2023 Festival of Trains

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum is now a Certified Autism Center!

Great Lakes Children’s Museum Becomes Autism Certified, Joins City-Wide Initiative to Enhance Inclusivity

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. – The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES) awards the Great Lakes Children’s Museum (GLCM) with the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) designation. This credential recognizes an organization’s dedication to fostering an environment where all guests feel welcome, including autistic and sensory-sensitive individuals and their families. Great Lakes Children’s Museum’s certification plays a part in a larger initiative to help Traverse City become a Certified Autism Destination™ (CAD), which is awarded to cities that offer a variety of trained and certified recreation, entertainment and lodging options.


“The Great Lakes Children’s Museum is proud to announce our certification through IBCCES as a Certified Autism Center™. We worked with the City of Traverse City to secure a scholarship for the GLCM staff to attend online classes through IBCCES. The Great Lakes Children’s Museum strives to create an environment where all visitors can be successful,” said Tom Maynard, GLCM impact manager. “Although the museum has always been welcoming to different learning styles, this training and certification allows us to offer more support and services than ever before. We are excited to expand our offerings to be even more inclusive of those with Autism Spectrum Disorder and diverse learning abilities. We are proud to contribute to Traverse City’s overall certification goal to become a Certified Autism Destination.”

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum offers numerous resources for families to utilize during their visit. Wheelchairs, earmuffs and weighted vests are available for guests to check out upon arrival. Neurodiversity resource packs can be obtained at the front desk for guests to use during their time at the museum. Great Lakes Children’s Museum also offers special assistance during programs for guests who may have additional needs.

“We welcome the Great Lakes Children’s Museum to the growing list of CACs, and we’re excited to partner with them in this endeavor,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES board chairman. “This certification is a step closer to helping Traverse City become a Certified Autism Destination™, increasing accessibility and inclusion for all visitors.”


For more than 20 years, IBCCES has been a leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education, and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES programs include evidence-based content as well as the perspectives of autistic individuals, alongside other resources, ongoing support, and renewal requirements to ensure there is continued learning and a lasting impact.

IBCCES also manages AutismTravel.com, a free online resource for families that lists certified destinations and resources to plan their leisure experiences. Each destination listed on the site has met the Certified Autism Center (CAC) requirements.



Delivering The Global Standard for Training and Certification in The Field of Cognitive Disorders – IBCCES provides a series of certifications that empower professionals to be leaders in their field and improve the outcomes for the individuals they serve. These programs are recognized around the world as the leading benchmark for training and certification in the areas of autism and other cognitive disorders.




Meredith Tekin, President

Phone: 904.508.0135 // 904.434.1534

Email: meredith@ibcces.org


Great Lakes Children’s Museum

Tom Maynard, Impact Manager

Phone: 231.932.4526 // 231.674.5352

Email: impact@glcm.org

GLCM is starting a new Gallery Schedule!

Kids of all ages will get the chance to play all day once again!

(Also See: New Reservation + Birthday Booking + Sales Software at GLCM!)

Why is there so little availability for tickets? Why can’t I buy a ticket for this weekend? Why can’t I book a birthday party for next month?

If you’ve been at the Children’s Museum in the last 3 years and had to stop playing because your session ended – we have good news! We are getting rid of museum sessions and going back to daily admissions! That means that when you purchase a ticket to play in the Museum Galleries, you can stay and play until we close at the end of the day. You’ll be able to make a reservation WEEKS in advance and arrive late without worrying about play time.

BUT there’s a trade off; without sessions to close off, guests will have to share the galleries with Field Trips and Birthday Parties. Whereas any group could reserve the Museum for Exclusive Use and have the place to themselves, now groups who book a field trip or birthday party will get the Great Lakes Room all to themselves – but will share the galleries with the general public.

If you wanted a birthday party with the whole Museum to yourself that’s still an option – but you have to book it for an evening when the Galleries are closed to the public.



