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Things to do in Ann Arbor with a baby or toddler New 2020

What to do in Ann Arbor with a toddler

I want to thank Anna Mae Trievel from Ann Arbor with Kids for sharing her favorite things to do with a baby or toddler in Ann Arbor, MI. Anna Mae created her website as a resource when her own daughter was two-years old. Now it spans from birth through the tween years.

What to do in Ann Arbor with a toddler

Deep Waters Sculpture at University of Michigan | Photo by Kim Haskins

When my husband and I first moved to Ann Arbor we had no idea it was such a family-friendly town. After our daughter was born, I began to compile a list of all of the fun family-friendly activities around town; eventually I shared this growing list beyond just my friends and created Ann Arbor with Kids.

Whether you are an Ann Arbor local or are just visiting, here are some fantastic activities to enjoy with your baby or toddler!

Things to do in Ann Arbor Michigan with a baby or toddler

Attend an Ann Arbor Library Event

What to do with a baby or toddler in Ann Arbor: Storytime

The Ann Arbor District Library is a great resource for activities for babies and toddlers. My daughter and I loved their Baby Playgroups which are offered each weekday (4 morning sessions and one evening session) for babies from birth through 24 months.

They also offer 8 Preschool Storytimes each week on Tuesdays through Fridays for kids ages 2-5. In addition to their weekly programming, the libraries offer special programs for kids such as Dancing Babies, KinderConcerts (in conjunction with the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra), Just Babies, and First Six Months.

Visit an Ann Arbor Museum

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is a fun day out for families. Their dedicated Preschool Gallery offers a perfect exploration zone for kids. The newly redesigned water area is incredible (pictured up top). While there are smocks to help keep clothes dry, a spare pair of shoes may be helpful for big splashers.

The University of Michigan also has several museums including the Museum of Natural History, Museum of Art, and Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. The best choice for toddlers is the Museum of Natural History to see the dinosaurs.

Explore an Ann Arbor Park

What to do with a baby or toddler in Ann Arbor: Top of the Park

Ann Arbor certainly lives up to its Tree Town nickname with the number of parks around town. It seems like there is a park in almost every neighborhood. Gallup Park is located on the banks of the Huron River and offers the chance to walk along the river and also to feed the ducks and geese at the Youth Fishing Pond. However, due to the proximity of the playground to the river, this is not the park to take a “runner.”

My favorite toddler playground is just outside the city limits at Pittsfield Township’s Lillie Park. Their small play structure is just right for little legs and the perfect height for adults to provide a steadying hand.

In addition, the Ann Arbor Parks department operates 3 outdoor pools during the summer months. Each weekday morning one or more of the pools offers a tot splash time for children up to age 7. During Tot Splash, only the tot pool is open while the main pool is used for swim lessons, swim team, or adult lap swim.

Meet Animals in Ann Arbor

Not only does Ann Arbor have a lot of park options, there are plenty of opportunities to interact with animals. Leslie Science & Nature Center offers monthly Nature Tales (ages 1-5) programs. Their critter house is also open most weekends. They also bring their animals to the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum monthly for Critters Up Close.

The Creature Conservancy has open grounds from 10a-6p daily and offers animal greetings indoors on Saturdays.

If you want to see even more animals, the Toledo Zoo and the Detroit Zoo are both about an hour drive from Ann Arbor. The Toledo Zoo offers Nature’s Neighborhood which is a great children’s section that includes a stream that kids can wade in (weather pending), petting animals, and indoor activities.

Play Indoors in Ann Arbor

The Briarwood Mall play area is perfect for toddlers and, as a bonus for parents, offers outlets and USB ports for device charging. With the mall’s 2013 renovations, they made the mall more family friendly by adding nursing rooms, family restrooms, and high chairs to the center court.

Attend a Downtown Ann Arbor Event

Throughout the year, there are numerous events in the Main Street area of Ann Arbor that are perfect for families. Ann Arbor Summer Festival’s Top of the Park runs from mid June through early July. With live music, kids activities, and late night outdoor movies, it is a perfect spot for an outdoor dinner or to spend an hour or two after dinner.

What to do with a baby or toddler in Ann Arbor: FestiFools

Additionally, there are a number of one day events that are held in downtown Ann Arbor. One of the best for babies and toddlers is the Main Street Treat Parade on Halloween (or the previous Friday when Halloween falls on a weekend). Kids are invited to Trick or Treat at the stores and restaurants on Main Street. Other popular downtown festivals with kids include FestiFools, Rolling Sculpture Car Show, and Taste of Ann Arbor.

What to do with a baby or toddler in Ann Arbor: Rolling Sculpture Car Show

For more events in Ann Arbor beyond UM, be sure to visit the Ann Arbor with Kids Events Calendar; you can also filter the events list to find the best outings for babies or toddlers.

We want to thank Anna Mae for her insider tips to Ann Arbor. Anna Mae Trievel and her husband are the parents of a 9 year old daughter. Anna Mae began compiling a list of Ann Arbor family events in 2008 for her family and friends and it blossomed into a terrific website for parents. In 2011 when her daughter started elementary school, she rebranded the site to Ann Arbor with Kids and expanded the focus of the site to include events for babies through tweens.

[All photos provided by Anna Mae Trievel except the first one by University of Michigan and the last one by AAHOM, the Ann Arbor Hands On Museum]

What to do with a baby or toddler in Ann Arbor: AAHOM

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