10 Affordable STEM Adventures for Families this Holiday Season

Take your family on a STEM adventure right here in the Great Lakes Bay Region! One of the great things I love about STEM activities is that they are so much fun and my kids are learning as they play. As a parent, I get to experience it and play right along beside them. Our region offers so many great STEM-rich institutions and the STEM Pipeline’s STEM PASSPORT has helped to make it more affordable for all families to visit. This holiday season is ripe for adventure and there is no better place than discovering what is right here in our home region.

10 STEM Adventures

1. Make & Create at the BAY COUNTY LIBRARY SYSTEM (Auburn, Bay City, and Pinconning) 


Alice and Jack Wirt Public Library – 500 Center Ave., Bay City 989-893-9566
Auburn Area Branch Library – 235 W. Midland Rd., Auburn  989-662-2381
Pinconning Branch Library – 218 Kaiser St., Pinconning 989-879-3283
Sage Branch Libary – 100 E. Midland St., Bay City 989-892-8555


All four library branches are open during the holidays and are perfect places to bring young and old to play and learn.

Upcoming Events

FREELego Club” on Monday, December 30 at 2 – 3 PM at the Sage Branch Library (Bay City)

FREECraft Catch-Up” on Tuesday, December 31 at 10:30 – 11:30 AM at the Alice & Jack Wirt Public Library (Bay City)

Ages 4-12. Stop in for a second chance to create!

FREENew Year’s Eve Craft” on Tuesday, December 31 at 2 – 4 PM at Sage Branch Library (Bay City)

Create fun crafts to ring in the New Year. Ages 12 and under. Drop in.

Click HERE for more events at the Bay County Library System.

*STEM Passport discount – One free STEM surprise! Click HERE to learn more about the STEM Passport

2. Show the kids rare and innovative objects created in Saginaw at the CASTLE MUSEUM (Saginaw)


500 Federal Avenue
Saginaw, MI 48607



Discover what’s inside – at the Castle Museum!

The Castle Museum of Saginaw County History offers a day full of discovery and learning for kids and adults alike. Located inside a historic French chateau-inspired landmark, the museum features “Lumbering in Saginaw,” our popular “Post Office,” “Geared for Production: The Story of Automotive Manufacturing” and a variety of hands-on displays to engage your mind, all while learning about Saginaw County’s history.


Sunday: 1 – 4:30 p.m.
Monday – Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
*The Castle Museum is closed on New Year’s Day and Christmas Day. In addition, the Museum closes at noon on Christmas Eve Day and New Year’s Eve Day.


$1 adults $.50 children

*STEM Passport discount – Free Family Admission. Click HERE to learn more about the STEM Passport

3. Play for FREE in the Woods – Mother Nature’s play area at the CHIPPEWA NATURE CENTER (Midland)!  


400 S Badour Rd
Midland, MI 48640



Wander down one of the 19 miles of trails open dawn-to-dark daily.  Come inside to warm up and visit the interactive fun museum!

Upcoming Events

FREEWinter Solstice Celebration” on December 21 at 6 – 8 PM

For centuries, people have gathered with family and friends to recognize the longest night of the year and to celebrate the return of longer days to come. Take part in earth-friendly traditions as you roll a beeswax candle, create a miniature Yule log and make a small evergreen wreath to take home, and take a peaceful walk along the lighted Arbury Trail. You can also shop for the holidays at the Nature Center Store. All Ages, under 18 w/adult

FREEWinter Exploration Days runs through  December 21, 2019 – January 5, 2020.

Experiments, fun facts, crafts and scavenger hunts.
Mon-Sat 8 am-5 pm | Sun 12-5 pm

FREENature’s New Year’s Eve” on December 31 at 6:30 – 8 PM

Nocturnal animals are not the only ones staying out late tonight! Venture out for some family fun as we watch for nocturnal animals looking for a late night snack, play games and enjoy a light snack of our own! All Ages, under 18 w/adult

FREEStory Hour” on January 2 at 9:30 AM & 11 AM

Come spend an hour learning about nature! The hour will include a story, crafts, time outdoors and other age-appropriate activities. Ages: 3-5 w/adult

FREEFamily Snowshoe Hike” on January 2 at 2 – 4 PM

Bring the whole family for an afternoon of exploration on snowshoes – no experience needed! We will search high and low for signs of animals as we explore on and off trails. Please bring a sled to pull younger children. Reserve snowshoes online or call 989.631.0830. Ages: 5 and up, under 18 w/adult


Monday – Saturday 8 am-5 pm | Sunday 12-5 pm



*STEM Passport – Free CNC Souvenir. Click HERE to learn more about the STEM Passport

4. Show the kiddos something out of this universe at the DELTA COLLEGE PLANETARIUM & LEARNING CENTER (Bay City)


100 Center Avenue
Bay City MI 48708



The Delta College Planetarium inspires exploration through entertaining Dome360 shows and events.

