Lansing Family Fun

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Spend 2024 Spring Break in Lansing: Staycation Vibes + One Tank Trips

Lansing Spring Break MSU Horse Barns

Spring Break in Lansing

Are you sticking around the Lansing area this Spring Break?

Staying close to home doesn’t mean you can’t do something exciting for Spring Break! There are so many fun ideas your kids will love in the Lansing area that we don’t always have time to do in our daily routines.

Spring Break in Lansing is the perfect time to plan a visit to someplace new.

Even though you’re not going on a mega trip, the next time someone asks,”Do you have big plans for Spring Break?” you can say, “YES! Right here in Lansing!”

Many area schools start spring break on March 22 and return to school on Monday, April 1, 2024. While other area districts observe spring break the following week during the first week in April.

Rotary-Park-Downtown-Lansing Riverfront
Lansing Riverfront

Below you’ll find a list of FREE + more ideas for the week along with short trip destinations worth the drive and packed with fun for your entire family.

BONUS:  If you decide to take a last-minute trip, we have some great suggestions that will ensure you have a fantastic Spring Break.

Oh – and check the running list of family-friendly events in Lansing Family Fun Connection.

Visit the Campus of Michigan State University

The MSU Horticultural Gardens are a must visit each year as our city starts blooming back to life. It’s absolutely breathtaking!

Hemmed throughout MSU’s campus you’ll find gardens galore and each one is unique enough on its own to warrant a trip to each! As you play, be sure to make time for the MSU Children’s Garden as it’s geared toward interaction and free play.

boy_in_MSU_japanese_garden things to do outside
MSU Horticultural Gardens

From the outdoor gardens and arboretum, the walking trails and architectural design of the buildings, to the bustle of downtown East Lansing and the MSU Campus is the perfect start to your spring break Itinerary.

MSU Horticulture Gardens & Michigan 4-H Children’s Garden
1066 Bogue St, East Lansing, MI 48824

Lewis Landscape Arboretum
Northeast corner of Bogue Street & Service Road, East Lansing, MI 48824

W.J. Beal Botanical Garden
Behind the IM Circle Building – 308 W Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

Baker Woodlot and Rajendra Neotropical Migrant Bird Sanctuary
Farm Lane between Mt. Hope Ave & Service Rd, East Lansing, MI 48824

Feed and Visit the MSU Horse Barn

Hanging out with the horses is so peaceful. No matter how many bags of carrots and apples we bring it seems like never enough. The horses just love it!

Take a self-guided tour 8 AM – 4:30 PM Monday thru Friday and 8 AM – 12 PM Saturday and Sunday.

MSU Horse Barns
3327 Collins Rd, Lansing, MI 48910

MSU Horse Barn

Plan to Attend the MSU Science Festival

The MSU Science Festival runs April 1-30, 2024. In year’s past there is so much to do it’s hard to comprehend, so using the calendar to plan is key. Choose from hands-on activities, lectures, demonstrations, special events and more.

MSU Science Festival (1) (1)

Visit the MSU Broad Art Center

The MSU Broad Art Museum offers free admission year-round. Tickets can be reserved online. Bonus: The first Saturday of the month is Family Day. Each month offers a new creation to make.

Tip: Parking is free on campus on the weekends. *Some restrictions apply.

Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum: 547 E Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

Broad Art Museum

Tour Beaumont Tower

Prepare for a lot of steps! Tours are free, but require advanced reservations. Also, there is no elevator or restroom facility in the structure, so plan ahead. Contact MSU to schedule.

Carillonists play the MSU carillon at noon on Wednesdays during the school year, Wednesday evenings during the Muelder Summer Carillon Series, and for special tours and events.

Beaumont Tower
547 E Circle Dr, East Lansing, MI 48824

MSU Carillon inside the Beaumont Tower
Beaumont Tower

Stop by the MSU Dairy Store

No trip to MSU’s campus is complete without a stop at the Dairy Store!

Serving up 13 weekly rotating flavors of ice cream in cups and cones, plus shakes, coffee and other hot drinks, soups and chili, grilled cheese, and more. Open Tuesday – Sunday Noon – 8 PM.

Tip: The Dairy Store is cashless.

Dairy Store
474 South Shaw Lane East Lansing, MI 48824

Explore the Outdoors

Pick the best Lansing parks to visit on the big list of playgrounds in our area or plan a day at a local nature center.

Parks may be a little slushy at this point in the year but still so much fun if you wear the right footwear. So, grab some rain or winter boots, layer up in case you get hot, and make a bucket list of parks to visit during Spring Break!

