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FREE things to do near Detroit, MI! (part 1 of 3)

Looking for free things to do near Detroit, Michigan? If you’ve got a library card, you can checkout a Michigan Activity Pass – and we’ve found dozens of FREE places you can go with that pass!

Have you heard of the Michigan Activity Pass?! If you live in Michigan, this one printable pass can get you FREE admission (or cheap tickets) to over 400 venues across the state, including museums, cultural destinations, National Parks, state parks, campgrounds and more!

You can print the Michigan Activity Pass from the comfort of your own home. Click here for detailed, step-by-step instruction guide that will show you how to check out these passes.

To organize the 440+ locations you can visit with a Michigan Activity Pass, we’ve organized our list by nearest major city. There may be some overlap between regions, since I’m somewhat unfamiliar with Michigan geography. If you’re looking for something fun to do in another area of Michigan, please click here to see our complete Michigan Activity Pass list.

This list includes free stuff to do in Albion, Ann Arbor, Auburn Hills, Belleville, Bloomfield Hills, Brighton, Brooklyn, Chelsea, Chesterfield, Clayton, Clinton, Commerce, Concord, Dearborn and Detroit.

Click here to view our list for other Michigan cities!

Albion

Kids ‘N’ Stuff Children’s Museum – 50% off

Families and children can enjoy interactive, hands-on activities here! With your Michigan Activity Pass, you’ll save 50% off the regular admission price!

Ann Arbor

826michigan – FREE

This learning center helps school-age children learn how to write confidently and skillfully with the assistance of adult volunteers. All students between the ages of 6 and 18 years old can participate. Please contact the location for details regarding their Michigan Activity Pass deals.

Argus Camera Museum – FREE

Tucked inside the Argus Camera Company’s old factory buildings, this museum features rare and prototype cameras, unusual equipment and accessories, military devices and a tribute to the company that once occupied the building. Get FREE admission with your Michigan Activity Pass!

Cobblestone Farm Museum – FREE

Celebrate the settlement of the Ann Arbor region! The Cobblestone Farm was the second settlement in Washtenaw County and dates back to 1826. Visit FREE with a MAP pass!

Kelsey Museum of Archaeology – FREE

Admire more than 100,000 ancient and medieval artifacts from the Mediterranean and Near East regions at the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology. You’ll enjoy free admission and a 10% gift shop discount with your Michigan Activity Pass!

University of Michigan Museum of Natural History – FREE

This museum is dedicated to exploring the natural world and our place in it. The museum showcases dinosaurs, mastodons and other amazing specimens. Get FREE admission and a 10% gift store discount with your Michigan Activity Pass!

Washtenaw County Historical Society Museum – FREE

This museum showcases three or four exhibits per year that highlight aspects of Washtenaw County history. The museum is closed when the exhibits are changed. Otherwise, Michigan Activity Pass holders get FREE admission!

Wild Swan Theater – FREE child

Family and school audiences love the Wild Swan Theater’s performances that feature original scripts adapted from beloved tales and multicultural stories. Storytelling, movement and music are all combined with expertly-designed props, puppets, masks, dance and original music. With your Michigan Activity Pass, you’ll receive one free child admission with a paid adult ticket!

Auburn Hills

Legoland Discovery Center Michigan – $5 off

Save $5 off on your General Admission tickets with your Michigan Activity Pass! You can get up to six discounted tickets per MAP pass. This discount cannot be combined with other offers.

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium – $5 off

Get up close and personal with everything from seahorses to sharks at SEA LIFE! with your Michigan Activity Pass, you can get $5 off the standard SEA LIFE admission price on up to six tickets!

Belleville

Yankee Air Museum – FREE

Discover the story of aviation through the 20th century. Learn about Rosie the Riveter, Detroit’s role in WWII and explore the hands-on exhibits! You’ll receive one free adult admission and one free child admission with your Michigan Activity Pass.

Bloomfield Hills

Cranbook Art Museum – FREE

Up to four people can visit the Cranbook Art Museum for FREE with a Michigan Activity Pass! The museum hosts a permanent collection and traveling shows. An outdoor sculpture collection is also on-site. Free admission does not include special events or tours.

Brighton

Island Lake Recreation Area – FREE

Island Lake Recreation Area is home to one of the safest shooting ranges in the United States! This park also has great areas for volleyball, canoeing, picnicking and swimming. You can even rent a cabin here, although your Michigan Activity Pass only covers one FREE day of access.