Upcoming Events

Saturday, December 21, 2019
“Let It Snow” at 2 – 3pm
“Life under the Arctic Sky” at 3:30 – 4:30pm
“Stars of the Pharaohs” at 7 – 8pm

Sunday, December 22, 2019
“Let It Snow ” at 2 – 3pm

Saturday, December 28, 2019
“Let It Snow” at 2 – 3pm
“Life under the Arctic Sky” at  3:30 – 4:30pm
“Stars of the Pharaohs” at 7 – 8pm

Thursday, January 2, 2020
“Phantom of the Universe” at 5 – 6pm

Saturday, January 4, 2020
“Beyond the Sun” at 2 – 3pm
“To Worlds Beyond” at 3:30 – 4:30pm
“Edge of Darkness” at 7 – 8pm

*STEM Passport discount – Buy one adult show ticket & get the second one (equal or lesser value) free. Click HERE to learn more about the STEM Passport

5. Discover nature through play at the FOREST HILLS NATURE AREA (Alma)


11297 N. Rich Rd.
Alma, MI



This nature area was once farmed but is slowly being transformed back to a more natural setting to give visitors the chance to explore Michigan’s natural beauty. Forest Hill Nature Area has walking trails through 90 acres of gently rolling hills, open fields, wetlands, willow thickets and woodlots. The trails are open to the public from dawn to dusk for hiking, exploring and geocaching! Come visit today and see what is in your backyard!


Open 24/7



6. Build, climb, play, and be innovative at the Midland Center for the Arts Museum (Midland)

Image courtesy of the Midland Center for the Arts

Midland Center for the Arts Museum

1801 W. St. Andrews
Midland, Michigan
(989) 631-5930


Build something innovative in the SPARK LAB, climb a tree in FOREVER FOREST exhibit, or test your fear factor in the GOOSE BUMPS! THE SCIENCE OF FEAR (ages 7+) exhibit.

Upcoming Event

STEM Family Day on December 21, 2019 at 9 AM – 4 pM

Click HERE to see all of the Midland Center for the Arts’ events.


MON Closed
TUE 9 AM – 4 PM
WED 9 AM – 4 PM
THU 9 AM – 8 PM
FRI 9 AM – 4 PM
SAT 9 AM – 4 PM
SUN 12 PM – 5 PM


Adults: $10 | Ages 4 – 14: $7 | Ages 3 and under: FREE

*STEM Passport discount: $2 off per person Children under 3 free or Have a Bridge Card enjoy $2 admission for up to 4 people per card (only one discount offer per person).  Click HERE to learn more about the STEM Passport

7. Let curiosity overtake the kids as they play with water, plant a garden, and create masterpieces at the MID-MICHIGAN CHILDREN’S MUSEUM (Saginaw)

Image courtesy of the Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum


315 West Genesee Avenue
Saginaw, MI 48602

(989) 399-6626


Explore, learn, and have fun at your Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum! Our hands-on, “Play and Learn” environment offers engaging gallery spaces that are designed specifically for kids ages 0-10 to discover the wonders of our world.

Upcoming Event

FREENew Year’s Eve Countdown Blast” on December 31 at 10 AM – 4 PM

Shake, Rattle and Roll! Count down every hour on the hour with a surprise guest at our New Year’s Eve Bash. Be prepared for crafts and games like make your own noise maker!

• “Grandparents play for FREE” on January 5 at 12 – 5 PM


Tuesday – Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday Noon – 5:00 p.m.


Members Free
Under 24 months Free
Ages 2 to 59 $7.50
Over 60 $6.50
Museums for All $3.00

*STEM Passport discount – Discounted admission for everyone at $5/person.  Click HERE to learn more about the STEM Passport

8. Enrich your lives by visiting the PUBLIC LIBRARIES OF SAGINAW (Saginaw)


Hoyt Main Library – 505 Janes Avenue, Saginaw  (989) 755-0904
Butman-Fish Library – 1716 Hancock Street, Saginaw (989) 799-9160
Wickes Library – 1713 Hess Street, Saginaw (989) 752-3821
Zauel Library – 3100 North Center Road, Saginaw (989) 799-2771


Our Mission: Educate, Enrich, Entertain, Encourage Reading and Lifelong Learning.

Upcoming Event

FREEDuplo Club” at Zauel Memorial on December 28 at 11 AM – 12 PM

Click HERE to see all of the Public Libraries of Saginaw’s events.

9. Climb through a honey comb, shoot off a rocket, and explore the Luminary Lab at the MT. PLEASANT DISCOVERY MUSEUM (Mt. Pleasant)


5093 E Remus Rd
Mount Pleasant, Michigan 48858

(989) 317-3221


The Mt. Pleasant Discovery Museum’s mission is to enhance the community by inspiring creativity, learning, and curiosity. Their exhibits offer a child-centered setting for children to play and therefore learn critical foundational skills for their future success.

Upcoming Events

• “Noon Year’s Eve Royal Ball” on December 31 at

Click HERE to see all of the Public Libraries of Saginaw’s events.


Monday – Sunday – 10:00am-6:00pm


$8.00/person (ages 1-100)
Under 1 and over 100 years old is always FREE

*STEM Passport Discount: $2 off per person for up to 4 guests. Click HERE to learn more about the STEM Passport

10. Climb a tower to see as far as you can see and then explore the wooded wetlands, marsh ponds, the dune ridges and shoreline at the BAY CITY STATE PARK (Bay City)


3582 State Park Drive
Bay City, Michigan 48706



The Saginaw Bay Recreation Area is located on the shores of the Saginaw Bay. The park area includes over 2,000 acres of land featuring wooded wetlands, marsh ponds, gentle dune ridges and mile of shoreline. Three observation towers, boardwalks, viewing platforms and shoreline spotting scopes help make wildlife viewing more interactive.


The Visitor Center will be closed during the holiday but the park and trails will be open.