Five Things Your Kids Will Love This Month
HISTORIC BASE BALL
In 1867, the new game of “base ball” was sweeping the nation and evolving from a simple child’s game to a gentleman’s national pastime — and the Detroit area was host to the World’s Base Ball Tournament.
See how it was done — no cussing, no spitting — as Greenfield Village’s two teams, the National Base Ball Club (based on an 1867 Parma, Mich., club) and the necktie-wearing Lah-De-Dahs (based on a club that played in Waterford in the 1880s) take to the field each week.
It all leads up to a World Tournament of Historic Base Ball, complete with live 19th-century music. Just as in the original 1867 World’s Tournament, a $300 cash prize will be awarded to the champion club, while the club with the fewest wins will receive a sack of peanuts. Free with Village admission. Games are played 1:30 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday through Aug. 7 and also Aug. 20-21; the Tournament games take place 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 13-14.
Greenfield Village, 20900 Oakwood Blvd., Dearborn. (800) 835-5237; thehenryford.org.
WALKING WITH WILDLIFE
Along a half-mile winding path through the Wild Wonders Wildlife Park at the Howell Conference & Nature Center (that offers miles of scenic walking trails and recreational opportunities), visitors can encounter more than 30 species of native Michigan mammals and birds in habitats built to mimic their natural environments.
Created to house and rehabilitate injured and orphaned wildlife, Wild Wonders is home to coyotes and groundhogs, owls, hawks, falcons and more — in habitat structures with waterfalls, ponds, live trees and underground dens.
While there, check out some of the activities at the Nature Center, including: The tallest outdoor climbing tower in Michigan; a 500-foot-long zip line over a pond; and a high ropes course running through the trees, 25 feet in the air (check online for availability). Suggested donation: $4/adults; $2/children. Open daily from 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Wild Wonders Wildlife Park at the Howell Conference & Nature Center, 1005 Triangle Lake Road, Howell. (517) 546-0249;
Open wide! Did you know that the Detroit Zoo offers the opportunity to get up close and personal with its long-necked friends? At the Giraffe Encounter, for $5, 100 visitors a day can buy lunch for a giraffe (usually in the form of “browse,” or leafy branches) and hand-feed it to them from an elevated viewing platform
overlooking the giraffe habitat. Tuesdays through Sundays through the end of September (subject, of course, to the giraffes’ appetites). P.S. Don’t forget the sanitizer!
Detroit Zoo, 8450 W. 10 Mile Road, Royal Oak. (248) 541-5717; detroitzoo.org.
BROADWAY FOR THE FAMILY
Broadway at Meadow Brook, that is. Thrill your little ones as all their fave songs come to life on the stage under the direction of composer and lyricist Neil Berg with Family Day on Broadway. Songs from Annie, Mary Poppins, The Lion King, The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz and more will have your kids screaming along like it’s Beatlemania — and go on, you know you want to, too. 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13. $10/general admission pavilion; $15/reserved pavilion (half-off reserved seats for kids 12 and under).
Since 1979, the fanatical and curious alike have descended on Holly for the pageantry of a 16th-century village come to life — turkey legs and all. The landed gentry and their serfs roam the 18 acres of the Michigan Renaissance Festival, interacting with visitors who take in the sights and sounds of the European past. See full-contact jousting with armored knights and horses, and a Human Combat Chess Match, plus craft demonstrations and wares, and human-powered rides.
A Children’s Realm includes a castle playscape with free activities; snack on Scotch eggs, soup in a bread bowl and apple dumplings. Check online for special themed weekends, like the Buccaneer Beer Fest (featuring a tattoo contest and press-a-wench), and the Highland Fling (with a men-in-kilts competition and beer tasting). It really is fun for the whole family! $19.95/adults; $10.95/child; $17.95/students/seniors. Weekends and Labor Day, from Aug. 20 through Oct. 2.
Michigan Renaissance Festival. 12600 Dixie Hwy., Holly. (248) 634-5552; michrenfest.com.