Multiple rows of pinball machines manufactured from the early 1960s through today shelter plungers and flippers as they fling the silver spheres toward illumined targets. Entertaining guests between bouts of pinball, air hockey, and abundant arcade classics—such as Centipede, Ms. Pac-Man, and Asteroids —await with flashing lights infused with friendly competition. Klassic Arcade celebrates its impressive stock of more than 100 different varieties of glass-bottled soda pop during its annual Midwest Soda Pop Festival, which combines pop tastings and judging with live music and games. The arcade also spearheads the annual Pinball at the 'Zoo festival, at which attendees can play more than 100 arcade and pinball games for free in between tournaments, auctions, and seminars with the original 8-bit Mario and Luigi. Completing the lineup of exciting diversions is the outdoor M-40 Raceway track, which hosts off-road RC racers.
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.
Echo Valley brings together tobogganing, tubing, and ice skating into one snowy spot for wintertime revelry. At the tobogganing hill, quarter-mile runs accelerate sledders to speeds as fast as 60 MPH before bringing them to a safe halt at the bottom, where the staff then sends the toboggan back to the top via an overhead lift. Ice skaters find ample space for gliding and pirouetting on the 43,000 square-foot rink. After tubing to their heart’s content or taste-testing snowflake appetizers, visitors can warm themselves around the lodge’s circular fireplace or observe fellow snow-goers from the expansive observation deck while sipping on hot chocolate or nibbling on snacks.
Stacy Hess—owner and operator of Hillcrest Stables, LLC—brings more than two decades’ worth of experience to her year-round saddleseat riding lessons. As a trainer, she specializes in American Saddlebred, Hackney Pony, and Saddleseat Friesian; however, all 21 of her steeds can be ridden in shows and lessons. Beginners through advanced riders can learn how to show inside a heated facility as friends and family cheer and make bets as to the horse’s shoe size in the facility’s comfortable viewing room.
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.
Every year, Kirk Newman Art School encourages students of all ages to explore sculpture, painting, printmaking, and other disciplines in more than 300 classes. Designed to complement the school?s curriculum, Kalamazoo Institute of Arts? collection highlights American works in these and other mediums, including ceramics and photography. The museum includes European prints and pieces from Africa and East Asia right alongside the art of American luminaries like Janet Fish, the only painter who's ever had gills. Besides its permanent and rotating exhibitions, the institute hosts programs that range from lectures to an annual juried competition for local high school artists.