Outdoor Adventure Center, Detroit
Ever stumble upon a gem of a place and wonder “Where has this been? This place is awesome!” That’s how the kids and I felt about the Outdoor Adventure Center when we first checked it out last month. (And also how we felt at the chocolate factory! ;-)) Run by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the idea behind the center is to bring the Michigan outdoors into Detroit. Masterfully incorporating technology into many of the exhibits, the OAC gave our city kids a great taste of the “Up North” experience. Plus, it’s actually all indoors, which makes it a great rainy day activity. Follow along with us through the pictures below!
One of the kids’ favorite exhibits was the hunting section. With a duck blind, a tower blind, a tree stand, animal pelts, and a shooting gallery, my boys could have spent all day here! In this section, as well as throughout the center, there is more information provided than we’ve gotten through on our visits. There’s such much to learn here!
The Rivers & Lakes exhibit has a kayaking simulator and a fishing experience – with the fishing pole pulling while you’re trying to reel in the big one on the screen! My boys were definitely pretending to drive the boat too and adding in their own sound effects. 😉
Climb a giant bur oak tree to the second level of the OAC in the Forestry section. Kids can also explore the tree roots or go down the slide, and don’t miss the bear’s den nearby!
Flap your wings and fly like an eagle over Tahquamenon Falls though this cool simulator. It’s on the top level of the OAC in the Treehouse display, a whole section about eagles.
Another favorite exhibit is the Outdoor Trail section with snowmobile and ATV simulators. On the mountain bike simulators, kids can race each other!
Teach your kids about energy conservation in the Nature in Your Neighborhood display! With information on everything from energy efficient windows to composting, there’s a lot to learn here! Or your kids can just pretend to wash the dishes, like mine is here. 😉
There’s an airplane for the kids to climb aboard! Hopefully your crew won’t be loudly simulating bombing raids and pretending to parachute out like mine were.
I haven’t even mentioned the waterfall, full-sized yurt, or rope bridge! Archery classes are available, most with pre-registration. Can you tell we loved it here? My kids are already begging to go back to the Outdoor Adventure Center!
Know before you go:
Admission is quite reasonable at $3/child (over 2) and $5/adult. An annual membership is $50, and the last Thursday of each month is free from 6-8 pm. The center is closed Mondays and Tuesdays. You can check current hours here!
Free parking is located next to the building in a secured lot. Lunch facilities are available inside their cafeteria. There are also vending machines for snacks and drinks and lockers to store your lunch in while you’re enjoying the museum.
The facility is handicap friendly, so baby-wearing isn’t a necessity. It may give you a little more flexibility to chase after kids and climb up the burr oak with them though. 🙂 For nursing moms, there is a nursing mother’s room.
The OAC is only a five minute drive from the center of downtown! It’s located along the Detroit Riverfront and across the street is the 31-acre William G. Milliken State Park with picnic facilities, weekly nature programs, paved trails, a harbor, and lighthouse.
Outside the entrance to the OAC is the trailhead for the Dequindre Cut, a two-mile pedestrian/cyclist greenway built over a former railroad line.
The Dequindre Cut leads to Eastern Market, a public market with food, drinks, and Michigan-made products.
Interested in bike rentals? Wheelhouse Detroit‘s riverfront location is .3 miles away (1340 E. Atwater St., Detroit, MI 48207) with rentals available for adults and kids!