Brooklyn

Cambridge Junction Historic State Park – FREE

This is the site of Walker Tavern, one of the major stopping places for stagecoaches traveling between Detroit and Chicago in the early nineteenth century. Learn the story of stagecoaches and taverns in Michigan’s history here! You can spend the day here FREE with your MAP pass!

Walker Tavern Historic Site – FREE

Discover Michigan’s agricultural and travel heritage at this popular stop for Sylvester Walker’s stagecoach. Back in the day, the trip from Detroit to Chicago took five days and this was a frequent stagecoach stop. Discover more for FREE with your MAP pass!

Chelsea

Jiffy Mix Factory Tour – FREE

Tour the Jiffy Mix factory completely free! This one-hour tour consists of video presentations, product samples and a walk-through of the packaging plant! Reservations are required in advance.

Waterloo Recreation Area – FREE

Enjoy one FREE day of fun! This 20,000 acre recreation area includes multiple campgrounds, cabins, yurts, picnic areas, beaches, fishing lakes, nature trails, mountain biking trails, equestrian trails, the Gerald Eddy Discovery Center and more! Unfortunately, the MAP pass is only valid one day and does not provide access to the shooting ranges.

Chesterfield

Stahl’s Automotive Foundation – FREE

Admire the stunning yet unusual collection of vintage and classic automobiles in this museum. You’ll also see antique automated musical instruments, jukeboxes, gas pumps, neon and enamel lights and other automotive-related artifacts. Get free admission with your Michigan Activity Pass!

Clayton

Lake Hudson Recreation Area – FREE

If you enjoy swimming, sunbathing,  astronomy, muskie fishing or game hunting, Lake Hudson is a great place to visit! As a designated dark sky preserve, Lake Hudson offers an unparalleled view of the nighttime sky. Your Michigan Access Pass grants you FREE access for one day and includes camping access (although camping fees still apply).

Clinton

Southern Michigan Railroad – $5 off

Ride real, historic railroad equipment on Michigan’s first branch line railroad! This all-volunteer museum offers $5 off the regular ticket price with your Michigan Activity Pass.

Commerce

Chi-Town Union Station & West Oakland Railroad Museum – $1 off

Visit the world’s largest O-Scale model railroad and the world’s longest model train! This museum fills a 10,000+ square foot building in Commerce with more than 10,000 sq ft of track stacked layers deep up to nine feet! With your Michigan Activity Pass, you’ll receive $1 off the regular admission of $5 per adult and $3 per children ages 5+. Children under age 5 are always free!

Proud Lake Recreation Area – FREE

Enjoy 20 miles of trails around the Huron River! This park offers diverse landscapes and recreational opportunities, including the unique River Hawk Lodge. Visit for the day FREE with your MAP pass!

Concord

Mann House Historic Site – FREE

Receive a free, personalized tour of the historic Mann House. Located in stunningly beautiful Concord, this venue welcomes you into a Victorian-era home that is furnished like a typical family residence in the 1880s. This venue is open seasonally between May and September.

Dearborn

Arab American National Museum – FREE

Visit the first and only US museum devoted to Arab-American history and culture! You’ll hear the voices and see the faces of Arab Americans as you learn their stories. You’ll discover how Arab Americans have enriched the economic, political and cultural landscape of the United States. Myths and misconceptions about Arab-American culture will be corrected. Two people can get FREE admission to the AANM per MAP pass!

Dearborn Hills Golf Course – 2-for-1 admission

Built in 1923, this is Michigan’s oldest public golf course and is listed in the State Register of Historic Sites. Following a $5 million renovation in 1991, it’s been dubbed Michigan’s Best Public Golf Course! With a Michigan Activity Pass, you can get a 2-for-1 discount until October 31, 2017.

Dearborn Historical Museum – FREE

Founded in 1950, the Dearborn Historical Museum is based out of two buildings from the old Dearbornville Arsenal: The McFadden-Ross House and the Commandant’s Quarters. Enjoy free admission with your Michigan Activity Pass!

Missoula Children’s Theater – Discount

Youth between the ages of 6 and 17 are invited to a five-day theatrical workshop. This workshop runs in late June and includes a performance opportunity. With a MAP pass, this program costs just $175 for the week.

