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July Things To Do In Ann Arbor and Surrounding Areas

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

Summer time in Washtenaw County is filled with lots of activities for families, friends, and children to partake in. We've rounded up some of the best activities during July 2019 that take place in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Chelsea.



Fourth of July Parade (July 4)

A long standing tradition is to enjoy  the Fourth of July in downtown Ann Arbor. The 27th annual 4th of July Parade hosted by the Ann Arbor starts at 10 a.m. The parade begins at the intersection of State and William streets. 

Chill by the pool in Ann Arbor (any day)

If you’re looking to cool down in water,  the city of Ann Arbor operates three outdoor pools: Buhr Park Outdoor Pool (2751 Packard Road), Fuller Park Pool (1519 Fuller Road) and Veterans Memorial Park Outdoor Pool (150 Jackson Ave.). You can Find Rates Here.

Rolling Sculpture Car Show (July 14)

For a Woodward Cruise-type of event, downtown Ann Arbor for the annual Rolling Sculpture Car Show is the event to attend. Last year’s show featured more than 300 exotic, antique, classic and concept cars.

The show is free to attend. Visit the city's website for more information.

The Ann Arbor News file photo

2017 Summer Beer Festival (July 21-22)

For local beer lovers, you can try samplings from more than 100 Michigan breweries, in addition to hearing live music at the annual Summer Beer Festival on July 21 and 22 in Ypsilanti’s Riverside Park.

This is one of four of Michigan Brewers Guild's festivals. For more information on the festival, or to purchase tickets, click the link.

Ann Arbor Art Fairs (July 20-23)

During one of the most popular events of the summer, the streets of downtown Ann Arbor are expected to be packed for one of the largest outdoor art fairs in the nation during the Ann Arbor Art Fairs.

Original works of art, street performances, culinary treats and a variety of sidewalk sales can be found during the annual event, which features four different art fairs from artists across the globe. This year's festival takes place from July 20 through 23. For more information, check out our blog on the event here.

Chelsea Sounds and Sights Festival (July 27-29)

Live music fills the streets of downtown Chelsea from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. every Thursday, beginning June 8 through Aug. 17 during the Chelsea Sounds and Sights Festival.

The festival also features a weekend festival featuring live music, art, a car show, entertainment for children and more from July 27 through 29. For more information, visit the festival's website.


Ypsilanti's Best Restaraunts

by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team

There are many great places to eat in Washtenaw County. For this post, we wanted to highlight the Ypsilanti restaurants. Check back to find highlights for Ann Arbor, Dexter, Chelsea, and other surrounding area places to eat, lounge, and have a great time.

Beezy’s Cafe

A quaint eatery with a motto of ‘simple, honest food,’ Beezy’s Cafe is the place to go for some good homemade, original eats. A colorful interior, complete with sunny yellow walls and exposed brick adorned with eclectic art, is welcoming to guests. The menu is made up of sandwiches on freshly baked bread, salads with house-made dressing, and comforting made-from-scratch soup.

Beezy’s Cafe, 20 N Washington St, Ypsilanti, MI, USA, +1 734 485 9625

Bill’s Drive-In

Bill’s Drive-In is hard to miss with its bright yellow exterior. A seasonal no-frills joint, Bill’s is iconic fixture on Ypsilanti’s dining scene, delighting guests with its tasty hot dog eats. There is no menu at Bill’s, just tasty hot dogs with a variety of toppings like chili. Bill’s is also known for their root beer. While the menu may be small, the flavors definitely are not.

Bill’s Drive-In, 1292 E Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI, USA, +1 734 485 2831


Bomber Restaurant

Featured on the Food Network's 'Top Five Over Indulgences' for its Bomber Breakfast, you know that plate has got to be a hefty portion of deliciousness and that's right. It's one pound of ham, bacon, or sausage, and four eggs plus one pound of breakfast potatoes. The Bomber Restaurant is an aviation themed, mom-and-pop diner. For those who are not quite that hungry, the menu has an array of Home-style eats.

Bomber Restaurant, 306 E Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI, USA, +1 734 482 0550

Bona Sera

Bona Sera is a charming restaurant specializing in eclectic global cuisine with Italian and Southern influences. The inviting interior features lofty ceilings, exposed brickwork often adorned with local art, and large picture windows allowing the light to flood in during the day. Bona Sera offers a host of seasonal comfort dishes that are sure to suit many tastes.

