Kids can’t be expected to care about their health when video games, cartoons, and outdoor adventures are vying for their attention. That’s why the adult leaders of the Memorial Health Foundation devised a plan to get kids excited about health: HealthWorks! Kids’ Museum. Born of the founders’ desire to foster a healthier current and future community, the museum appeals to youngsters through educational forms of entertainment. Its exhibits incorporate amplified versions of many of kids’ favorite pastimes, including a life-sized rendition of Operation and numerous computer games. A rock-climbing wall and tree house with a slide encourage kids to learn through movement, which is exactly how adults learn how to escape charging bulls. Youngsters can explore the space with their families or partake in programs such as children's camps.
Kalamazoo Nature Center's 14-mile expanse of trails weaves around 1,100 acres of ponds, prairies, and forests, giving nature lovers of all ages an ample arena to hike, learn, and explore one of the first nature centers in the country. Membership allows unlimited free admission to the preserve so that visitors can soak up a diverse array of wild flowers, birds, and majestic park benches in natural habitat. Kalamazoo hosts a slew of family and children activities on select Saturdays, such as "Story Corner at the Barn," during which a storyteller corrals tykes aged 8 and younger for visits with sheep, goats, and barnyard residents before and after reading them pastoral tales. Additionally, Kalamazoo Nature Center members receive a 10% discount at Expedition Gift Shop, a bimonthly newsletter subscription, and discounts on youth camps for ages 3–17.
Imagine holding a king salmon so heavy you can barely lift it for a picture, only to hear the captain yell a new fish just took another trolling rod down. The guides of Captain Hook's Charter Fishing venture into Lake Michigan for such trophies, taking anglers out for perch fishing, sport fishing, and salmon trolling. Operating one of the state's largest charter fleets, the captains can take up to 40 perch fishers on a climate-controlled party boat and accommodate smaller groups of 4–5 anglers on smaller crafts. A FAQ page preps guests before going out, covering topics such as how to get a fishing license and what pattern suit is customary fishing attire.
As the sun dips below Coopersville Farm Museum and Event Center’s grain silo, local musicians gather in the high-ceilinged hall against the backdrop of patchwork quilts and antique farm tools. They sing gospel, country, and folk songs that have been passed down for generations. Events such as these are one facet of the museum’s mission to honor and uphold rural traditions. In addition to the monthly jam sessions, the 12,000-square-foot facility hosts quilting circles, line dancing, and other skill-swapping events. Curators spotlight the region’s agrarian past by recruiting antique-farming tools and folk art and freeing hopelessly lost scarecrows from corn mazes. In addition to shining a light on the region’s past, the museum strives to support current culture makers; The hall serves as a gallery space for local artists, and during the youth-led Kids’ Day local teens teach tykes creative skills.
Though his own family has crafted wines for more than a hundred years, D'Avella Family Winery founder John D'Avella "specializes in making wines for people who don't typically enjoy wine," according to an interview for WNDU Channel 16. John transforms locally sourced grapes into more than 35 smooth, Italian-style wines, whose recipes he honed across 150 trial batches. The tasting room offers 1-ounce pours of these handmade vinos, which include blackberry sweet, concord dry, and Niagara semisweet varieties.
Cleaved through 5 acres of towering corn stalks, Harvest Moon Acres' sprawling corn maze sends journeyers through an ear-walled labyrinth filled with disorienting twists and tricky clues that lead the way. The maze shares the expansive farm with a variety of other kid-friendly, bucolic attractions, including a petting zoo and an outdoor fun zone. There, guests soar down a 40-foot slide or take aim at targets from behind the pumpkin slingshots, originally used to knock enemy witches from their brooms during World War II. Hayrides surround guests with the cool, fragrant autumn air as they cruise over the 20-acre grounds on a soft bed of hay. Harvest Moon Acres also sells pumpkins, indian corn, and other fall staples for those looking for seasonal decorations or ingredients for autumnal recipes.
Engines start to roar, propellers spin, and a large parachute expands into the sky, carrying a light aircraft and its passengers toward the clouds. Silver Lining Aviation's certified instructors create adventures like this every day as they teach visitors to soar behind the controls of sport aircrafts such as powered parachutes, weight-shift trikes, and gyroplanes. Led by licensed FAA flight instructor Craig Ewing, Silver Lining's team takes prospective pilots on introductory flights that allow them to experience aircrafts such as the Airwolf 912 and nibble on different flavors of clouds. The aviation experts also sell sport aircrafts, which patiently wait onsite as customers work through custom ground- and flight-training programs. In most cases, the flight instructors prepare their pupils for aerial navigation in as little as two weeks. They also assist new pilots with replacement parts, provide 24/7 support, and cook oil soup to feed hungry aircraft.