One of my favorite things to do is to get kiddos excited like we’re going to Disney World, when in fact we’re doing little things available in Jackson County, most of which we can do regularly. For those of you parents who are living or visiting Jackson, you’ll be happy to know that I’ve got a cute little list of things that make my kids as happy and excited as if we were going to Disney World!
Rootbeer Floats at Junk Yard Dog
I don’t know about your kiddos, but my children love ice cream, and they love soda from a glass bottle, and they love restaurants. This treat is less than $10 and makes their day.
Schlenkers is a tiny little hamburger joint, with counter seating only. It’s perfect for social kiddos because the counter is a U-shape, and so everyone faces each other. My kids think it is so special to sit at the counter, eat a cheeseburger and fries, while they watch the kitchen, and say hello to everyone who walks in the front door.
Funday's Family Fun Cafe
Funday's Family Fun Cafe is an indoor play place and café. I can get a free-refill coffee, sit on a comfy couch and converse with other mommas while my children run around like wild things until they’re tuckered out. Besides that, they have the best rice krispy treats…so much so, that I once ordered a platter of them for my kiddo’s birthday party.
Depending on the time of year, this one might be sort of wet, but if you’ve got some boots it’s worth dressing your feet appropriately because it’s a treasured nature center. There is a natural playground with hollow logs to climb through, cut logs to walk on, giant rocks to climb, trails and more. But the best part is that it is a breeding ground for painted rocks. Jackson folks often paint rocks and hide them all around this county. If you find one, you can do whatever brings you joy: leave it where it is, pick it up and keep it, or re-hide it for others to find joy. If you do find one, make sure to post a picture to social media with the hashtag, #jacksonmirocks
This restaurant is best on Saturday mornings. Jackson has a tiny airport and on Saturday mornings, especially NASCAR race weekends, there’s more traffic then normal. The restaurant is right next to the runway and you can get a table right at the window.They‘ve also got a great breakfast!
This is a gotta get-on-it experience. Nite Lites is a gigantic drive-thru Christmas light extravaganza on the grounds of Michigan International Speedway. It's open from Thanksgiving to Christmas. All year long, my kids talk about it. Last year they even had reindeer, which are such beautiful and majestic looking animals.
--Written by Kate Manville-Schwartz
Kate Manville-Schwartz is a mother of two, and owner of Kate's Art School in Brooklyn.