Bona Sera, 200 W Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI, USA, +1 734 340 6335

Café Ollie

Located in Depot Town, the historic district in Ypsilanti, Café Ollie is a wonderful café adorned with bright colors and art-filled walls. The Rubenesque sandwich with house-made corned beef, stout-simmered sauerkraut, Swiss, and Thousand Island dressing and the Yardbirds On Fire mac ‘n’ cheese with Buffalo chicken and blue cheese are two enticing choices. They have delicious vegetarian options available as well.

Cafe Ollie, 42 E Cross St, Ypsilanti, MI, USA, +1 734 482 8050


Casablanca serves up delicious and authentic Moroccan and Mediterranean delicacies, and features an inviting interior decorated with Moroccan touches, adding to the wonderful culinary experience. The menu includes a variety of options with highlights being the bistilla, or layers of chicken and spicy omelet stuffing topped with fried almonds flavored with orange blossom water, powdered sugar plus cinnamon; and the vegetable tagine for those guests wanting something meat-free. Wash it all down with a refreshing Moroccan mint tea.

Casablanca, 2333 Washtenaw Ave, Ypsilanti, MI, USA, +1 734 961 7825


Dom Bakeries

Dom Bakeries is open 24 hours a day seven days a week. A family-owned and operated bakeshop, Fea and Ly Chov purchased this bakery in 1996. Using only the best ingredients, the bakery’s selection is endless with an array of sweet goodness, including custard-filled long johns, maple-glazed cinnamon rolls, and the ever-popular apple fritter.

Dom Bakeries, 1305 Washtenaw Rd, Ypsilanti, MI, USA, +1 734 485 3175

Hana Korean Restaurant

Hana Korean is the place to dine if your craving calls for some home-style Korean fare bursting with incredible flavors. The menu has vegetarian recipes such as the ya chae chap chae, or sweet potato noodles stir-fried with vegetables, and the chae sig deanjahng jikae, which is tofu and vegetable soup with bean sauce flavoring and rice. You’ll also find kanpoongki, or fried chicken wings in garlic sauce; kimchi jakae, or kimchi soup with pork and tofu; and kalbi, or traditional Korean BBQ beef short ribs.

Hana Korean Restaurant, 1346 E Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI, USA, +1 734 483 2455

Red Rock Downtown Barbecue

Red Rock Downtown Barbecue is a great place to enjoy refreshing drinks and tasty eats. The relaxed feel of the interior is further enhanced by the exposed brickwork and use of dark woods throughout. The restaurant’s menu features everything from sandwiches to mac ‘n’ cheese and much more. The bar offers 20 beers on tap, ensuring that you’ll find something to complement the meal. Red Rock also has happy hour twice a day every day.

Red Rock Downtown Barbecue, 207 W Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti, MI, USA, +1 734 340 2381

Sidetrack Bar & Grill

Sidetrack Bar and Grill is a railroad-themed pub located in Depot Town. This happening establishment is always hopping with folks just looking to have some fun with friends and family and have a great night out on the town. The interior is warm with exposed brick, dark wood, and several taxidermied animals on the walls. As for the food, there are plenty of sharable plates, handcrafted, juicy burgers, sandwiches, and entrées like Yankee pot roast.

Sidetrack Bar & Grill, 56 E Cross St, Ypsilanti, MI, USA, +1 734 483 1490


Tom Stachler is a licensed Ann Arbor area real estate agent and broker also working real estate home and condo sales in the Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Ypsilanti, Milan and many of the surrounding markets in both Washtenaw and Livingston County.  Please click on the inventory or MLS search tab above for the latest residentialincome and commercial realty property listings for sale.  


by Tom Stachler,ABR,CDPE - Group One Realty Team


Time blows by and they are grown before you know it.  Check out this recommended list of places to see with your family.  

