As we drove into Pensacola last week, I couldn’t help but notice a restaurant that caught my eye with its bold yellow and orange exterior: Dinner India. With both Melissa and I being enthusiastic about Indian food (Indian Butter Chicken is a family favorite), I […]
Last weekend, we day-tripped over to Holland, Michigan, for the 90th anniversary of the Tulip Time Festival. Holland is about three hours west of Detroit and the festival this year is from May 4-12. (Good news if you’re wanting it check it out next weekend […]
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!
With Melissa having shared her March Reading Round-up, I’m taking the baton for this round-up with my favorite books I’ve reads from March and April (so far!) Written by Mike Rowe‘s mother, this book is a hilarious collection of stories about Peggy’s relationship with […]
Any other architecture nerds out there? While neither David nor I have any background or training in architecture, we both love touring historic houses (Biltmore, Edsel & Eleanor Ford House) and buildings. One of our favorite getaways at our last duty station was a weekend in Newport, Rhode Island, touring the mansions on the coast. All that to say, we had a feeling that a tour of the Guardian Building in downtown Detroit might be right up our alley!
The Guardian Building is located near the heart of Detroit in the financial district. When it was completed in 1929, it was the tallest brick building in the world, and its distinctive brick exterior is still easy to pick out of the city skyline. The interior is a unique mix of Mayan and Art Deco styles, two passions of architect Wirt Rowland, one of Albert Kahn’s top designers. (Albert Kahn is known as the Architect of Detroit, having designed many buildings throughout the city.) Once the home of Guardian Bank, the building now houses Bank of America and several shops on the first floor with other businesses and county offices occupying the rest of the building. The Guardian Building is sometimes called “the Cathedral of Finance” and it’s easy to pick out the cathedral-like accents when you take a tour, from the apse-like front of the banking hall to the stained glass windows near the elevator.
Because the building is a place of business during the work week, tours are only available on the weekends. Pure Detroit, who has a shop in the banking hall, offers these tours free of charge. The tour walks you through the first floor, explaining the history of the building as well as some of the fixtures you’re seeing, takes you outside to talk about the exterior and surrounding buildings, and ends up on the 32th floor, where you get to admire the view.
We thoroughly enjoyed learning about the Guardian Building, though we’re still getting the kids on board. I feel like our eight year old got something out of it, even if the youngest three are still a work in progress. Really, who could have predicted that the guide saying, “see that __ across the street?” would set our three year old off into singing “I see London, I see France!”? Fortunately, the kids can be bribed with baked goods (we checked out Avalon Breads on this particular outing). 😉 With any luck, we’ll soon convert them to our architecture-loving ways!
Know before you go:
- There is a set of stairs on the first floor between the main lobby and the banking hall. Other than that, the tour was stroller-friendly.
- Check the tour schedule here and reserve your tour online ahead of time – it’s free!
- Bring cash to tip your guide!
- Parking was easy to find nearby and it seemed like most lots had reduced rates ($10-15 flat rate) for the weekend.
- Pure Detroit also offers weekend tours of the Fisher Building. It’s on our list!
Once we started making our own pasta, we were excited to begin adapting some of our favorite recipes for use with the good stuff. 😉 This one is a family favorite (I mean, who doesn’t like carbonara?) that we originally found on Simply Recipes. I’ve upped the bacon and garlic and given instructions for use with fresh pasta. Enjoy! (Printable recipe at the end of the post.)
Carbonara with Fresh Pasta
Fresh pasta ingredients:
- 300 grams semolina flour
- 300 grams all-purpose flour
- 6 eggs at room temperature
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 pound bacon (or pancetta), diced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 whole eggs*
- 1 1/4 cups grated parmesan (or pecorino) cheese
- Black pepper to taste
First, you’ll want to mix up your pasta, wrap in it plastic wrap, and have it resting for an hour. While you’re waiting, dice the bacon, mince the garlic, and grate the parmesan. Whisk together the eggs and half of the parmesan cheese (about 1/2 cup) and set aside.
After pasta dough has rested, roll it out using your pasta roller and hang your noodles. We prefer fettuccini for this recipe, though tagliolini or spaghetti would also work (you’ll need to adjust pasta cooking times if you choose a different noodle cut).
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
While that’s coming to a boil, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large (5 or 6 qt.) sauté pan. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Add the garlic and cook an additional minute. Remove from heat.
Cook your fresh fettuccini until al dente (about 2 minutes – taste-test it before draining). **Reserve a cup of pasta water.** Put the still-dripping noodles into the sauté pan with the bacon/garlic mixture and toss quickly to incorporate. Add the egg/parmesan mixture and continue to toss. As needed, add pasta water until you get a creamy, rich mixture (you shouldn’t need the full cup of reserved water). Top with freshly ground black pepper and the remaining parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
*Worried about cooking with raw eggs? The heat of the bacon/garlic mixture as well as the heat of the just-boiled noodles cooks them enough, and we’ve never had an issue with it. If this is a concern for you, don’t let it keep you from trying this recipe! Try using pasteurized eggs.