Late Summer Fun Suggestions on a Shoestring


The clock is ticking toward back-to-school time in the Greater Lansing area, so parents are busy assembling school supplies and clothes. But don’t forget that there is still time for summer family fun in mid-Michigan.

Here are some suggestions:

Where: Michigan 4-H Children’s Gardens on the Michigan State University campus, 1066 Bogue St., East Lansing.

What: The outdoor garden is open from sunup to sundown every day. The indoor garden is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekends.

How much: Admission to the gardens is free.

Bring a lunch: Families are encouraged to eat in the Creation Station area. No drinking water is available, so bring your own.

Before you go: Special events may be scheduled, so you may want to check the gardens’ calendar at call (517) 353-0452 before you visit.

Note: The 4-H Children’s Garden parking lot is under construction and unavailable. Visitor parking will be available in the Wharton Center parking ramp (Ramp #3) during construction at the gardens. The fee is $2 per hour.

Where: Uncle John’s Cider Mill, 8614 U.S. 127, St. Johns.

What: All kinds of free fun including:

  • Jumping Pillow (not supervised, remove your shoes), 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday;
  • Pickleball, available through the end of August, open seven days a week during daylight hours;
  • Kids Corral play area, lots of fun activities for children, open Monday through Friday during business hours.

How much: The three activities listed are free; others may carry costs.

Where: MSU farms, on campus between Mount Hope and Jolly roads.

What: MSU farms are home to many animals including sheep, cows, horses, swine, cattle and chickens. The farms are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Bring carrots or apples to feed the animals.

Extra: Come in the afternoon and watch the cows being milked. Visitors will find informational signs and trails marked for self-guided tours.

How much: Admission is free.

Where: Fifteen watery locations throughout the Lansing area.

What: Splash parks and swimming pools. Some are at parks that have admission or parking costs; others are free. Find a full list with hours and closing dates at

Extra: At the end of the list of local water areas is a listing of other parks and pools in Michigan in case you’re up for a road trip.



Tags: Summer fun


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