1. Grand Canyon
Northwestern Arizona
Why you’ve got to go: Do we really need to convince you? It’s only one of the most spectacular, iconic sites in America! This great gorge is 277 miles long and 6,000 feet deep in some spots, with rocks that are millions of years old.
What to do: Don’t just stand there and stare! Bike along the South Rim (Rent wheels from Bright Angel at the visitor center) or hike into the canyon on free ranger-led tours to spot fossils, lizards, and California Condors. For the ride of lifetime, explore by mule, but reserve your 3-hour excursion at least a year in advance.
Get there when your kids are: Gradeschoolers/Tweens 

2. Yellowstone National Park
Why you’ve got to go: It’s America’s very first national park and has the highest concentration of geysers in the world!
What to do: See Old Faithful, which shoots steam sky-high every 90 minutes, and then move on to the other geysers, stinky mud pots and multi-colored hot springs within walking distance (check out the flower-shaped Morning Glory Pool). Yellowstone is also a great place to spot wildlife: Bison, elk, bears, wolves and Bighorn Sheep all hang out here.
Get there when your kids are: Gradeschoolers 

3. Freedom Trail
Why you’ve got to go: Boston is the birthplace of the American Revolution! Kids will have so much such fun following this 2 ½-mile red-brick road, they won’t even realize it’s “educational.”
What to do: Pick up a self-guided map from any visitors center, and start the trail at Boston Commons (Redcoats camped here), passing Granary Burying Grounds (see graves of John Hancock, Sam Adams and Paul Revere), the Boston Massacre Site, and Paul Revere’s house. Tour at your own pace, stopping along the way for lunch at Quincy Market. And don’t be afraid to veer off the trail. At the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum, kids can reenact the revolt by hurling tethered tea crates into Boston Harbor.
Get there when your kids are: Gradeschoolers

4. The French Quarter
New Orleans
Why you’ve got to go: The Mardi Gras spirit lasts all year long in this surprisingly family-friendly city.
What to do: There’s lots of free PG-rated fun in festive Jackson Square, where magicians, jugglers, mimes and jazz bands make the street their stage. Take in the lively scene from an outside table at Café du Monde, famous for its yummy beignets (warm French doughnuts smothered with powdered sugar). A quick stroll along the Mississippi River leads to the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (the reef tunnel is amazing) and the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium (creepy crawly thrills include bug-tasting). Hop the St Charles streetcar to the lovely Garden District and the Audubon Zoo (say hi to the rare white tiger).
Get there when your kids are: Preschoolers/Early gradeschoolers
More info:


5. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Seashore
Northwestern Lower Michigan
Why you’ve got to go: You’ll never see sand dunes like these anywhere else! Some are nearly 500 feet high, with jaw-dropping views of Lake Michigan and the Manitou Islands from the top.
What to do: Climb the dunes, of course! But don’t expect kids to walk. Running (or rolling) down these majestic sand mountains is part of the fun. Cool off with a swim at Esch Road Beach — the pristine Lake Michigan water is brisk but refreshing. There’s great kayaking and tubing on the warmer Platte River (gear up with
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers

6. Dinosaur Valley State Park
Glen Rose, Texas
Why you’ve got to go: It has some of the best-preserved dinosaur tracks in the world! Need we say more?
What to do: Rangers lead track tours through the Paluxy riverbed, best in late summer when water is shallowest. (You will get wet, so wear bathing suits and water shoes). Wade right up to giant footprints made by duck-billed dinos, three-toed meat-eaters and brontosaurus types; then swim in the Blue Hole upstream, where more tracks line the ledge.
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers
More info:

7. Stingray City
Grand Cayman Island
Why you’ve got to go: The Cayman Islands are famous for their excellent snorkeling and diving spots.
What to do: Whether you’re vacationing in the Caymans or simply stopping there on a Caribbean cruise, be sure to book a charter boat to Sting Ray City, a shallow sandbar. Within moments of wading into the crystal clear Caribbean, you’ll have hundreds of gentle stingrays gliding all around. Stroke their velvety skin, snorkel alongside them, and feed them by hand. Be prepared: it tickles!
Get there when your kids are: Tweens/Teens
More info:

8. Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Why you’ve got to go: From bayou blues to Beatlemania to heavy metal to hip hop, your budding Bieber or Taylor Swift wannabe will have a blast walking through the halls of rock history. This glass-walled museum is filled with fun memorabilia (view Michael Jackson’s sequined glove and a Lady Gaga dress), cool concert films (now playing U2 3D) and interactive exhibits (don headphones to hear interviews and performances). As long as you’re all music lovers, there’s something here for everyone.
Get there when your kids are: Tweens/Teens