Summer Youth Theatre – Discount

Actors, singers and dancers who are at least 5 years old are invited to a two-week workshop that culminates in a musical performance. This two-week class costs just $125 with your Michigan Activity Pass.

SURA Photography Program – Discount

Aspiring photographers between the ages of 7 and 14 are invited to this workshop, which focuses on photography skills development. Attendees will learn about composition, color, lighting, image storytelling, media sharing and more. The workshop culminates in a photography exhibit.

Visual Arts Experience – Discount

Children between the ages of 7-11 are invited to a week-long camp to explore drawing, painting, sculpting and other art forms. The camp ends with a student exhibit. With a MAP pass, this class costs just $140, including all supplies.

Detroit

826michigan – FREE

This learning center helps school-age children learn how to write confidently and skillfully with the assistance of adult volunteers. All students between the ages of 6 and 18 years old can participate. Please contact the location for details regarding their Michigan Activity Pass deals.

Arts & Scraps – 20% off

Use recycled materials to create something new! Participate in a scavenger hunt and visit five interactive stations, including the Unstable Table, Build a City, Giant Marble Run, Junk Xylophone and Musical Maze! When you’re ready, pull up a chair and build something magnificent – you get 20% off materials in the community store!

Belle Isle Park – FREE

Belle Isle became Michigan’s 102nd State Park in 2014. located in the Detroit River, this island includes an aquarium, conservatory and the James Scott Memorial Fountain. Recreational and educational opportunities are abundant in this park! You can visit for the day for FREE with your Michigan Activity Pass!

Carr Center – 2-for-1 event tickets

The Carr Center promotes, presents and preserves African and African American cultural arts and traditions. With a Michigan Arts Pass, you can get two-for-one admission to events!

Detroit Institute of Arts – 2-for-1 admission

See one of the top six art collections in the United States! With the Michigan Activity Pass, you’ll get one free admission with every paid admission! Special exhibits are not included, however.

Michigan Science Center – FREE IMAX or Planetarium tickets

You can get up to four FREE IMAX or planetarium tickets with your paid general admission tickets. These tickets can be used to see movies on Michigan’s only Chrysler IMAX Dome Theater or the Dassault Systemes Planetarium.

Milliken State Park & Harbor – FREE

The Milliken State Park and Harbor is the first urban state park in Michigan! Located in the heart of Detroit, the park provides opportunities for picnicking, walking, fishing and more along the Detroit River. Get a whole day FREE with your Michigan Activity Pass!

Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit – FREE

Visit MOCAD for FREE and get a 10% discount in the MOCAD store with your Michigan Activity Pass!

Outdoor Adventure Center – 2-for-1 admission

Hands-on activities, exhibits and simulators await you at the Outdoor Adventure Center! Walk behind a waterfall, step into a boat, reel in a big fish, hit the trail on a mountain bike, ride a snowmobile and more! Up to three people can get into the OAC for FREE with each MAP pass!

PuppetArt – FREE child ticket

Multicultural puppet shows are shown year-round at this Detroit theater. With each paid adult ticket, you can receive one free child ticket. You can also get 15% off in the gift shop! There may be a limit on how many vouchers one family can use.

William V. Banks Broadcast Museum & Media Center – FREE

Newly opened in 2017, the William V Banks Broadcast Museum and Media Center showcases the history of the first black-owned and operated television station in the country! WGPR-TV Channel 62 went on the air on September 29, 1975 and is now celebrated with this lovely memorial museum. Get FREE admission with your Michigan Activity Pass!

Continue to Part 2: Dundee – Mt. Clemens

(Get more free stuff in Michigan!)

Nicole leads the Low Income Relief team with over 20 years of professional research and writing experience. Nicole started Low Income Relief after a personal experience with poverty. When her husband was medically discharged from the US Army, their family experienced tremendous financial hardship. Nicole was able to gather help from multiple community agencies and move into a nearby low income housing unit in just two weeks! Since then, Nicole has been dedicated to helping low income families in crisis. She regularly spends hundreds of hours combing through countless resources to make sure that Low Income Relief has the most comprehensive and complete resource directories on the internet today. Prior to starting Low Income Relief, Nicole worked as a novelist, journalist, ghostwriter and content creator. Her work has been featured in various print and online publications, including USA Today, eHow, Livestrong, Legal Beagle, The Daily Herald, The Chronicle and more.