The Ledges in Grand Ledge, MI
The Ledges of Grand Ledge

Tip: Bring a water bottle and a snack for each member of your party and pack an extra outfit including socks in the event it is rainy or muddy,

Walk, Hike, and Bike

Fenner Nature Center
2020 E Mt Hope Ave, Lansing, MI 48910

  • Natural wonderland play area
  • Hiking trails
  • Bird watching
  • Interactive playscape
  • Welcome Center with learning opportunities

Harris Nature Center
3998 Van Atta Rd, Okemos, MI 48864

  • Treehouse playground
  • Hiking trails
  • Welcome Center with learning opportunities

Howell Nature Center
1005 Triangle Lake Rd, Howell, MI 48843

  • Wading creek
  • Treehouse playground
  • Meet the nature center’s animals
  • Welcome Center with learning opportunities

Woldumar Nature Center
5739 Old Lansing Rd, Lansing, MI 48917

  • Hiking trails
  • Welcome Center with learning opportunities
Howell Nature Center's Treehouse playscape
Howell Nature Center

When people think of Lansing, they usually focus on the Capitol, and that’s wonderful. But I like to think that Lansing is also known for so much more, one being the Lansing River Trail.

You could potentially plan a special bike ride around the entire Greater Lansing area just by the paved paths! It’s pretty fantastic, really.

You can make a hiking/biking/or walk plan with this guide: Lansing Area Trails and Paths.

Hawk Island Park river trail
Lansing River Trail

Play Disc Golf

An inexpensive, yet enjoyable activity that your whole family can play. Disc golf is a lot like miniature golf. You throw your disc and play from where it lands until you make it into the basket. This sport is gaining popularity in the Lansing area and there are many courses to choose from.


Take a Tour

Embark on a journey through Michigan’s history, where each tour unveils captivating tales of the past, providing a glimpse into the state’s rich heritage.

Michigan Hall of Justice
925 W Ottawa St, Lansing, MI 48915

Reservations must be made in advance. Tours are held Monday – Friday 9 AM – 4 PM except for holidays.

Michigan State Capitol Building
100 N Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933

Visitors can explore the Michigan Capitol year-round Monday through Friday. The Capitol is closed on state holidays in Michigan, except for election day.

Guided tours start in our visitors center, Heritage Hall, at 323 Ottawa St. Guided tours are free of charge, and last about an hour. Guided tours are available between 9 AM – 4 PM.

Self-guided tour books are available at the information desks in Heritage Hall and in the Capitol. These books are also available in Español (Spanish), Français (French), Deutsch (German), Pусский (Russian), 日本語 (Japanese), 中文 (Chinese/Mandarin), and العربية (Arabic).

Michigan State Capitol Building

Michigan History Museum & Archive
702 W Kalamazoo Ave, Lansing, MI 48915

This five-story building narrates Michigan’s history from its earliest inhabitants to the mid-20th century, featuring interactive exhibits that engage children in active learning.

Tip: Admission to the Michigan History Museum is free on Sundays.

Downtown Sculpture Walk
600 N Grand Ave, Lansing, MI 48933

Lansing Community College’s walking tour offers not just a visual feast of art but also an immersive taste of the vibrant ambiance of Downtown Lansing.

All sculptures on campus, including the 30-foot Red Ribbon in the Sky and the towering Elementary display, were created by LCC faculty, alumni, or students, making the Downtown Sculpture Walk a captivating showcase of diverse talent and craftsmanship

Shigematsu Japanese Garden
598 N Capitol Ave, Lansing, MI 48933

The garden offers a serene setting to explore Japanese culture, featuring carefully chosen plantings like pines, Japanese maples, and cherry trees for year-round beauty. Traditional elements such as a dry gravel garden and a water garden with walking paths enhance the tranquil ambiance.

Stop to feed the ducks on the river and feed the fish in the Japanese Gardens. This trip is packed full of adventure and a sure-shot fun time out and about.

NOTE: The Shigematsu Japanese Garden is currently being renovated and is closed as of 03/04/24.

Shigematsu Japanese Garden

Get Up Close and Personal with Animals

Potter Park Zoo offers free admission for all Ingham County residents on non-holiday Mondays between 9 AM – 12 PM. If that’s not enough, here are 13 reasons why you need to visit.

Potter Park Zoo
1301 S Pennsylvania Ave, Lansing, MI 48912

Potter Park Zoo otter exhibit
Potter Park Zoo

Preuss Pets
1127 N Cedar St, Lansing, MI 48906

Preuss Pets is a local gem! This is a guaranteed Spring Break highlight right here. Where else can you see a large variety of fish, snakes, reptiles, small animals, spiders, and other creepy-crawlies.

Preuss Pets

Anderson & Girls Orchard
2985 N Sheridan Rd, Stanton, MI 48888

Anderson & Girls is an easy drive from the Lansing area. Located just north of Ionia, this farm offers a zoo with over 140 animals, several playgrounds with wooden structures, a bakery and café, farm store, and ice cream.