9. Bioluminescent Bay
Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Why you’ve got to go: Glow-in-the-dark plankton light up the water like magic — so cool!
What to do: Charter a guided excursion, led by companies like Kayaking Puerto Rico and Yokahu Kayaks. Book the first tour of the evening, so it’s light enough to see the iguanas chilling on the branches as you paddle through the narrow mangrove tunnels toward the bay. Once you get out there, nature’s light show begins. The water sparkles like pixie dust every time you move your paddle, and fish flash by like tiny light sabers. Not a confident kayaker? Some outfitters, like Baby Bay Cruising Lagoon Company, take you on electric boats instead.
Get there when kids are: Tweens/Teens

10. An Alaska Cruise
Why you’ve got to go: Cruising through Glacier Bay is the absolute best way to see Alaska’s breathtaking icebergs and vast wilderness up close. (Plus, who knows if these glaciers will even be around when your kids are adults—so see them now!)
What to do: Princess Cruises brings naturalists and park rangers on board to guide you through the frozen landscape (you may even see Orcas), and its ships offer family-friendly features like swim-against-the-current pools, Movies Under the Stars, and ultra-private tween clubs (no parents or younger sibs allowed!). On port days, visit historic Gold Rush towns, go dogsledding or extend your trip with cruisetour excursions to Denali National Park.
Get there when your kids are: Gradeschoolers/Tweens/Teens


11. National Civil Rights Museum
Why you’ve got to go: Housed in the Lorraine Motel where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, this museum chronicles the civil rights movement—from slave times to present day. Board a replica of Rosa Parks’ bus, see lunch counters where sit-ins were held, and view the room and balcony where Dr. King spent his final moments. The exhibitions and introductory film are enlightening and emotional, and guaranteed to spark family discussions about racism and intolerance.
Get there when your kids are: Tween/Teens.

12. Sanibel & Captiva Islands
Southwest Florida
Why you’ve got to go: For the most amazing seashell experience you’ve ever had! Gazillions of them wash up on these Gulf coast barrier islands, which are equally famous for their wildlife. Plus, the water is shallow forever, so it’s a great place for little guys!
What to do: Grab a bucket and start shell hunting (just be sure to throw any live ones back). Scout for burrowing ghost crabs — if you’re still enough, you might spot one digging its tunnel. Watch for dolphins right off shore, or see them close up on a Captiva nature cruise. Also visit Sanibel’s J. N. Ding Darling National Wildlife Refuge, Home to alligators, manatees and roseate spoonbills.
Get there when kids are: Toddlers/Preschoolers

13. Monterey Bay Aquarium
Monterey, California
Why you’ve got to go: It’s located on one of the most gorgeous stretches of California coastline, and showcases local sea creatures and wildlife. Tanks are designed so kids can get this close to sharks, bat rays, sea turtles and more.
What to do: Play peek-a-boo with the adorable otters as they swim, swirl, and do back flips. Join the feeding frenzy as divers serve lunch to the amazing array of fish in the Open Sea and Kelp Forest tanks. Enter the Secret Lives of Seahorses; and get psychedelic at The Jellies Experience, where neon jellyfish float against a black light background. Outside on the deck overlooking the Pacific, you might spot humpbacks, orcas and grey or blue whales cruising by in the open waters.
Get there when kids are: Toddlers/Preschoolers/Gradeschoolers

14. Niagara Falls
New York & Ontario, Canada
Why you’ve got to go: This American landmark has a seriously jaw-dropping view, thanks to the six million cubic feet of water that thunders over the massive falls every minute.
What to do: Bring your passport, so you can view them from the Canadian and American sides; to visit both, just cross Rainbow Bridge. Board the Maid of the Mist ( boat from either shore to get right up to the raging water (they give you ponchos so you don’t get drenched). By day you’ll see rainbows; at night the falls are dramatically lit, and there are fireworks too!
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers 

15. Petrified Forest
Northwestern Arizona
Why you’ve got to go: You’ve never seen trees like these! Dating back to the Triassic period, these ancient hunks of trunks have turned to stone. 
What to do: Meet up in the Rainbow Forest Museum visitor center for ranger walks along Giant Logs Trail to learn how they got fossilized in the first place. A nearby trail leads to Agate House, a pueblo of petrified wood, built by the Anasazi 1,000 years ago. Drive across the park to see Native American sand paintings (petroglyphs) at Newspaper Rock; then continue to the Painted Desert and its multi-colored striped boulders (especially spectacular at sunset). 
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers 
More info:

