12 Things to Do with Family in Sterling Heights, Michigan

Last Updated on February 25, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Sterling Heights is a vibrant city located in Metro Detroit, Michigan that offers plenty of fun and exciting things for families to see and do together. From museums and parks to gaming centers and delicious restaurants, Sterling Heights has activities that will engage and delight family members of all ages.

ActivityLocation/Feature
Indoor Adventures at Zap ZoneLaser tag, arcade games, and more
Nature Exploration at Clinton River ParkTrails, kayaking, and wildlife observation
Creative Fun at Sterling Heights LibraryMedia Lab, crafting, and family programs
Art Viewing at Cultural Arts PavilionExhibits by local artists
Outdoor Activities at Dodge ParkPlayground, mini-golf, nature center
Butterfly Viewing at Fountain ViewIndoor butterfly garden
Bowling at 5-Star LanesCosmic bowling and arcade games
Marine Life at SEA LIFE Michigan AquariumInteractive exhibits with sea creatures
FootGolfCombines golf and soccer rules
Glow Mini-Golf at Monkey Joe’sIndoor glow-in-the-dark course
Dessert at CakabakeryEuropean-style bakery
Shopping at Lakeside MallOver 125 stores and eateries

This article will highlight 12 fantastic things for you to experience with your family during your next visit to Sterling Heights. It covers indoor and outdoor attractions, seasonal activities, educational opportunities, and places to eat, shop, and relax. With creative indoor playgrounds, beautiful nature centers, an impressive art house, and even glow-in-the-dark mini golf, Sterling Heights has something to entertain every member in your family group.

1.Head to Zap Zone for Indoor Adventures

Name and Location: Zap Zone is an indoor entertainment center located in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

History and Significance: Zap Zone opened in 2017, providing a huge indoor space for family fun featuring laser tag, arcade games, indoor rides and attractions.

What to Expect: Visitors can enjoy multi-level laser tag, thrill rides like the Skycoaster, arcade games, VR experiences, bumper cars, mini bowling, climbing walls, ninja courses, and more.

Visitor Information: Zap Zone is open year-round. Attraction wristbands, activity passes, and individual ride tickets available. Private event hosting offered.

Zap Zone is an indoor family fun center located on Metro Parkway in Sterling Heights. Spanning 50,000 square feet, this huge entertainment venue has thrilling attractions and games for all ages. Race your kids around two-level laser tag arenas filled with fog, lights, and music. Challenge them to rounds of laser tag basketball shooting electronic hoops. Test your skills together on the indoor ropes course elevated 16 feet in the air!

In between rounds of heart-racing action, take a break at the Zap Zone Arcade filled with over 150 games and redemption prizes to earn. Hungry thrill-seekers can refuel at the onsite pizzeria and café before taking on more family fun at Zap Zone!

2.Spend a Day Exploring Nature at Clinton River Park

Name and Location: Clinton River Park is a large park located along the Clinton River in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

History and Significance: For over 50 years, the park has provided access to the Clinton River and preserved almost 90 acres of woodlands and wetlands with nature trails and recreation facilities.

What to Expect: Visitors enjoy walking trails, river access, fishing areas, picnic grounds, sports fields and courts, a skate park, spray park, disc golf, and natural habitat with diverse wildlife.

Visitor Information: The park is open daily from dawn until dusk. Some facilities like the sports complex require reservations and fees.

Covering over 200 acres in Sterling Heights, Clinton River Park is an outdoor recreational area perfect for families looking to commune with nature. Traverse nearly 4 miles of hiking trails winding through woodland, prairie, and wetland environments. The Interpretive Center features wildlife exhibits and a large outdoor Wildlife Observation Area. Learn about the different plants and animal species native to Michigan!

Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy at one of Clinton River Park’s numerous pavilions. Rent kayaks and canoes from the Boathouse to paddle down the Clinton River running through the park. Enjoy a round of disc golf on the 18-hole course! With so much natural beauty and fun to experience, you’ll want to spend the whole day with your family at Clinton River Park.

3.Get Creative at the Sterling Heights Public Library

Name and Location: The Sterling Heights Public Library serves the community of Sterling Heights, MI with a main branch and two satellite facilities around the city.

History and Significance: Established in 1988, it provides key literacy, education and programming resources for all ages supporting growth and learning.

