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.
The Studebaker National Museum highlights the company's successful transition from carriages to autos with three levels and 55,000 square feet of classic cars and historic vehicles. The space displays up to 70 vehicles at any time from its collection of 120 antiques. Expertly unearthed treasures include the 1956 Packard Predictor, the 1934 Bendix SWC, and the 1922 Carriageless Horse, unpopular for its inability to transport entire little league teams. The Presidential carriage collection is one of the nation's largest, exhibiting the chassis of four former chiefs. Another current exhibition on display through April showcases recognizable wheels extracted from both big and small screens, including Herbie from The Love Bug film series, and The General Lee from television's The Dukes of Hazzard. A fully-stocked museum store offers a selection of videos, books, apparel, and collectibles that allow auto aficionados to create miniature Studebaker menageries in their own garages.
The Beaux Arts Ball After Party evokes the artists' balls of the 1920s and '30s as guests don costumes and dance to celebrate the avant garde artists and fashion designers whose ideas evolved costumes into wearable art. Guests strut their stuff in outrageous costumes during the Beaux Arts Grand Procession as they contend for prizes from South Bend's local dining and entertainment hotspots. Guests can rub elbows or velvety antlers with newly crowned Lifetime Achievement recipients Mayor Steve Luecke and sculptor Tuck Langland while sipping adult beverages from a cash bar, munching on sweet treats, and mingling in support of the South Bend Art Museum. Toes tap as the live tunes of The Marquis with Terry Austin float in and out of aural canals, much like the advice of a loving Q-tip.
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.
Vintage vehicles have been motoring into the Gilmore's antique buildings since 1966, bequeathing their retired chassis to the museum's collection of more than 200 horseless carriages. The classic chariots reside in more than two-dozen relocated, reconstructed edifices, including eight historic barns, a re-created 1930s service station, and a Mayan pyramid no one remembers erecting. The retro rides are occasionally cut loose for driving demonstrations on the 3 miles of paved roads contained within the museum grounds, filling the ears of visitors with the thrilling thrum of yesteryear. The campus also houses several transplanted collections, including the Model A Ford collection featuring cars invented 19 letters before the Model T. Though not included with this Groupon, day-trippers can sustain themselves with lunch served at the pristinely preserved Blue Moon Diner. Surfeited seekers of knowledge may then head to the Gilmore Car Museum Library to gorge their brains on the pickled publications and preserved prints. The collection houses thousands of items and articles, including owner's manuals, parts books, and pinups of scantily clad cars. Plan ahead and catch a special event to see even more historical hot rods than are kept on site.
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.