Visitors pose with a life-size model of Buzz Lightyear on display at The Henry Ford Museum  of American Innovation’s latest exhibit,  “The Science Behind Pixar.”

Visitors pose with a life-size model of Buzz Lightyear on display at The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation’s latest exhibit, “The Science Behind Pixar.”

Photo by Michael Malyszko, provided by The Henry Ford


Discover Michigan: Make the most of your holiday break in metro Detroit

By: Jennifer Sigouin | C&G Newspapers | Published December 21, 2017

 The Michigan Science Center in Detroit  has plenty of activities to keep kids busy over  the holiday break, including a Mad Scientist  Winter Camp that runs Jan. 2-5.

The Michigan Science Center in Detroit has plenty of activities to keep kids busy over the holiday break, including a Mad Scientist Winter Camp that runs Jan. 2-5.

Photo provided by the Michigan Science Center

 The Legoland Discovery Center at Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills will hold a kid-friendly Noon Year’s Eve celebration on Dec. 31. The event will include party favors, a countdown to noon, and a Lego ball drop.

The Legoland Discovery Center at Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills will hold a kid-friendly Noon Year’s Eve celebration on Dec. 31. The event will include party favors, a countdown to noon, and a Lego ball drop.

File photo by Deb Jacques

For many metro Detroit residents, the chaos of the holidays is often followed by a little downtime before heading back to work or school. 

Some might use this time to scope out after-Christmas sales or indulge in a Netflix binge, but if you’re looking for something active that the whole family can enjoy together, there are plenty of local attractions that will be open and ready for visitors during the holiday break. 

The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn
www.thehenryford.org

Fans of Pixar films can get an inside look at the artistry and technology behind favorites such as “A Bug’s Life” and “Finding Nemo” through The Henry Ford’s latest exhibit, “The Science Behind Pixar.”

The exhibit highlights Pixar films ranging from “Toy Story” — the first-ever full-length computer-animated feature — to the 2015 feature “Inside Out,” and it includes interactive, hands-on elements that focus on various steps of the filmmaking process. 

“There are over 70 components in the exhibit that guests can interact with either digitally or physically,” Museum Manager Kate Morland said. “One very popular station is a life-size model of Ant Island from ‘A Bug’s Life,’ where guests can play with camera angles. Another is a lighting design set in which buttons activate a variety of lighting schemes, and guests can decide what mood to create.”

Because the holiday season is a busy time for museums, Morland recommended purchasing tickets in advance since some time slots could sell out. Weekday afternoons are typically less crowded, she added. 

In addition to the exhibit, the museum will feature “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” at its 4K digital Giant Screen Experience, with five showings per day Dec. 26-30 and three showings on Dec. 31. Visit thehenryford.org for showtimes and tickets. 

Detroit Historical Museum
5401 Woodward Ave., Detroit
www.detroithistorical.org

The Detroit Historical Museum will be open all week — from Tuesday, Dec. 26, to Sunday, Dec. 31 — with free family-friendly activities. 

“We do expect a lot of visitors at the Detroit Historical Museum over the holidays, and we have some special programming planned, including a social media scavenger hunt, crafts and daily movie screenings,” Detroit Historical Society Marketing and PR Manager Sarah Murphy said. 

The history-themed social media scavenger hunt will take place throughout the museum, and a holiday craft can be made in the Gallery of Culture. The film screenings will be “Detroit Remember When: Motor City Memories and Hometown Traditions” at 11 a.m. and  “Detroit Remember When: Made in the Motor City” at 1 p.m. in the auditorium. 

“The week is capped off by our Noon Year’s Eve event on Sunday, Dec. 31,” said Murphy. 

Noon Year’s Eve is a celebration geared toward kids who are too young to stay up until midnight. They’ll ring in the new year from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with snacks, crafts and a countdown to noon. 

Michigan Science Center
5020 John R St., Detroit
www.mi-sci.org

The Michigan Science Center’s extended holiday hours — 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Dec. 26-29 — mean that guests will have even more time to enjoy the center’s hands-on activities and exhibits. In addition, the center will celebrate its fifth birthday Dec. 26 and will offer free admission that day.  

The center is currently hosting the “1001 Inventions: Untold Stories from a Golden Age of Innovation” exhibition. According to a press release, the exhibition includes “more than 60 exhibits, short films, live science shows, hands-on workshops and learning resources” that introduce visitors to the “golden age of science in Muslim civilization and the achievements of both women and men of different cultures and faiths during the period leading up to the European Renaissance.”

“This is an exciting, myth-busting exhibition that aims to inspire ambition in young people to find solutions to societal challenges of today, and help build a better future for our world,” stated exhibition co-founder and director Ahmed Salim.

During the holiday break, kids in first through fifth grades can also sign up for the Mad Scientist Winter Camp, which is inspired by the “1001 Inventions” exhibition. The camp runs 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Jan. 2-5, and campers will learn how to create inventions, identify problems and develop solutions. Visit www.mi-sci.org to register. 

Great Lakes Crossing
4000 Baldwin Road, Auburn Hills
www.greatlakescrossingoutlets.com

In addition to being a prime shopping destination, Great Lakes Crossing is home to two attractions that are perfect for fun-seeking families — the Sea Life Michigan Aquarium and the Legoland Discovery Center. 

The Sea Life Aquarium opens daily at 10 a.m., and it offers 12 exhibits, including the Interactive Touchpool Experience, where visitors can touch a variety of creatures, including sea stars, pencil sea urchins and slipper lobsters. The aquarium also hosts educational talks and feeding demonstrations throughout the day. 

For tickets and more information, visit www.visitsealife.com

Over at the Legoland Discovery Center, kids and adults alike can immerse themselves in all things Lego, with two rides, 10 build and play zones, a 4-D cinema and more. Legoland is open during regular mall hours, but last admission is two hours before closing, as it takes two to three hours to enjoy the full experience. 

Those who want to ring in the new year Lego-style can attend Legoland’s Noon Year’s Eve celebration on Sunday, Dec. 31. The kid-friendly event will include party favors, a countdown to noon and a Lego ball drop. For tickets and more information, visit michigan.legolanddiscoverycenter.com.

Dossin Great Lakes Museum
100 Strand Drive, Belle Isle, Detroit
www.detroithistorical.org

The Dossin Great Lakes Museum on Belle Isle in Detroit is offering its Holiday Break Film Series from Tuesday, Dec. 26, to Sunday, Dec. 31, with film screenings at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. each day. 

The 11 a.m. film is “The Christmas Tree Ship,” which is about the Rouse Simmons, a schooner that sank in Lake Michigan while transporting Christmas trees to Chicago. The 1 p.m. film is “More Bob-lo Memories,” which is about metro Detroit’s much-loved Bob-lo Island Amusement Park.

Visitors are also welcome to explore the museum’s exhibits, including the “Richard and Jane Manoogian Ship Model Showcase,” the “Gothic Room” and the “William Clay Ford Pilot Room.”


​​​​​​​Our Discover Michigan series explores Michigan’s most road trip-worthy destinations and events. Where’s your favorite place to travel in the mitten? Leave us a comment or email jsigouin@candgnews.com. We may use your suggestion in an upcoming feature.