What to Expect: Patrons can access books, media, computers, databases, classes, makerspaces, study rooms, events, galleries, youth programs, meeting spaces and more.

Visitor Information: The Main Library and branches have varying hours. Library cards are free for residents or a yearly fee for non-residents.

The Sterling Heights Public Library goes beyond books to provide neat activities for curious young minds. Located on Dodge Park Road, this innovative library has weekly events like story times and science experiments that are fun for the whole family. Use the Media Lab to get creative making music videos, 3D printing unique objects, producing podcasts, and more tech-based projects!

Let your artistic side shine in the Creative Zone crafting area and makerspace. This special kids’ room also has gaming systems, musical instruments, and interactive learning toys to enjoy. With special family-centric programs happening all the time, the Sterling Heights Public Library is an awesome indoor destination for families.

4.See Exhibits at the Sterling Heights Cultural Arts Pavilion

Name and Location: The Sterling Heights Cultural Arts Pavilion is located within Sterling Heights City Hall Plaza in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

History and Significance: Completed in 2016, the modern glass pavilion was built to host art exhibits, receptions, and events to promote arts, history and culture in the community.

What to Expect: Visitors will find galleries for exhibition pieces and collections, meeting and event spaces available to rent, and venues hosting regular presentations.

Visitor Information: Open hours vary by season. Some special events and rentals may require admission fees. Self-parking available at City Hall.

Known as The Pavilion, this impressive art house located inside Sterling Heights City Hall regularly hosts fascinating exhibits for families to experience together. See beautiful paintings, photography displays, sculptures, and more types of amazing art created by talented local Michigan artists. Around major holidays, The Pavilion features interactive, family-friendly shows. Past exhibits have included dazzling Model Train Displays at Christmastime and decorative Sugar Skull Art during Day of the Dead.

Don’t miss the giant 850-gallon saltwater aquarium located in the atrium lobby outside The Pavilion exhibition spaces. Gaze at the tropical fish and giant sea turtles swimming inside! The Sterling Heights Cultural Arts Pavilion always provides interesting exhibits for families to view and discuss.

5.Enjoy the Outdoors at Dodge Park

Name and Location: Dodge Park is a park spanning over 90 acres in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

History and Significance: Opened in 1968, it offers diverse recreation facilities meeting many community interests including sports fields, trails, natural areas and an ice arena.

What to Expect: Visitors will find walking trails, fishing pond, picnic shelters, playscapes, sports fields and courts, disc golf course, Farmers Market Pavilion event venue and the Crystal Fieldhouse Ice Arena.

Visitor Information: The park is open daily 6am to 10pm. Some facilities have separate hours. Reservations and fees vary per amenity.

For fresh air and family fun, spend an afternoon stretching your legs at Dodge Park located on Dodge Park Road. These 96 beautiful acres contain paved walkways, playground equipment, athletic fields, and plenty of open green space perfect for picnicking. Kids will love running free in the Tot Lot or getting dizzy on the Scrambler spinning ride. Play a round of mini-golf together on the creatively designed course!

Inside the park’s Nature Center, check out educational displays on Michigan wildlife, recycling activities, and the wetland ecosystem. Rent a paddleboat from Dodge Park and cruise around the peaceful lake. With so many recreation options all in one place, Dodge Park is a fantastic spot for families to play.

6.Experience Exotic Butterflies at Fountain View of Sterling Heights

Name and Location: Fountain View of Sterling Heights is located within Dodge Park at 40200 North Utica Road in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

History and Significance: Opened in 2015, the 12,000 sq ft conservatory features a tropical landscape with over 1,000 exotic butterflies from around the world living freely among lush vegetation.

What to Expect: Visitors can observe and learn about diverse butterflies in their natural habitat and flowering plants. The site also hosts meetings, events and educational programs.

Visitor Information: Open hours vary by season. Nominal admission fees apply with discounts for seniors, students, and children.

Fountain View of Sterling Heights isn’t just a senior living community – it also houses an amazing indoor butterfly garden open to visitors of all ages! See hundreds of exotic butterflies from around the world flitting next to blooming tropical plants and flowers inside the glass-enclosed conservatory. Gaze at unique species you’d normally only see in a zoo like electric blue morpho butterflies and giant owl butterflies with eye-like patterns on their wings!

