Summer amusements for the urbanite

Standard

Growing up in Southeast Michigan, I am accustomed to going Up North during the summer months. Landlocked seas of pavement give way to green fields, tall pines and beautiful bodies of water. I drop my bags off in the cabin and head out to the beach with a book and a raft, and I’m set for the week.

As I grow older and my immediate family grows, it has become harder to vacation as a family. The last time I went fishing with my dad and sisters was probably 10 years ago. But I don’t have to wait for the next chaotic vacation or drive hundreds of miles to spend some quality time fishing with family. Fish Headz Sport Fishing Charters and Mr. Muskie Charters of St. Clair Shores offer fishing charters on Lake St. Clair where bass, muskie, perch, sturgeon and walleye are abundant.

paddleThere are other watersport opportunities nearby, like taking standup paddleboard lessons with St. Clair Shores-based Great Lakes Surf Shop. Lessons are on Thursday evenings at Lake St. Clair Metropark. They make it easy for you, providing the board, equipment and experienced instructors.

You can also rent paddleboards, Jet Skis and kayaks at Simple Adventures. They have a location on 9 Mile Road but will deliver anywhere in Macomb County. Rentals include delivery and pickup, life jacket, paddle and safety kit. You can even book a kayak and be on the Clinton River in downtown Mount Clemens for the fireworks tomorrow night!

Detroit River Sports is another kayaking or paddleboard option. In addition to rentals, they offer kayak tours on the Eastside Canal, Detroit River and to Belle Isle. Being in the water with the Detroit skyline as a backdrop can be just as peaceful and inspiring as a view of the pines.

With so many options, and babysitters, close to home, there’s no reason not to get out on the water and enjoy nature in an urban setting.

DRS+kayaker+downtown

Advertisements

How to keep metro Detroit kids happy at the tail end of winter

Standard

With the weather hovering between icy wind and mild temperatures, kids are getting antsy for spring. Until you can simply send your little one outside for hours of amusement, here are some ideas to keep them happy and occupied.

Make a special occasion out of going to the theater. The Macomb Center for the Performing Arts in Clinton Township is showing the children’s classic “Charolotte’s Web” March 23 and 24. Your adolescent might enjoy “Rock of Ages” put on by the Clintondale Community Theatre the first two weekends in May.

The Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens offers youth art classes. March’s classes are 3-D Map, Illuminated Monogram and Impressions. April’s classes follow an upcycling theme. No appointment is needed to create your own art at Plaster Playhouse in Shelby Township. Simply choose your piece of plaster or pottery and start painting!

Boost your baby’s brain power through programs offered at your local library. Throughout the year, the Clinton-Macomb Public Library offers storytime sessions including Baby Time, Tot Time, Little Listeners, Preschool, Music & Movement and Pajamarama. My daughter loves Pajama Storytime at the Eastpointe Memorial Library, where kids dress in their pajamas, bring their favorite stuffed animal to hold and listen to the youth librarian read stories.

Check with your local Parks and Recreation Department to see what seasonal offerings are scheduled. The Warren Community Center boasts an indoor waterpark comprised of a lap pool, pool basketball, waterslide, lazy river and play structure complete with a water cannon and waterfall. Other nice amenities for adults include a sauna, steam room and fitness room.

Get hands-on and join your kid for a skate around the rink. The St. Clair Shores Ice Arena has public skating from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. It is $3 per person, and children under 6 are free when accompanied by an adult. Admission to the Mount Clemens Ice Arena is $5 for adults and $4.50 for students, seniors and youth. Skate rental is $3.

Pack on the layers and head out to one of Macomb County’s Metroparks. Weather permitting, Lake St. Clair Metropark offers ice fishing, cross-country skiing and outdoor ice skating. Snowshoe or cross-country ski across marked trails at Stony Creek Metropark, or head over to the winter sports area with hills to snowboard, sled or toboggan. Eastpointe’s Spindler Park recently revamped its new sledding hill. Open dawn to dusk, it includes a hay bale safety barrier and seating area. The Macomb Orchard Trail isn’t just for running or biking; it’s also open to cross-country skiers.

Just Delicious SconesJust Delicious Scones on Utica in Roseville is a quaint tea room, bakery and coffee shop with … well, delicious scones. Get big-girl dressed up for this fancy excursion. Sip tea or cider from beautiful china and delicately nibble on scones – a memory your child will remember. If your little one isn’t likely to sit still for long, try Chuck E. Cheese in Roseville or Sterling Heights. Jungle Java in Clinton Township is an indoor play center with a sports court and laser maze. It includes a separate toddler play area and a full menu.

Let the kids burn off energy at the Bounce House in New Baltimore, St. Clair Shores or Sterling Heights. It consists of giant inflatable slides, moon walks and an obstacle course along with arcade games that might even entertain mom and dad. Try Airtime in Sterling Heights or Sky Zone Trampoline Park in Shelby Township for open jumping on wall-to-wall trampolines, foam pits, dodgeball and basketball. Jumpers are sorted by age to make sure the intensity level is a good match, though there are waivers that must be signed before participating in the fun. Play miniature golf any day of the week at Jawor’s on Gratiot in Roseville. It has an 18-hole course for kids of all ages and is open year-round.

It doesn’t matter what you decide to do as long as you make the time you spend together count. Unplug and give your kids your full attention – that’s all they want!