Anderson & GIrls Orchard
Anderson and Girls Orchards

Constellation Cat Cafe
3320 E Lake Lansing Rd, Suite F, East Lansing, MI 48823

Schedule a cat room visit. Explore the cat lounge featuring 6-20 lovable cats ready for adoption. Feel free to drop by the cat room, whether or not you’re seeking a lifelong companion. The cat room area allows you to interact with the cats while enjoying your delightful café beverage.

Constellation Cat Cafe in Lansing
Constellation Cat Café

Feighner Family Farms
14501 Dunn Rd, Haslett, MI 48840

Stop by for a Spring Break celebration and meet the charming alpaca herd! This event requires tickets. Interact with mother alpacas and adorable babies, spoil them with treats, and ask questions.

Indoor Play Options

Use our Indoor Play Guide find to find options like jumping parks, gymnastics, roller skating, library events, and more.

Defy foam block pit

Explore an Adventure Center

High Caliber Karting and Entertainment
1982 W Grand River Ave #800, Okemos, MI 48864

Experience high-speed kart racing, competitive combat karting, inclusive go-karting for all abilities, axe throwing, rage rooms, games, delicious food, and much more. *Age restrictions apply.

Zap Zone XL
5520 W Saginaw Hwy, Lansing, MI 48917

If you haven’t been to Zap Zone XL since they moved into the Lansing Mall, stop what you are doing and go, now! The all new Zap Zone XL offers a TON of activities including indoor go karts, arcade games, laser tag, mini-golf, bull riding, Springz Thrill Park, rage room, cornhole, bowling, smash room, axe throwing, and much, much more. There is even a carousel!

Castaway Play Café
1800 N Burkhardt Rd, Howell, MI 48855

The 5-story indoor play structure is seriously fun. As a parent, I loved chasing my kids all over it. Castaway Play Café also has bounce houses, laser tag, arcade, toddler play area, “Create-a-Pal” stuffed animal maker, and The Challenge Zone (a ninja-style warrior course).

Go on a Taste Test Around The World – Locally

Get ready to embark on a culinary journey right in the heart of mid-Michigan.

Brody Square
Michigan State University, 241 Brody W, East Lansing, MI 48825

Brody Square is a dining hall on the campus of Michigan State University that offers many different types of food from around the world all in one location. Pay a flat rate per person and dine to your stomach’s content. Bonus: This is a great way to introduce new foods to your kids.

  • BOILING POINT – A daily selection of pasta, scratch-made sauces and fresh-baked breadsticks.
  • BRIMSTONE – Indulge in timeless classics like grilled chicken sandwiches, burgers, and crispy golden French fries.
  • CAYENNE’S – Southwestern fare prepared to your liking such as tacos, burritos, and nacho toppings over warm, fresh-made chips.
  • CIAO! – Warm, classic pizza slices, unique pie flavors, and delicious cheese bread.
  • HOMESTYLE – Comfort foods that’ll make you warm up to college and feel right at home. Features contemporary entrées, carved meats and fresh rotisserie chicken.
  • PANGEA – Featuring Pan-Asian favorites, like shrimp, pork, chicken and beef options as well as rice, noodles, vegetables and a variety of sauces.
  • S2 – Soup selections and a variety of crisp greens with an assortment of accompaniments to help build your perfect salad. In addition, hand-rolled sushi is offered on select days.
  • STACKS – Hot or cold deli sandwich selections.
  • VEG OUT – Daily offerings include plant-forward vegan and vegetarian entrees and sides as well as hummus, tabbouleh and more!
  • DOLCE – Assortment of desserts made on campus by MSU Bakers and Michigan-made Hudsonville premium ice cream.

Lansing Shuffle
325 Riverfront Dr, Lansing, MI 48912

From burgers and fries to butter chicken, there’s something at Lansing Shuffle for everyone.

  • TAKITOS AF – Mexican cuisine featuring crispy, rolled tortillas filled with beef, chicken, or vegetables + aguas frescas, and a selection of traditional Mexican sweets (churros!)
  • YETI KITCHEN – Inspired by Kathmandu’s street food, Yeti Kitchen offers shareable Nepali dishes that are fun, ,easy to enjoy and shareable.
  • KIN THAI – Southeast Asian-inspired eatery reminiscent of the spirit of street vendors tossing up fresh noodle and rice dishes in fiery woks!
  • BROWNDOG @ THE SHUFFLE – An abbreviated version of their Barlor concept includes craft burgers, traditional American comfort food, and the finest Browndog small batch ice cream.
  • OSTERIA VEGANA – Offering pasta, polenta, fresh salads, and appetizers along with eventually Pinsa romana – all organic and vegan.
  • IRIE SMOKE SHACK – Barbequed pulled pork island jerk chicken, brisket, mac & cheese are on the menu.
  • BEIRUT KITCHEN – Sandwiches and veggie plates made fresh with chicken shawarma, Beirut kabab / Beirut kafta or gyro meat or veggies.

