9 Fun Things to do Downtown with Kids

Written by Kingsli Kraft | September 4th, 2020

With routines so dramatically changed over the past year, finding fun and safe things to do with the kiddos is needed now more than ever! Here are 9 creative things to do downtown that are kid friendly and socially distanced. 

  1. Take a class at Art in the Loft 

Visit Art in the Loft’s website and check out the “Create Art” tab to see what classes are currently being offered. Keep in mind that space is limited and social distancing guidelines will be followed. They have visual arts and culinary arts class options, as well as At Home art options. There’s something for all ages and ability levels!

  1. Attend a virtual or outdoor activity hosted by the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library

The Alpena County Library has hosted a number of fun online events like Virtual Author Chats for teen and tween level readers, Virtual Dungeons & Dragons, and more. They also have Storytime Kits that include a read through of a story and an array of activities available here on their website for kids of all ages. Outdoor events they’ve offered include the Poetry Walk of Classical Poems and Michigan Poets. Stay up to date with all of the library’s offerings on their website, www.alpenalibrary.org.

  1. Pick out a new book at Parallel 45 Books and Gifts

With new books coming in every week, Parallel 45 Books and Gifts is sure to have a great new book (or many new books depending on your budget) for the book worm in your family. If they don’t have what you’re looking for, they are also able to order whatever you’re looking for and they’ll call you when it’s ready to be picked up. 

  1. Have a picnic in Avery Park or along the Maritime Heritage Trail

If you’re just looking to get out of the house and maybe enjoy a little sunshine before it gets too cold, pack your favorite picnic blanket, order pizzas to go from JJ’s next door or pack your own snacks, bring bubbles, a frisbee, ball or whatever other outdoor toys your kids love and make an afternoon of it. If you’re choosing the Maritime Heritage Trail, stop and read all of the plagues and signage to learn about the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

  1. Check out Bob’s Bullpen, The Bulldog and Two Bit Operation

All housed under one roof, this is your one-stop shop for some fun. Get lunch at the Bulldog, then play some games after at Two Bit Operation, and then pick out a new comic or graphic novel in Bob’s Bullpen

  1. Take a tour of the shipwrecks on the Glass Bottom Boat

You can find all of the details about the Alpena Shipwreck Tours here on their website. This is a fun way to get out of the house and do something slightly educational and a little different with the family.

  1. Go rock hunting, paint some rocks at home and hide them around downtown to brighten someone’s day.

This one requires a little more planning, and it’s a fun and uplifting way to explore downtown in a fun way. Paint the rocks at home and then walk through downtown and hide the rocks so other people can find them, maybe even leave a little note with an encouraging message on or under the rock. 

  1. Go on a short shopping spree for a care package for a loved one

Have your child, or each of your children pick someone in your lives that they want to put together a care package for—grandma, an aunt, their brother, dad, the neighbor, etc.— and go shopping downtown for some items to put together in a surprise care package for them. Wrap it up nicely and leave a note with it on your loved one’s front porch. Check out the list of downtown shops on our website.

  1. Make your own Flat Stanley or Flat Imaginary friend and take photos for a photo album of your adventures with him. 

When I was in school, I remember making a Flat Stanley (a little cartoon boy drawn and colored and cut out) and taking him with me on an adventure down to my grandparents. It was a project for my second or third grade class and it was so fun. Have your kids draw their own Flat Stanley, their Imaginary Friend, or print your own templates and have them color him. Then show your new two dimensional friend around town: visit one of the murals, have some ice cream, get lunch, go to a park…. Take some photos and put together a scrapbook at home with your kids. 

If you try any of our ideas, take some photos and tag @downtownalpena and @blogdowntownalpena on Instagram and Facebook!

Kingsli Kraft wrote this article for Blog Downtown Alpena. Kingsli is an Alpena native and a graduate of the University of Michigan. She now works at the Alpena Downtown Development Authority as the Marketing + Outreach Coordinator. She volunteers on Thunder Bay Theatre’s Board of Directors and is a dedicated advocate for the arts and environment. She enjoys reading, writing, yoga, hiking, caring for all of her plants and all things coffee. You can follow her on Instagram here.

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