16. Statue of Liberty
New York City
Why you’ve got to go: Lady Liberty is one of America’s most recognizable and enduring symbols of freedom, and Ellis Island was the gateway to a better life for millions of immigrants.
What to do: Ferry over to both for one price. (Purchase tickets online or at the Battery Park terminal). First stop: Liberty Island. Since the Statue is closed for renovations till late 2012, you can’t climb inside; but park rangers give free tours around the pedestal and are full of fun facts. Next up: Ellis Island. Walk through the Great Hall, as generations of newcomers did, and search for your ancestors on ship manifests in the American Family Immigration History Center. In the new interactive Ellis Kids exhibit, children explore what it meant to pack up, ship out and fit in.
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers/Tweens/Teens
More infoStatue of Liberty and Ellis Island

17. Disney World
Why you’ve got to go: You’ll never, ever forget the first time your princess-loving little girl catches her first glimpse of the real Ariel or Belle (make sure that smartphone battery is charged!) or watches fireworks explode over Cinderella’s Castle. And let’s face it: Disney is fun for Mom and Dad, too!
What to do: Spend the bulk of your time in Magic Kingdom, pausing in Town Square Theater for a Fast Pass to greet Mickey Mouse and the Princesses without a long line. Then hightail it to Fantasyland. Though its spiffy makeover is being unveiled in phases from 2012-2014, you can still ride classics, like Dumbo and It’s a Small World, along with a newly renovated kids’ coaster called The Great Goofini. For more Disney World touring strategies, read our Age-by-Age guide
Get there when your kids are: Preschoolers/Early gradeschoolers 
More info:


18. Climb Mt. Rainier
West Central Washington State
Why you’ve got to go: This 14,410-foot-high snow-covered peak has 25 major glaciers. And you don’t have to be a mountaineer to scale it.
What to do: In summer, hike on one of the lower gentle family trails that wind through forests and meadows of wildflowers, past waterfalls and glacial lakes. Best bets: Nisqually Vista Trail (in Paradise); Trail of the Shadows (in Longmire); and Grove of the Patriarchs (near Ohanapecosh). Or drive up to Sunrise, elevation 6,400 feet–the highest you can get by vehicle–for jaw-dropping views of the surrounding Cascades. In winter, rangers lead snow-shoe walks for children ages 8 and up.

Get there when kids are: Preschoolers/Gradeschoolers

19. Galapagos Islands
Why you’ve got to go: Sure, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime splurge, but these isolated islands off Ecuador inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution. The animals have no natural predators and no fear of humans, so you (and your curious kids) can get really close to them.
What to do: Because tourism is carefully regulated, an organized boat tour led by naturalist guides is the best way to explore. Outfitters like Ecoventura and Thompson Family Adventures take you on 3- to 7-day eco-cruises throughout the islands, to snorkel with sea lions, visit giant tortoises, hike up volcanoes and past all kinds of lizards and birds (including the rare blue-footed booby). 
Get there when kids are: Tweens/Teens
More info:

20. Sesame Place
Langhorne, Pennsylvania
Why you’ve got to go: It’s the world’s most perfect park for toddlers and preschoolers. Everything in this manageable theme park is specially scaled to young fans of Elmo and the gang. 
What to do: Spend half your time on water attractions like The Count’s Splash Castle (think fountains and tipping buckets), relaxing Big Bird’s Rambling River and Teeny Tiny Tidal Wave pool. Then dry off and do the rest: Climb Cookie Mountain, ride Flyin’ Fish and Peek-a-Bug (in Elmo’s World) and explore Sesame Neighborhood (for character greetings and hands on fun). End the day by rocking out at the Neighborhood Street Party Parade.
Get there when kids are: Toddlers/Preschoolers

21. Pacific Coast Highway Drive
From San Francisco to Los Angeles
Why you’ve got to go: It’s the mother of all road trips, with beyond-gorgeous scenery at every point along the way. Curvy Highway 1 winds along California’s craggy coastal cliffs, high above the ocean. 
What to do: Take it slow and make lots of stops—whether you conquer the whole thing (allow 4 days) or just tackle small portions. Kids will be wowed by the Santa Cruz Boardwalk (ride the wooden coaster!); Monterey (go kayaking and see the Aquarium); Carmel’s Pt. Lobos State Natural Reserve (otters, seal lions and whales hang here); Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park (great hiking and camping); Hearst Castle, in San Simeon, and the elephant seals on the beach just north of it. 
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers

