The Detroit area was our home for almost two weeks this summer. We started with a drive through Motor City ohhing and ahhing over the car landmarks (okay, Mike ohhed sincerely and I ahhed supportingly). The GM building is decidedly cool – whether gear oil runs through your veins or not.
We stayed at Wayne County RV Park and Fairgrounds. We were happy to stay put for a for a few days after all our moving. We settled in and got some work done, did a mountain of laundry, washed the RV (they let us do it at our site for $15) and just relaxed some. We were spoiled when the local 4H protégé competition was held at the fairgrounds. We walked over and met some really nice people and learned all about the club. We pet the horses and it was the girls’ turn to ohh and ahh.
One day of our time here was spent in both the ER and the dentist. Boo! Mike broke a tooth and had to get it taken care of. Later that day Eric went to the doctor to have this crazy rash checked out. Poor kid had an itchy spot on his chin turn into almost a head to toe rash! Turns out he likely picked up poison oak somewhere – probably the campground in Canada where all the kids were wrestling in the grass. Thankfully the rest of them didn’t get it! Some medicine and it cleared right up.
Belle Island ($11 vehicle pass) Video
One of our neighbors in the park told us about Belle Island. We are so glad he did! It is an actual island you can drive onto and, with the exception of the $11 day pass per vehicle for out-of-staters, everything is free! The Belle Aquarium is the oldest one in the country it is C O O L. The aquarium aspect isn’t that great (its mostly local sea life) but the history and the tiled, arched ceiling is unique and a total gem! Next door is the conservatory. Besides being a room in the game of Clue (you know, the one where you were like, “what is a conservatory anyway?”) it is a large collection of various types of plants. Normally that sort of thing doesn’t float my boat, but this was pretty impressive. Check out our video to see some of the highlights!
Also on the island is a swim beach, several large playgrounds, and A LOT of greenspace. Unfortunately it rained while we were there so we didn’t get to enjoy any of that except for some playing in the rain. We ended our day there at the nature center. It was a newer addition to the island and showcased some of the native animals to the area.
After the island we grabbed some dinner at Buddy’s Pizza. It came up on a Google search of top places to eat in Detroit. It was yummy pizza and salad and very reasonably priced. The atmosphere was fun and the service was great!
With our ASTC membership we got into the Ann Arbor Hands-On Children’s Museum for free! It was small but it had a lot to see and do for all the kids. The boys spent forever playing on a large Google Earth display finding our old house, their old schools, and some of the places we have visited. The water table was a hit like always but the simple machines level was our favorite. The boys got a hands-on lesson on how a generator works and that actually made our “power management” in the RV easier since they actually understood it! Score!
We left the museum and went to Uptown Coney for a chili-dog dinner. It was a recommendation of a friend of Mike’s. Sorry if you love it, but the feeling isn’t mutual. The hot dogs were like a $1.50 and we got what we paid for. Perhaps the rest of the menu is better? It is all good – it’s all part of the adventure!
One last stop before heading back to our campground was Gallop Park. It is a 69 acre park, and we only saw a fraction of it, but it was a hit! The trails, the HUGE playground, and the lake were a hit with all of us! Our only regret was not renting a canoe or kayak and spending time on the water. Check out their website for all their is to do.
How do you not go to Kalamazoo? I mean, its name is so fun! The good old ASTC museum list led us there with free admission to the Air Zoo (technically it is in Portage). It is an airplane museum that also has science exhibits on weather. The best part, according to the kids, were the rides! There are half a dozen small rides inside the museum that are all free with admission. Evangeline, our 4-year-old, could ride on all but one so she was in heaven!
Next time we are in Detroit: We would like to see Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit again. Mike and I saw it several years ago when the boys were little but it is pretty pricey and just wasn’t in the budget. We totally recommend it though! Such a cool place!