Gingerbread House Fun-Raiser

Bubble Paint an Ornament with Leelanau Pottery Company

Hunting for a personalized gift for your little one to give to a parent, grandparent or loved one? Or just looking for a relaxing way to spend the afternoon with your family? We’ve got you covered with a holiday program that does both!

On Wednesday, December 13 from 12pm-2pm, Stephanie Starner, owner of Leelanau Pottery Company, is teaching a pottery class at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum. An accomplished local artist and mother of two, Stephanie has a knack for introducing the medium of pottery to artists of all ages.

This month’s class centers around two things that children love: the holidays and bubbles! In this activity, children will begin by choosing a pre-fired ornament shape and a paint color before blowing bubbles in the paint to create a unique pattern. The result is a delightful keepsake, perfect for gifting to friends and loved ones. As a bonus, participants will be able to play in the Museum while their creation dries; each ticket for the class comes with free admission to the Children’s Museum!

Although we love to have guests “pop in” to play at the Museum, advanced registration for this specific event is required. Tickets can be purchased here through Leelanau Pottery Company. Registration to play in the Museum Galleries from 12-2pm is included with your ticket from Leelanau Pottery.

Register today so that you can join us Wednesday, December 13 from 12pm-2pm for a festive afternoon of pottery and play time! 

Boo Art Fest Returns on October 31- with a twist!

Arts in Action with Mike Sincic RETURNS Saturday, October 21!

Looking for a unique creative experience for your family this Saturday? Good news: Arts in Action is BACK in the Great Lakes Children’s Museum! Please join us with your children for a fun, INTERACTIVE experience on Saturday, October 21 from 9:30 to 11:30am.

GLCM partners with local artists representing interesting mediums of creative expression in Northwest Michigan to present hands-on arts and culture workshops designed for children 2-8. Our next Arts In Action workshop will feature leaf rubbings and tree paintings- with Mr. Michael Sincic!

Although Michael lost his sight two decades ago due to a brain tumor, he has made a name for himself in Northern Michigan as a popular local artist.

A watercolor by Michael Sincic.

Join us Saturday for his special interactive workshop, where he will help your little one create a work of art in a different way than they may be used to- one that requires sharpening their sensory abilities, without using their eyes.
This workshop is a no pressure, drop-in format, and is included FREE for members, or with the cost of admission for guests! Please note that we will be closed to the public for exclusive use rentals during the noon and afternoon sessions on this day, meaning tickets for the morning session will be in higher demand. We highly recommend that those who wish to participate make reservations ahead of time.

Don’t miss this awesome, interactive workshop for children- but FUN for the whole family!
These hands-on, skills-building activities are supported in part by generous grants from the Michigan Arts and Culture Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. THANK YOU MACC and NEA!!

New Reservation + Birthday Booking + Sales Software at GLCM!

GLCM is making the switch to a new admissions, sales, and membership software called DoubleKnot on Tuesday, October 3rd!

At the Museum, we use one software for our admissions, another for our reservations, a different system for memberships, and one more for field trips. We are excited to switch to an all-in-one system that will allow visitors to the Museum to make reservations, track and renew their membership, book a field trip, make a birthday party reservation, and more. This system will make everything at the Museum run much smoother, but just like with any major change there could be some bumps in the road. Please bear with us if we experience technical difficulties – especially the first week of October. 

After October 3rd, when you’re browsing the GLCM website and click to buy a membership, make a donation, make a reservation, book a field trip, reserve a birthday party, buy an event ticket, or look at the event schedule you’ll be directed to www.doubleknot.glcm.org which is branded to look like the Children’s Museum’s website.

Here’s how to get your login ID with our new system!

If you experience issues with our online system, please let us know! Whether it’s a broken link or a comma out of place, we want to know about issues so that we can fix them!

Report an Issue or Inconvenience

Click here to let us know about a problem with the website, reservation system, birthday booking, online donations, memberships, etc.