DNR Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit

Today we made our second trip the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit had a blast. We went last year when Xavier was 1.5 years old and had fun, but the year definitely made a big difference for what Xavier could do on his own here (which was pretty much everything).
The DNR Outdoor Adventure Center is located along the Detroit Riverfront. It’s a beautiful indoor destination that features all things Michigan outdoors. From huge climbing trees, faux campfires and tents, to snowmobiles and 4 wheelers ride simulators, there is something for all ages. I’d say the key age range for this is walking age through 12 years old. Although with close supervision, a crawling baby could have fun here too.
A few highlights…
The huge climbing tree! There is a HUGH hollow tree that has a mini slide perfect for toddlers. Older kids (Xavier at 2.5 could make it up with minor help from his brother) can climb to the second level bridge through the tree. From there they can cross the suspension bridge to the other side of the second floor. Xavier was afraid to cross the bridge at first, and then by the end of the day he was running back and forth.
The simulation rides and games are fun for the older kids. Snowmobiling, 4 wheeling, bike races, fishing and kayaking are all available and are free. There is usually a small wait for each one, about 3-5 minutes.
There is a mini waterfall that pours into a trout lake. There are stepping stones that go across that kids can walk across, but one small slip and they end up in 2 inch water, soaking wet. I saw a little girl drenched! I let Max do this with supervision but Xavier we tried to hold off. He loved looking at the trout in the lake!

There’s a toddler activity room that has a ton of books, puzzles and toys little ones can play with if they need a rest from running. There’s also life size play kitchen and bathroom that teaches how kitchen waste and rainwater contribute to a healthier backyard environment.
Overall Outdoor Center gives kids a ton of room to roam, run and be hands on with everything relating to Michigan Outdoors.
Tips for visiting:
  • Pack a lunch or snacks! There’s a designated eating area but they only have a vending machine with snacks. 
  • Kids don’t have to remove shoes to play, but the floor can get slipper near the waterfall. I would recommend athletic/running shoes.
  • Xavier was drawn to the waterfall, and is so use to going to hands on museums with water tables, that he thought he could splash around in it. He didn’t get too wet this time around, but the first time we went he was soaking. I saw other kids who were drenched as well…bring a change of clothes! 
  • Do breakfast before or lunch after! There are so many new, great restaurants in Detroit, take advantage of being in the city and check out a new location for food. I recommend the Dime Store (if you can get there early) or Hudson Cafe for breakfast, and Townhouse for brunch or lunch. 
  • If you plan on visiting during a snow date, make sure to check Detroit Public Schools website for closures. If Detroit schools are closed, the DNR Adventure Center is closed.
Monday – Closed
Tuesday – Closed
Wednesday – 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Thursday – 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Friday – 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Saturday – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday – Noon – 5 p.m.

Adults (age 13-61) – $5
Seniors (age 62 and older) – $3
Children (ages 2-12) – $3
Children under age 2 – Free
Annual family membership – $50


Directions & Parking:
Outdoor Adventure Center, 1801 Atwater St, Detroit, MI 48207


Parking is FREE on the east side of the OAC. Visitors can get into the main parking lot from Atwater Street and a smaller lot from St. Aubin Street.
We recommend going to the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center from Chene Street. Then head west on Atwater. The Outdoor Adventure Center entrance is off Atwater, on the east side of the building (where the bright green DNR logo is visible).

3 thoughts on “DNR Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit

  1. Looks fun! I've heard about it, but we haven't taken the kids yet. Usually when we go downtown it's because we already have tickets for something else. I'll have to recommend it for my nephew though 🙂

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