22. Ground Zero
New York City
Why you’ve got to go: Your kids have heard about 9/11, and probably learned about it in school. A visit to the ground zero is your chance to help them really connect to what they’ve been told about that tragic day. 
What to do: Make advance reservations to get your free tickets to the 9/11 Memorial, which honors those who lost their lives that day. Twin reflecting pools with waterfalls sit in the footprints of the World Trade Center towers, and are surrounded by bronze panels etched with victims’ names. An accompanying museum is scheduled to open in September 2012. The memorial is close to Battery Park, where you can catch ferries to the Statue of Libertyand Ellis Island.
Get there when your kids are: Gradeschoolers/Tweens/Teens 

23. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Universal Orlando
Why you’ve got to go: Your Potterphiles will go Hog(warts) wild — and find it absolutely spell-binding — to see Hogsmeade and Hogwarts recreated in amazing detail, right down to the Butterbeer (don’t worry, it’s non-alcoholic).
What to do: Get there first thing in the morning (guests staying at Loews on-site resorts get exclusive early entrance). Ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey first: Muggles meet Dumbledore, join a Quidditch match, and encounter a Whomping Willow. Next, conquer the ultra-fast Dragon Challenge coaster and the tamer Flight of the Hippogriff; then go wand shopping at Ollivanders (if you’re lucky, the wand will choose you).
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers/Tweens/Teens

24. Wisconsin Dells
South-Central Wisconsin
Why you’ve got to go: It’s the waterpark capital of the world! With 18 indoor/outdoor options and more than 200 splishy splashy slides, your kids will get waterlogged long before they’ll get bored. 
What to do: Get a day pass for Noah’s Ark Waterpark (America’s largest) and race each other down the new 47-foot-high, 4-lane Quadzilla mat slide. Or book into one of the wet and wild resorts, like the African-themed Kalahari (the Sahara Sidewinders looping slides literally drop you through the roof) or Mt. Olympus (the Lost City of Atlantis water fortress has slides, geysers and monster dump buckets).
Get there when kids are: All ages

25. Redwood National & State Parks
Crescent City, California
Why you’ve got to go: They’re home to the tallest, most majestic trees on earth. Spoiler alert: You will feel small!
What to do: Stroll through the mile-long Lady Bird Johnson Grove, a mossy jungle of sky-high sequoias, some of them 2,000 years old (kids can crawl through the hollow ones). See if Roosevelt elk are grazing in Elk Meadow, then pick up the path to Trillium Falls and be on the lookout for yellow banana slugs along the way. There are coastal trails too: Take guided tide pool walks to discover anemones and sea stars.
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers
More info:


26. Swim with Manatees
Crystal River, Florida
Why you’ve got to go: Just 90 minutes from Orlando and Tampa, this is the only place you can swim with manatees in the wild. Winter is the best time to see them, though they hang there all year long.
What to do: Snorkeling/diving outfitters like American Pro Diving Center take you to the warm springs where these gentle mammals congregate. Be patient and respectful: Let the manatees approach you.
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers/Tweens/Teens
More info

27. San Diego Zoo
Balboa Park, San Diego, California
Why you’ve got to go: It’s one of the world’s best zoos–and one of the few places in the U.S. to see giant pandas, rare sun bears, and Australia’s adorable koalas.
What to do: Visit Panda Trek first or last in the day, when crowds are lightest, to see the zoo’s black and white superstars, as well as red pandas. Don’t miss: Elephant Odyssey, where the pachyderms often have pool parties; and Northern Frontier, to watch polar bears swimming underwater. Summer “Nighttime Zoo” hours mean you can stay till 9 pm for special shows and animal encounters. Want to camp out overnight? Check out the Family Sleepovers, available on select dates.
Get there when kids are: Babies/Toddlers/Gradeschoolers

28. Plymouth Plantation
Plymouth, Massachusetts
Why you’ve got to go: It’s like stepping back in time to the 1620s, when the pilgrims arrived here from England on the Mayflower.
What to do: Get a look at Plymouth Rock, where colonists first set foot on American soil—you won’t believe how tiny it is. Then board the Mayflower II, a full-size replica of the original. Costumed actors recreate what it was like on the crossing and in the settlement. As you roam through the 17th century village, you’ll encounter farmers, cooks, blacksmiths and other residents, and hear their stories about life in the New World. Meet actual Native Americans at the Wampanoag Homesite, and learn about their cooking, crafts and culture.
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers

