I wrote up a list of ten places to have a birthday party for kids in Ann Arbor about a year ago; it's proven to be a popular post. I thought I'd do a new list completely different from the first. As always check for availability and pricing before you plan.
1. Frisinger Park (summer and fall). A few picnic tables near the playground with lots of things to do for kids (slides, swings, a merry-go-round, a sandbox) and a big field to run in. Shady for those hot days. Avoid it on football Saturdays. Free.
2. Gallup Park (summer and fall). A dock on the Huron River is perfect for a party where the kids go fishing. (worms work great). There's a snack bar with coffee for the adults, and a play area with lots of things to climb and bounce on. Free. Get your fishing license online with the Michigan DNR E-License.
3. Exhibit Museum Planetarium (indoors). They're closed as of this writing, preparing to install a new all-digital projection system; sign up for their mailing list to find out more.
4. Michigan Firehouse Museum, Ypsilanti (indoors). Old fire engines are the draw in this museum located in an old fire house near Ypsi's Depot Town.
5. Jiffy Mix factory tour, Chelsea (indoors). Tour the factory, see how Jiffy Mix is made. Age 6 and up, tours Mon-Fri, so it's probably a summer time event or a holiday event.
6. Southern Michigan Railroad Society, Clinton MI. Museum train runs from Clinton to Tecumseh on the old Jacksonburgh and Palymra track; there's a museum in Clinton with old railroad stuff on the main floor and a working shop downstairs for repair of their rolling stock. Call them to see how they handle groups.
7. Wasem's Fruit Farm, Milan MI. Take the crew out for apple picking or pumpkin picking, watch the donut robot make delicious donuts. Call ahead to see if they will be making cider, they don't always do it on busy weekends.
8. Dexter Cider Mill, Dexter MI. No apples to pick here - they bring them in - but a great old cider press in the basement of this old mill on the Huron River. Again, donuts. (Mmm, donuts.) Watch for flying insects!
9. Ray Fisher Stadium, Ann Arbor. Take the team to a University of Michigan baseball game during the spring season.
10. Yost Ice Arena, Ann Arbor. Look for wintertime open skate times.