This tropical paradise located on Clinton River Road also has koi ponds, turtles, and finches. It’s a relaxing, educational, and breathtakingly beautiful experience for families to have together. Don’t forget your camera to capture incredible photos posing next to butterflies at Fountain View!

7.Roll Strikes at 5-Star Lanes Bowling Center

Name and Location: 5-Star Lanes bowling alley is located at 12755 19 Mile Road in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

History and Significance: Family owned and operated since 1998, the huge entertainment venue offers bowling, games, leagues, lessons, parties and fun for all skill levels and ages.

What to Expect: Patrons will find over 40 bowling lanes, billiards, arcade and carnival games, bumper cars, laser tag, escape rooms, lounge, full bar, and concession stand on site.

Visitor Information: Open bowling daily with varying hours. Rates start at $3 per game plus $3 shoe rental. Reservations advised for groups and events.

For family fun you can’t go wrong with bowling! At 5-Star Lanes Bowling Center on 18 Mile Road, families will have a blast rolling strikes and picking up spares on over 40 lanes. This huge bowling alley hosts kids’ birthday parties and cosmic glow-in-the-dark bowling nights with flashing lights and music! Their arcade area has air hockey, basketball games, hockey simulators, and racing games for more entertainment.

Need a break from bowling? Grab delicious American fare like burgers, wings, salads, and pizza at the Galaxy Restaurant inside 5-Star Lanes. With affordable rates for bowling games and shoe rentals, this Sterling Heights hot spot provides hours of rollicking fun at great value for families!

8.Learn Something New at SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

Name and Location: SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium is located inside Great Lakes Crossing Outlets at 4000 Baldwin Road in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

History and Significance: Part of Merlin Entertainments, SEA LIFE Aquariums operate globally to promote ocean education and conservation. The Michigan site opened in 2019 as their 3rd US aquarium.

What to Expect: Interactive exhibits showcase local Great Lakes animals plus sharks, jellyfish, octopi, seahorses and other marine species. Behind-the-scenes, feeding demonstrations, touch pools and more available.

Visitor Information: Open daily with varying hours by season. Ticket prices start at $19.99 for adults, less for kids under 12 and seniors. Annual passes offered.

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium provides an exciting opportunity for curious kids and adults to learn about magical marine life together. More than 5,000 sea creatures fill this aquarium located inside Great Lakes Crossing Outlets shopping mall. Come face-to-fin with sharks, sea turtles, stingrays, and more in interactive exhibits!

Gaze in wonder walking through acrylic tunnels surrounded by exotic fish, sharks, and sea turtles swimming overhead. Touch small sea stars and urchins inside discovery pools. Don’t miss scheduled shows and feedings with aquarium staff that are fun and informative for families! SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium entertains while teaching families about amazing underwater animals.

9.Play a Round of FootGolf

Name and Location: FootGolf holes are integrated along the Sterling Heights Golf Course at 42245 Ryan Road in Sterling Heights, MI.

History and Significance: Opened in 2017, it was the first FootGolf course in Macomb County combining soccer with golf using specialized rules and equipment on a shortened layout.

What to Expect: Players kick a soccer ball trying to get it into a 21-inch hole in as few shots as possible, following golf etiquette and scoring format over 9 or 18 holes.

Visitor Information: Tee times must be booked in advance online or by phone. Nominal fees apply for use which includes ball rental. Season passes available.

Trade golf clubs for soccer balls at Sterling Heights FootGolf Course! Located within Clinton River Park, this unique 18-hole course combines the rules of golf and soccer into one new, exciting sport. Kick your ball into extra-large holes along a picturesque course winding through the park and along the Clinton River banks. Score touchdowns by sinking your balls into the holes in as few shots as possible, just like in golf!

Designed for beginners, FootGolf is fun recreation the whole family can play regardless of soccer skills. Rent soccer balls at the clubhouse and purchase icy drinks or snacks inside too. With beautiful scenery and family-friendly rules, FootGolf is an awesome way to spend time together outdoors at Sterling Heights FootGolf Course!

10.Mini-Golf the Night Away at Monkey Joe’s

Name and Location: Monkey Joe’s is an indoor family fun center for kids located at 44705 Mound Rd in Sterling Heights, MI.

