5 Fun Day Trip Destinations

Grande coffee, full tank, lengthy playlist, and empty bladders, its road trip time, baby!! There is something so welcoming, comforting, dare I say, relaxing, about taking a day trip with the kids. Planning is minimal, packing is slim, and the fact that you still get to come home to your own bed at the end of the day is very appealing. Here are 5 fun day trip destinations (in order to make the most of your trip note the, “while you are here you might want to check out”, at the bottom of each) that will have you enjoying the novelty and excitement of the day and sleeping like a baby in your own bed at night.

 

5 Fun Day Trip Destinations for Spring Break

 

1. Children of all ages will enjoy the Willy Wonka Experience at the South Bend Chocolate Company Factory Tour

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There are two factory tour options offered. Visitors who take the basic factory tour (free, 20 minutes) are treated to a history lesson of chocolate and its origins, as a guide leads guests through all of the factory processes, including panning, enrobing and more, including a test sample at the end. For those wishing to take the extended “Inside Scoop” tour/Go behind the scenes—where few have gone before, except those with golden tickets (run at the top of each hour, last 45 minutes or more depending on whom you meet and where you go! Expect chocolate surprises). For Wonka-wannabes only! You will dip a chocolate spoon and walk through the Chocolate Museum.

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And be sure to hit up the “almost perfect” area after your tour, this is where the chocolates that are slightly less than perfect are sold for a discount, like, pecan clusters (AKA turtles), mint-meltaways, chocolate covered tart cherries, etc.

Address: 3300 West Sample Street in South Bend, Indiana

Phone: 574-233-2577 to schedule a tour

Website: https://sbchocolate.com/tour/

Hours: Tours are at the top of every hour. Mon – Fri 9am-4pm & Sat 9am-2pm (Closed Sundays & major holidays).

Cost: the ‘Basic Factory Tour’ is FREE and the ‘Go Behind the Scenes’ tour is $5.00 adult/$2.00 children (11 & under)

While you’re in South Bend you might also want to check out:

  • The Studebaker Museum https://studebakermuseum.org/
  • St. Patrick’s County Park at, 50651 Laurel Rd, South Bend, IN 46637- with wooded trails, play equipment & picnic sitesspringbreak1803

 

 

2. This isn’t Just for the Kids! Fort Clarkston is a relaxing adult environment that just so happens to provide unique & fun activities for kids too!

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Finally a place that understands what moms’ really!! This is the #1 hot spot for children entertainment & adult relaxation combined!! Parents can enjoy free wi-fi, sipping on coffee or tea from the café, or just cozying up with a magazine or book with a tasty treat. You may not even notice your kids as they will be completely mesmerized by the astounding 2,400 square foot playstructure standing 3 levels tall and the 2 level bitty playstructure for the tots. Twisty, bullet and wavy slides will take the children from peaks to valleys, meanwhile the maze, bumper balls and rope climbs engage children of all ages. They also offer redemption games and arcades! Be sure to redeem your tickets at their ticket redemption desk for valuable prizes.

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Fort Clarkston offers a bar where moms can grab a glass of wine or beer and visit with other moms (or enjoy a little solitude), as well as feed the kiddo’s dinner/lunch at the café; it really is a mini vacation for moms!!

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Hours: Monday – Thursday 9am-8pm, Friday and Saturday 9am-9pm, & Sunday 9am-6pm

Address: 7127 Dixie Highway, Clarkston, MI

Phone: (248) 297-5453

Website: http://fortclarkston.com/

Hours: Monday – Thursday 9am-8pm, Friday and Saturday 9am-9pm, & Sunday 9am-6pm

Cost: Mon-Thurs. $10 for the entire day!!   Fri-Sun. $12 for the entire day!!   Parents are $5

While you’re in the area you might want to check out:

 

3. Airstream Factory Tour

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Ever wonder how an Airstream is made? See how they craft every piece of the Airstream Travel Trailers, and how they really do put every one of those rivets in by hand.

