Cabin fever is a common ailment during the winter, especially in Michigan. Kids (and adults) can get bored pretty easily on dreary days and make the mistake of staying at home in front of the computer.
Trust us, though. There’s plenty going on in Bay County all year, even in the depths of winter. If you get out, you’ll discover plenty of family-friendly activities in your backyard.
Here are five of our favorites:1. The Antique Toy and Firetruck Museum
Did you know that the world’s largest and most famous firetruck resides right here in Bay City? It’s true. Step inside this museum and check out the New York Super Pumper. The museum is also home to over 60 motorized firetrucks and more than 12,000 antique and collectible toys. What kid wouldn’t get excited over a room full of toys and one of the largest trucks they have ever seen? Even the adults can learn a thing or two at this unique spot.
Located at 3456 Patterson Rd., the museum is open May through October. Call (888) 888-1270 or visit toyandfiretruckmuseum.org for hours and other information.
A family day pass to the Delta College Fitness & Recreation Center is your passport to a hot tub, water slide, lazy river, and more.2. The Delta College Fitness & Recreation Center
The Delta College Fitness & Recreation Center is so much more than what meets the eye. Not only is it a prime fitness facility, complete with weight machines and treadmills galore, it is also a kid friendly, family fun oasis. Boasting three pools, a slide and lazy river, the Delta College Fitness Center is a great way to spend an afternoon anytime of the year.
The facility is open to everyone and is a popular space to host a birthday party.
A membership or day pass is required for open swim. Day passes run $6 per person or $22 for a family (1 adult + 5 children or 2 adults + 4 children), making this a fun activity that won’t break the bank.
Visit delta.edu for more information and for open swim hours. Catch you at the pool.
Here’s a free hint from a local: Stop at Cops & Doughnuts late in the afternoon and you’re likely to score a special price on a box of donuts as they clear their shelves before closing.3. Cops & Donuts Sutherland Precinct
We all know the common rule about eating before swimming. Luckily there is no rule about eating after. So hop out of the pool, dry off, and head over to Cops & Doughnuts, 700 E Midland St.
Maybe you have heard the Cops & Doughnuts story – 9 Clare police officers (that was Clare’s entire Police Department) banded together in 2009 to save a historic donut shop and bakery that was within weeks of closing its doors. Since the incarnation of the Cops & Doughnut headquarters in Clare, precincts have opened in Gaylord, Mt. Pleasant, Lansing and, yes, right here in Bay City. Occupying the well-loved place where Sutherland’s Bakery operated for years on Midland Street, the Bay City location is aptly called the Sutherland Precinct. The smell alone will make you giddy when you first walk through the doors. (Local insider’s tip: head over later in the afternoon when they offer deals to clear the shelves.)
Cops & Doughnuts Sutherland Precinct is open 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Visit copsanddoughnuts.com for more information.In the Block Shop Quarry exhibit, the Bay County Historical Museum becomes a hands-on museum that encourages the kids to learn through exploration.4. History Lessons
Calling all history buffs. Bay City has a long history full of maritime, lumbering, and military stories.
Just blocks from the Saginaw River, you can visit the Bay County Historical Museum, The Michigan Traveling Military Museum, and The Saginaw Naval Ship Museum – talk about a trifecta!
The Bay County Historical Museum
, which was once The National Guard Armory, is a great place to start. Built in 1910, the museum houses community and local artifacts, photos and stories. Follow the timeline to see how dramatically Bay City has changed and continues to change. Check out their calendar for special events and their Second Saturday series. The museum is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Admission is by donation.
Next, the Michigan Traveling Military Museum
, located in the Phoenix Building on the corner of Washington and Center, boasts “history at your fingertips.” This collection chronicles sacrifices that individuals made and highlights the impacts of military service. Here you will see uniforms, artifacts, weapons from both World Wars, The Vietnam War, and more. Hours vary, but the museum is generally open weekend afternoons. Call (989) 798-8709 for the latest information. Admission is by donation.
Finally, the Saginaw Naval Ship Museum
(home of the USS Edson), is a unique way to spend an afternoon. The USS Edson, aptly nicknamed “The Destroyer,” was once a valuable member of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Step aboard to take a trip back in time this historic, hometown vessel. Check out the special events calendar – you might get the change to spend the night aboard the ship. Hours vary throughout the year. During February, reservations are required. Call (989) 684-3946 to reserve a tour between 9 a.m. and noon. The cost is $10 for adults; $8 for children up to 17 years old; and free for children under 3. Active Duty Military can show an ID card for discounts.
Wildlife watching program, live animal presentations, snowshoe hikes, and more keep visitors to the Bay City State Park entertained and educated throughout the winter.5. Winter Festival at The Bay City State Park
This event is geared toward families looking to explore Michigan’s winter wonderland and its natural beauty. On February 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bay City State Park, bundle up and join the fun. Activities include a Family Ice Fishing Derby, Youth Ice Fishing Clinic, and Snow Snake Clinic and Tournament. It’s free fishing weekend, and there is no Recreation Passport required for entry this weekend only, so all are welcome to fish. If ice fishing is new to you, this is the perfect time to try it.
There also will be winter wildlife watching programs, live animal presentations, snowshoe hikes and more. All events are free and all ages are welcome to participate. Hot beverages will be provided, and families are encouraged to spend their day at the park and bring lunch or snacks.
All events take place at Bay City State Park, 3582 State Park Dr. More information can be found here.