History and Significance: Open since 2016, Monkey Joe’s offers a huge space packed with safe, clean attractions including indoor mini golf for family entertainment.

What to Expect: An 18-hole mini golf course winds around large climbers and slides. Other offerings include bumper cars, arcade, laser tag, giant inflatables, toddler play zones, and more.

Visitor Information: Open daily with varying hours. Activity wristbands provide unlimited access. Packages and birthday parties available to book.

For glow-in-the-dark excitement, bring your family to swing into Monkey Joe’s fun center after dark! This indoor playground and party venue located on Hall Road features a dazzling glow mini golf course that lights up kids’ smiles. Neon lakes, fountains, and larger-than-life gorilla statues glow vibrantly, creating an unforgettable environment. Try to get hole-in-ones zigzagging around this creatively themed course!

When you’re finished mini-golfing, let kids burn off energy bouncing on trampolines, sliding down inflatables, and exploring multi-level jungle gyms. Pizza, chicken fingers, and arcade games are also available at Monkey Joe’s. With fluorescent fun around every corner, Monkey Joe’s delivers glowing entertainment for the whole family after dusk!

11.Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth at Cakabakery

Name and Location: Cakabakery is a specialty cake and cupcake bakery located at 34911 Van Dyke Ave in Sterling Heights, Michigan.

History and Significance: Established in 2012, owner Ura and her artistic mother hand-craft decadent designer cakes, cupcakes and other pastries with unique flavors and decorations.

What to Expect: Display cases tempt with sweet creations like their popular red velvet cups, while interior walls showcase some amazing custom cake designs. Pick up, order or enroll in decorating classes.

Visitor Information: Open Tuesday through Saturday. Call ahead larger orders. Cakes start around $30, cupcakes around $3 each. Cash or credit cards accepted.

No family trip to Sterling Heights is complete without a visit to Cakabakery for outrageously delicious sweets and pastries! Since 2002, this European-style bakery on Metro Parkway has been crafting heavenly cakes, cookies, cupcakes, gelato, and more baked delights. Choose from gourmet flavors like crème brûlée cheesecake, chocolate banana pecan tart, lemon meringue pie, and their signature “Bakaberry” sweet cake crammed with fresh berries.

The assortment of gorgeous, artisan-quality desserts on display will leave your family drooling uncontrollably! Don’t resist trying several items packed neatly into Cakabakery’s signature pink pastry boxes. Indulge your family’s sweet tooth fantastically at Sterling Heights’ premier bakery.

12.Shop ‘Til You Drop at Lakeside Mall

Name and Location: Lakeside Mall is a large shopping mall spanning over 1 million square feet located in Sterling Heights, MI.

History and Significance: Open since 1976, it is one of the largest malls in Michigan with over 125 stores, eateries and attractions welcoming 13 million shoppers annually.

What to Expect: Retailers offer apparel, shoes, accessories, electronics, beauty, fitness, groceries, entertainment and more. Property also contains a food court, movie theater, carousel and indoor play area.

Visitor Information: Open Monday through Saturday 10am – 9pm, Sunday 11am to 6pm. Extended holiday hours.

No family trip is complete without a little retail therapy! Lakeside Mall located on Hall Road is the ultimate shopping destination boasting over 125 stores and eateries to explore. Major department stores like JC Penney, Macy’s, and Von Maur anchor this mega mall spanning over 1 million square feet. Name brands like Abercrombie & Fitch, Pandora, and Yankee Candle also reside inside. Lakeside Mall has an indoor children’s carousel ride near the expansive food court too.

Browse candy stores like IT’SUGAR and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for sweet souvenirs. Kids can play in themall’s soft foam playground while parents relax on benches. Visit Lakeside Mall on a rainy day for the ultimate family shopping extravaganza under one roof!

Conclusion

Families visiting Sterling Heights will never run out of things to experience together in this action-packed Michigan city! From glow-in-the-dark mini golfing and indoor butterfly gardens to nature trails and massive shopping malls, Sterling Heights offers entertainment for kids, parents, and grandparents alike.

Zap Zone’s adventure park, Dodge Park’s playgrounds, and Clinton River Park’s kayaking are just some family-friendly attractions that will create special memories. Whenever visiting Metro Detroit with your family group, be sure to add these 12 awesome Sterling Heights activities to your must-do list!

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