Spring Break Events Around Lansing (March 21 – April 8)

Spring Break Fun in Greater Lansing

Exploring nearby towns can reveal hidden gems and local cultures, transforming ordinary days into extraordinary adventures. Below you’ll find suggestions for something to do, a place to eat, a place to get a sweet treat and for those who need it, a place to get a hot beverage!



Scoopy Doos - DeWitt
Scoopy Doos in DeWitt, MI

Eaton Rapids

Grand Ledge



St. Johns


Old Town Downtown Lansing Arts Council
Old Town Lansing

Spring Break One-Tank Getaway Trips Close By and Worth the Drive!

Spring Break mini road trips can be really fun, doable, and take minimal planning.

Packing light in few bags makes a day trip with kids pretty smooth. Along with sleeping in the car, being prepared with drawing kits, books, and a couple of small toys can be immensely helpful when we head out of town.

As these types of trips are concerned, we are so lucky to live in the Lansing area! We are right in the center of Michigan making fun getaway spots easy in any direction.

Top Spring Break One-Tank Getaway Destinations

So, we aren’t at the ocean taking in the heat and sun? No worries, there’s a water park for that. In fact, there are quite a few indoor water parks in Michigan. And a lot of them are pretty amazing. Here are just a few:

Avalanche Bay in Boyne Falls
Avalanche Bay

Grand Rapids

Plan a visit to Grand Rapids. Grand Rapids Kids has an amazing spring break guide for families. You’ll find things to do that suit your family’s needs and Grand Rapids is only about an hour from Lansing.

Ah-Nab-Awen Park in Grand Rapids
Ah-Nab-Awen Park

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

The Frederik Meijer Gardens is the perfect day trip getaway option. Just about an hour west of Lansing you’ll find this garden oasis. Their Butterflies are Blooming exhibit will be running until the end of April which means right through most spring break weeks.

Did you know they have the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation? That’s amazing!!

Frederik Meijer Gardens
Frederik Meijer Gardens

John Ball Zoo
1300 Fulton St W, Grand Rapids, MI 49504

The John Ball Zoo opens back up just in time for Spring Break. Daily Animal Programs include training sessions, feeding routines, and enriching activities for the animals.

John Ball Zoo


We love Kalamazoo and KZOOKIDS has an Ultimate Spring Break planner that will guide your family through great options for itinerary.

Kalamazoo Valley Museum
230 N Rose St, Kalamazoo, MI 49007

The KVM is a local favorite for its free admission, children’s area, rotating exhibits, and a planetarium in one magnificent multi-level museum. Families explore hands-on stations, learning geography, mathematics, history, and more.

Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Kalamazoo Valley Museum


Living just one hour and 30 mins from Detroit is such a gift! It makes visiting easy.

Plan a trip to the Motor City to see murals, visit the Outdoor Adventure Center (a personal fav!), shop the Eastern Market, bike the Dequindre Cut, eat delicious food and more!

Belle Isle is free to the public and their Conservatory, Aquarium, and Nature Center are a blast for both the kids and parents. *Note: Be sure to check before you visit to make sure your specific choice is open on the day you visit.

Watching the sunset over Downtown Detroit from Belle Isle

Plus, check out other things happening around the waterfront and Campus Martius for guaranteed fun during the week.

Outdoor Adventure Center Detroit
Outdoor Adventure Center Downtown Detroit

Chicago, IL

Yes, a visit to Chicago is a one-tank trip! I kind of forget that sometimes.

Take in the sites, play at Millennium Park, check out Shedd Aquarium and other museums, shop the Magnificent Mile, and visit Navy Pier and more.

If you plan to do it all, the City Pass is a great option to save money and skip having to stand in lines. Also, Chicago KIDS is a great place to start if you’re wanting family tips and ideas.

Millennium Park Downtown Chicago

What are your Plans for Spring Break this year?!

Whether you choose to have a staycation or are getting away, have an awesome Spring Break, friends! Have fun and let us know which your family ends up loving by commenting below or tagging us on Instagram.

Carla Brooks

Carla is Oregon born, Michigan raised, so it comes as no surprise she's an avid adventurer in all things nature and water fun. She's passionate about storytelling and the power it has to engage the community, give voice to the teller, and invoke a call to action. She is a proud Mexican-American woman who loves to travel (while eating and cooking delicious foods from around the globe), is grateful for her daily yoga practice, and garners much joy from spending time with friends and family. Life is ripe with story and she is always working to capture the magic wherever she goes, so don’t be surprised if you catch her jotting notes with a camera in hand.

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