29. Buckingham Palace
Why you’ve got to go: Attention princess lovers: a real-live queen lives here. How cool is that? This month, Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 60th year on the throne with Diamond Jubilee events. And since the city is also hosting the 2012 Olympics, many hotels are offering special family packages throughout the summer and fall.
What to do: Gather round the big iron gates for the Changing of the Guard, where the soldiers march out in their trademark red coats and fuzzy black hats, accompanied by music and royal horsemen. Get there at least a half-hour early so you get a good spot . (From May to mid-July, it happens daily at 11:30 am; from mid-July to April, it starts at 11 am). From late July to late September, you can also venture inside the palace (for a fee) to see some of the staterooms. If the royal flag is flying, it means the Queen is in residence.
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers
More info:

30. The Colorado Rockies
Snowmass, Vail & Beaver Creek, Colorado
Why you’ve got to go: The snow is soft and powdery, the ski and boarding instruction is first-rate and there’s a winter wonderland of family activities both on and off the slopes.
What to do: If you’re traveling with very young kids, head to Snowmass. It offers the widest range of children’s programs at Treehouse Adventure Center: Childcare for kids 8 weeks and up; and ski lessons starting at age 2 1/2. There’s even Beginner Magic ski instruction for novice adults. At Vail, check out Ski Girls Rock, small group lessons specially designed by Olympian Lindsey Vonn for girls ages 5-15; and Adventure Ridge, an enormous snow park at the top of the gondola, with tubing, ski biking and mini-snowmobiles. At Beaver Creek, join ski parades, family ice skating nights and snowshoe tours.
Get there when kids are: Preschoolers/Gradeschoolers/Tweens/Teens

31. Cedar Point
Sandusky, Ohio
Why you’ve got to go: No other amusement park on the planet has as many roller coasters — at last count, 17 thrilling rides.
What to do: Ride them all, if you dare. Choose from wooden classics (Blue Streak and Mean Streak); steel screamers (the monstrous 310-foot Millennium Force is rated one of the best steel coasters around), suspension coasters (your feet dangle from the floorless Raptor), and ultra-scary models (you ride Mantis standing up, and flip upside down 4 times).
Get there when kids are: Tweens/Teens

32. Kennedy Space Center
Cape Canaveral, Florida
Why you’ve got to go: Where else do you get to be an astronaut for a day? It’s a total blast — and just an hour from Orlando.
What to do: Though the real space shuttles have flown their final missions, you can feel what it’s like to rocket into the stratosphere on the Shuttle Launch Experience flight simulator. Also take mission control tours; have lunch with an astronaut; and even train with one in family Astronaut Training Experience (ATX) programs, preparing for g-forces and a mock journey to the International Space Station.
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers/Tweens/Teens

33. Fort De Soto Park
St. Petersburg, Florida
Why you’ve got to go: Its North Beach has been rated the top in America for families.
What to do: Splash in the calm, crystal-clear Gulf water — a sandbar creates a shallow lagoon that’s perfect for young swimmers. Go shell hunting and build castles in the powder-soft white sand or blow off steam in the pirate-ship playground. There are bike trails and a historic fort to explore as well.
Get there when kids are: Babies/Toddlers/Preschoolers
More info:


34. Hawaii Volcanoes National Park
Hawaii Island
Why you’ve got to go: Two massive volcanoes are here, including Kilauea, one of the world’s most active. Trails take you past smokin’ steam vents, black lava rock, and enormous craters.
What to do: Stop at the Kilauea Visitor Center first: Pick up maps, check current conditions, and learn how the volcano came to be in the movie “Born of Fire, Born of Sea.” Ask if rangers are leading walks, or set out on your own, always sticking to the suggested paths. An easy hike for families is along the Earthquake Trail (Waldron Ledge), with great views of the Kilauea Caldera. Don’t miss the Thurston Lava Tube, an underground tunnel where the hot stuff once flowed. (Drive there, then hike in, through a mossy fern forest.) Return to the park at night to see the gorgeous glow from the Halema’uma’u Crater. (Best viewing spot: The Jaggar Museum overlook.)
Get there when kids are: Tweens/Teens
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35. Mesa Verde
Southwestern Colorado
Why you’ve got to go: Some of the best-preserved ancient Pueblo dwellings (some dating waaay back to 550 AD!) are tucked beneath the sandstone cliffs, waiting to be explored.
What to do: Park rangers lead you up several narrow wooden ladders into Cliff Palace (with more than 150 rooms), Long House (kids will grind corn and peek into ancient ovens called Kivas), and Balcony House (with the steepest climb and a tunnel to crawl through). Purchase house tour tickets at Far View Visitor Center. Explore Spruce Tree House and Step House on your own — no ladders (or tickets) required.
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers/Tweens/Teens

