engineering

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Kiddos had a blast venturing across the 80-foot-long Mini Mac Bridge, traveling the roundabout, working the U.S. Steel Fun Factory and more…..

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Next Stop-Health & Wellness

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We discovered the importance of good nutrition and fitness, uncovered some of the hidden factors that affect our health both now and in the future, we learned how to make smart choices to improve our health, and had fun whacking sugar & fats!

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Then we were off to the final Frontier-Space

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We had a glimpse of the wonders of the universe and the history of human space travel….the rest of it was located on a level below us that wasn’t open in the evening…thus, we totally have to go back!

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We enjoyed learning about the constellation in the winter sky and about Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights, during the Planetarium show. Dassault Systèmes Planetarium features a Digistar® II projection system with 13,000-watt Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and a 50-foot-wide, three-story-high-dome, and comfy chairs.

Our final stop, Creatures of Light exhibit! (This special exhibit Ends Jan. 15th)

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We voyaged to the otherworldly realm of bioluminescence — the creation of light by living organisms. We traveled through summer meadows, learned why Fireflies glow, ventured into a cave to see worms glowing, and the deep sea to explore this incredible natural phenomenon.

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Glow Night was the perfect sampling of MiSci and it left us longing for more…so in order to satiate our appetite for science and fun we are already planning our next visit and it will include seeing….

Kidstruction

Kidstruction -Become an engineer and create structures with large vinyl blocks, giant planks, k’nex and more. Use tablets to experiment with design and participate in our building challenges. Included with paid general admission

Spark!Lab

Through hands-on activities, interactions with facilitators, and even conversations with inventors from the community, children and families engage in the process of invention. The self-led exploration that happens in this interactive space creates environments that support the creative and collaborative thinking so important to invention and entrepreneurship. Spark!Lab Smithsonian is where science center visitors become inventors and innovators.

Chrysler IMAX® Dome Theatre

Feel like you’re a part of the action. Showing films that entertain, educate and inspire, Michigan’s only IMAX® dome theatre surrounds audiences with an experience that thrills students and adults alike. Its 67.5-foot-wide, five-story high screen, modern stadium-style seating and state-of-the art technology creates an ultimate movie experience not to be missed!

We can’t wait to go back! Intrigued? Want to learn more? Perhaps plan your trip to MiSci today? Here are all the details….

Details

Phone:  (313) 577-8400

Address: 5020 John R St, Detroit, MI 48202

Website: http://www.mi-sci.org/

Admission: General admission is $14/adult, $11/child 12 and under or senior citizen (60+). Children under age two are free. (If you have an Imagination Station Membership you will receive 50% OFF!! It is advised to use your discount and just pay a la carte for the IMAX ($6per person) & the Planetarium shows ($6 per person)…your savings is deeper with this option as opposed to waiving your discount and going with one of the packages they offer…I found the website admission info slightly confusing so I gave them a call and a lovely woman walked me through the admission options over the phone). They also offer 3 different package prices online that do provide a slight discounts, click on link to view those, http://www.mi-sci.org/visit/#admissions

Hours:  Jan. 7 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Jan. 8 – 11 Closed for maintenance

Jan. 9 Normal hours resume:

M-T Closed

W-F 9 a.m.-3 p.m.

 Sat 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

 Sun noon-6 p.m.

Jan. 16: Martin Luther King Day 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Parking: http://www.mi-sci.org/visit/parking/

Amenities: Lockers, Coat Racks, & Café

 

Upcoming Events:

After Dark: Come spend your Third Thursday at After Dark, their monthly happy hour for ages 21+ only, while exploring exciting science concepts.

Upcoming After Dark dates and themes:

  • January 19 – Vintage Video Games
  • February 16 – Mardi Gras

FX Xpereince: Don’t miss out on MSC new FX: Family Xperience series the first Saturday of every month! All activities are included with paid general admission. Click on link to see schedule of events for 2017, http://www.mi-sci.org/discover/fx-family-experience/

Looking for more fun Indoor Adventures in SE Michigan and NW Ohio this winter? Click Here