TOUR INFORMATION: The Airstream Factory Tour is held every Monday through Friday beginning at 2PM EST in the lobby of the Service Center (located on the north side of 274, next to the gas station). Cost is free. Please arrive 10-15 minutes ahead of time to check in. Late arrivals may not be permitted to join the tour. (Please note Friday tours are held after normal hours meaning you may not see the plant in full production. If you plan to attend around a holiday, please call in advance to verify our tour schedule).

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The tour lasts approximately 1.5-2 hours, requires a one-mile walk, and is divided into two parts. The first part highlights the building process of the travel trailers while the second part focuses on the touring coach process.

Hearing and eye protection is required and will be provided for you. They ask that you wear closed-toed shoes (no sandals or open toes). Reservations are not required except for groups of 10 or more or if you have any special needs requests.

Address: 419 W Pike St, Jackson Center, OH 45334

Phone: (937) 596-6111

Website: https://www.airstream.com/company/tours/

Hours: Monday through Friday beginning at 2PM EST

Cost: FREE

While you’re in the area you might want to check out:

The Bicycle Museum of America https://momonthegoinholytoledo.com/2017/07/17/the-bicycle-museum-of-america/

 

4. Merry-Go-Round Museum

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Enjoy a fun and relaxed atmosphere while you tour the Merry-Go-Round Museum and learn about the history and art of the carousel. The “oom pa pa” of the band organ, and the “painted ponies” on display will thrill and enchant you.

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Have your smiles ready as you relive your childhood excitement when you climb aboard the working “fully restored” Allan Herschell Carousel with the band organ playing. Watch carvers bring neglected carousel pieces back to their full beauty.

Address: 301 Jackson St Sandusky, OH 44870

Phone: (419) 626-6111

Website: http://www.merrygoroundmuseum.org/

Hours: Wed-Sat: 11am-4pm & Sundays 12pm-4pm

Cost: Adults: $6.00, Senior Citizens: $5.00, Children (4-14): $4.00, (under 4): FREE (The cost Includes 1 Ride Token)

While you’re in the area you might want to check out:

African Wildlife Safari http://www.africansafariwildlifepark.com/

The Maritime Museum https://www.sanduskymaritime.org/information

 

5. Great Lakes Science Center

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The Great Lakes Science Center invites visitors of all ages to “learn by doing” with their 400 hands-on exhibits. You’ll find permanent installations on technology, the environment, the body, and the Great Lakes themselves as well as interesting temporary shows and an adjacent OMNI-MAX theater—you can easily make a day of it!!

Address: 601 Erieside Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114

Phone: (216) 694-2000

Website: http://greatscience.com/about/who-we-are

Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 10am-5pm & Sunday noon-5pm

Cost: Adult $16.95 and Youth (2-12)* $13.95 Theater tickets cost extra

While you are in the area you might want to check out:

https://momonthegoinholytoledo.com/2016/04/07/campbells-sweets-factory-tour/

Have a favorite road trip destination? Please share! We are always on the lookout for fun day trip destinations.

Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit, totally worth the trip!

A couple weeks back a good friend of mine texted me about taking the kiddos to a new place in Detroit over spring break. (Yep, you read right, Detroit!) I figured what the heck; I am always up for an adventure! Besides, I will let you in on a little secret; I always have a backup plan. This time my backup plan was to take the kiddos to the Hands on Museum in Ann Arbor if this Outdoor Adventure Center place was a total bust. So, needless to say, my expectations going into this Outdoor Adventure Center were extremely low. But I am happy to say there was no need for a backup plan. In fact I just have one word for Detroit, BRAVO!!!

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As we entered the Outdoor Adventure Center my mind was officially blown! Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources totally nailed it! There was so much amazing hands-on, interactive, imaginary, outdoor play inside that my kids are already begging to go back. And what I really appreciated, from a parent’s perspective, was the fact that the children weren’t only having fun but learning so much about the beautiful state of Michigan, including some history…like the fact that the building we stood in was where Henry Ford was employed as a young apprentice way back in the 1860, talk about some rich history!

