Dick and Jane Tour: Ann Arbor, MI

Some of the products featured in this post were provided to us free of charge. 
Our summer tour through Michigan is still underway, even though the weather has been making us feel like fall is almost here. So far on our tours, we have visited some amazing places and today’s post is about one of them. From the University of Michigan campus to the eclectic stores and restaurants, Ann arbor is quite a cool city. So cool, that many movie directors have chosen this location as the prime spot to film their movies. If you’ve ever seen the 5 Year Engagement you may have picked up on some of Ann Arbors most popular spots, such as the famous Zingermans Deli. However seeing Ann Arbor in the summer is so much better and that is why it is on our must see list for this summers tour. 
 Today’s trip we were focused on finding fun places to take the kids that we as the parents would like as well. Wowwee, let me tell you. We found it! Never before had I been to the Ann Arbor Children’s Museum, so when I walked in I was like a kid in a candy store. From your first musical steps into the building you are welcomed to touch, play, interact and experiment with all of the exhibits. They have a water room where kids can go fishing, an old ambulance that they can crawl through and even a room dedicated only to the littlest ones that has balls and toys made just for them. My favorite exhibit in the museum was a real functioning bee hive that had pipes going to the outside of the building so the bees could freely come and go as they pleased. The bee hive was enclosed within a clear glass container so we could watch the bees doing as nature instructed them to and producing their honey. We had a hard time getting the kids to leave, they just wanted to stay and play all day long. 
After spending the entire morning at the museum we finally talked the kids into leaving so we could get some food.  Luckily, food is not hard to come by in the city. Just take a quick walk over from the museum to the main street and you can find place to eat such as Afternoon Delight, Five Guys and PotBelly Subs. 
Once lunch is done be sure to set aside time to walk the downtown area. Ann Arbor has an abundance of culture and art that you will want to have your camera ready. You really never know what you are going to find just around the corner. 
Photos of Downtown Ann Arbor. Hidden Alleys, Fairy Doors (photo credit visitannarbor.org) and city life.
Ann Arbor turned out to be a wonderful place to spend time as a family. We had a fabulous time exploring the city and would like to thank all of the people that helped to make it happen. Check out the Visit Ann Arbor website and plan your trip to Downtown Ann Arbor this summer! While it may feel like fall is here, there is still time to get out and play! So get out there and do some exploring as a family. It is time well spent. 
Attractions to see in Ann Arbor: 
<3 Dick and Jane
Disclosure: We were provided with free admission to the Hands on Children museum in order to facilitate our post. 

Dick and Jane Tour: Mackinaw City & Across the Bridge

We are still trying to recover from all of the fun we had last week when we visited Mackinac Island as a family. However, while we were there to visit the island we also took a couple of days to explore the main land and the surrounding cities. The first place we visited was Mackinaw City. This is the city you will most likely come into before boarding a ferry to the island. Be sure not to pass through too quickly, there are many wonderful things to do and see on the mainland before you head on over to the island.
The first thing we did when we arrived to Mackinaw City was stop at Mama Mia’s pizzeria. This restaurant is a legend! I can remember stopping there for pizza back when I was just a kid. However, if its been awhile since you’ve visited the area you may find that it looks different. This is because the old Mama Mia’s restaurant burnt down and had to be rebuilt. Don’t worry though, the food is still just as yummy! After enjoying a pizza and their famous garlic bread head on upstairs and get a free museum tour of artifacts and a video of when the Mackinac bridge was built. This place is a #1 must see when visiting Mackinaw. 
Now that your belly is full you should have enough energy for some walking. Head just outside of the pizza parlor and find yourself among a city block of cute and eclectic shops. Just across the way is an outdoor mall full of stores, ice cream parlors, fudge shoppes and a place where you can get your picture taken in old fashioned clothes. Plus, if you stay around until dark the stores all host a free outdoor laser show every night in the main square of the plaza! My kids loved that. 

A few more must see attractions in Mackinaw City: 
If your feeling brave after visiting the mainland, a trip over the Mackinac Bridge is worth the drive. The Mackinac bridge connects the upper and lower peninsula of Michigan and is currently the third largest suspension bridge in the world! Yes, it is huge and it can even make my adventurous heart skip a beat. But once you make it to the other side you will find yourself in St. Ignas. A quaint little town with some amazing attractions. Our first stop was Castle Rock. This ancient rock rises over 200′ above the surrounding area and offers one of a kind views. Getting yourself to the top is a bit of a climb. Prepare yourself to hike 170 steps to reach the peak. But once you arrive to the top you wont ever want to come down. 

While your in the U.P. you will also want to find your way over to Clydes Drive In restaurant. This old fashioned car hop still offers car side service and food that will take you back in time. The burgers are a bit greasy, but unlike any other burger I’ve had before. The kids meals also come in cute 50’s cars which my kids swooned over. 
After lunch seek out the park and lighthouse on the water. It is a great place to relax and spend some time enjoying the sound of crashing waves. My only recommendation is to dress warm. Ha! We were there in the middle of July and it was 66 degrees. Maybe a fluke, I don’t know. . but it was COLD. 

That pretty much summed up our trip to the top of the mitten. Do you have any other great places to share when visiting Mackinaw City and the U.P.? Share them with us in the comments and if you decide to join us in our adventures to Mackinaw we would love to see those photos! Tag us on Instagram at @raisingdickjane.
<3 Dick and Jane