36. Ride Cable Cars in San Francisco
San Francisco, California
Why you’ve got to go: They’re San Francisco’s signature thrill ride! Hang on tight as the historic vehicles chug up and down the nearly vertical hills, with brakes lurching and bells clanging.
What to do: Hop on at the main station on Powell & Market Streets (right near Union Square), where both the Powell-Mason and Powell-Hyde lines shuttle you across the city and down to the Bay. Stay on till the end and take in the spectacular views of the water, skyline and Victorian homes en route. Powell-Mason drops you 2 blocks from Fisherman’s Wharf. (Check out the sea lions and book a tour boat to Alcatraz). The Powell-Hyde line ends a few blocks away in Ghirardelli Square. (Go ahead and fuel up on some chocolate. You know you want to!)
Get there when kids are: Tweens/Teens

37. Waikiki Beach
Oahu, Hawaii
Why you’ve got to go: Hang ten, dudes—surfing was born here! And Waikiki’s gentle rolling waves are perfect for beginners (i.e., your kids).
What to do: Sign up for a lesson at one of the Beach Boys stands, located on the sand in front of the statue of Duke Kahanamoku. (This Hawaiian hero is considered the father of modern surfing). Or try one of the local surf schools, like Big Wave Dave and Girls Who Surf, where instruction is pricier but more personalized. Want to watch pros conquer monster Hawaii Five-0-like waves? Drive up to Oahu’s laid-back North Shore: In the winter and spring, the breakers at Waimea Bay, Sunset Beach and Banzai Pipeline can exceed 30 feet!
Get there when kids are: Tweens/Teens.

38. National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum
Cooperstown, New York
Why you’ve got to go: This shrine to our national pastime scores big with any sports-loving family.
What to do: Pick up a Discovery Tour scavenger hunt as you enter: Kids solve clues as they work their way through the interactive exhibits and artifacts, and get a small gift for turning it in. Have a seat in the Grandstand Theater for “The Baseball Experience,” a fun multi-media show about the game’s history; and see if you can guess how many baseball cards line the walls. (Spoiler alert: 135,000!) The Sandlot Kids Clubhouse, is designed for younger children, ages 2 -8, and has hands-on experiences and a literacy corner with videos of Hall-of-Famers reading books like Curious George Plays Baseball.
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers/Tweens/Teens

Why you’ve got to go: This national park is a scenic superstar: Think thundering waterfalls (best in spring and early summer) and seriously steep granite cliffs (world-class rock climbers scale these beauties).
What to do: Get acclimated by taking the free park shuttle round Yosemite Valley, home to famous sights like Half Dome, El Capitan and Yosemite Falls; hopping on and off as you please. Feeling adventurous? Set aside a half day to hike the Mist Trail alongside majestic Vernal Falls, climbing 600 granite steps to the tippy top. (Pack a waterproof poncho—you will get wet!) If floating down a lazy river is more your speed, go tubing down the calm Merced (Rentals at Curry Village).
Get there when kids are: Gradeschoolers/Tweens


40. Millennium Park
Why you’ve got to go: It’s an amazing green gathering place, with music, dance, art, family festivals, and wide open spaces for playing—all a walk or el ride from other top Chicago tourist attractions. 
What to do: Strike a pose in the reflective Cloud Gate sculpture (affectionately known as the Bean)—it’s like a giant funhouse mirror. Splash around in the cheeky, animated Crown Fountain, which literally makes faces at you. Join one of the free activities on the big lawn (anyone for family yoga?) or plop down and have a picnic.
Get there when kids are: All ages



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Contact Information

Photo of Tom Stachler Real Estate
Tom Stachler
Real Estate One, Group One Realty Team
555 Briarwood Circle
Ann Arbor MI 48108
Direct: (734) 996-0000
Fax: (734) 661-0102