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History

A little history on the former Globe Building: The industrial complex began life in the late 1860s as the Dry Dock Engine Works, which employed a young Henry Ford as an apprentice. It was there that Ford apparently first became familiar with combustion engines. At the turn of the 20th century, the company was absorbed by the Detroit Shipbuilding Co. When the Detroit Shipbuilding Co. dissolved in the late 1920s, the former engine building plant was used by a stove manufacturer, the Detroit Edison Co., for appliance repair and finally the Globe Trading Company – a wholesale machinery firm.  It sat vacant for decades until work began transforming the building into the OAC. Source

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Educate

Michigan has 11,000 inland lakes, more freshwater shoreline than any other state in the nation, tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams, and more than 3,000 miles of water trails – all yours to enjoy! Discover how as you step into a fishing boat, reel in a big fish and learn about Michigan’s world-class fishing opportunities – by boat, pier or shore, on the Detroit River, throughout the Great Lakes and across our inland waters. Next, paddle down a river in our kayaking simulator and discover the adventures that await on Michigan’s waters, from paddle boards, canoes and kayaks to motorized boats and wave runners. Source  

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Walk behind and touch an indoor waterfall to get a glimpse of what it’s like to visit one of Michigan’s 150 waterfalls. Then cross a pond over stones, spot the fish beneath and discover small amphibians. As you travel through an underground cave, learn about our state’s geology, the valuable natural resources that are under the ground, and Michigan mining – its history and importance to our economy. Source

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Experience the 35-foot-tall bur oak tree from top to bottom. Explore what lies under, and slide down, giant tree roots and look through a lightning-strike fissure. Peek into a bear den and learn about Michigan’s black bears. Then climb to the second story and check out the inside of the tree trunk, the net climb and a suspension bridge. Learn about the importance of trees as a source of food and shelter for all kinds of wildlife and as a renewable resource used to create a variety of products we use every day, making forests an important part of Michigan’s economy. Source

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Discover the possibilities along Michigan trails! Hop on one of the simulators and experience what it’s like to ride a snowmobile, off-road vehicle or mountain bike. With more than 13,000 miles of trails in Michigan, some in urban areas, there’s something for everyone – from hiking, biking, horseback riding and cross-country skiing to snowmobiling and off-road vehicle riding. Learn about all the opportunities to hit the trail and enjoy nature while exploring Michigan’s communities. Source 

 

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See how small, everyday living changes, like reducing your water and electricity use and recycling, can benefit you and the environment. Discover how kitchen waste and rainwater contribute to a healthier backyard environment for your family and neighborhood wildlife and how to attract birds and bats to your backyard. Source  

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FOOD: ADDED BONUS!!

You know how in most places they frown upon people bringing in outside food, not at the Outdoor Adventure Center! They have a cafeteria where you can eat your packed lunch, awesome, right! I know most of us are on a tight budget so anytime I can pack food instead of spend I am a happy momma!!

ADDRESS: 1801 Atwater St, Detroit, MI 48207

WEBSITE: https://www.michigan.gov/oac

PHONE: (844) 622-6367

HOURS & PRICES:

Closed Monday & Tuesday

Wednesday- Friday 10am-3pm

Saturday 10am-5pm

Sunday-Noon-5pm

Admission:

Adults (age 13-61) $5

Seniors (age 62 and older) $3

Children (ages 2-12) $3

Children under age 2 FREE

Plan your trip today!

There was so much to see & do, I know my kiddos wanted to linger longer in some areas so we are totally going back!! Huge thank you goes out to my amazing friend Ashleigh (mom to 4 beautiful little girls, well, one towers over her now but as an added bonus they can now share shoes!! Lol! ). And again, BRAVO and thank you to Detroit & Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources, you totally nailed it!!

Additional Resources:

Restaurants in the Area

10 Things to do in Detroit

10 Things to do with Kids in Detroit

50 Things to do with Kids in Detroit before they Grow up