Come one, come all! Be safe this fall!

Kids’ Free Fishing Day – June 17, 2023

Join us for Water Safety Day!

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum is proud to present Water Safety Day 2023; an event promoting being safe while enjoying the Greatest thing about the Great Lakes; Water! The Great Lakes can be dangerous, but by learning a little water safety, we can play in, on, and around water in a safer way! Let’s talk about safety in a fun – not scary – way so we can enjoy the Great Lakes together!

Join us for Water Safety Day May 20th, 2023 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm!

This event is FREE and open to the public! Water Safety Day will take place right outside the Great Lakes Children’s Museum, which will still be open for General Admission (we suggest a reservation if you want to play in the Museum). But stop by the fun on your way into the Museum to learn how to be safe on the water from these amazing partners:

Help us make a SPLASH at this first-annual water safety event at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum. In addition to all the fun you can always find at Discovery Pier and Elmwood Township Park like fishing, watching the tall ships, and playing at the beach, we will have several fun safety stations set up on the West side of M-22.

Lots to do!

You can learn about different types of lifejackets and how to wear them, run ‘sinking boat’ drills, attend a beach safety class with America’s Boating Club, take the PFD Quiz to get a FREE LIFEJACKET donated by Long Lake Marina, learn about swim safety and CPR with the Red Cross, see the Elmwood Fire Department Rescue Boat and Ambulance up close*, and learn about more ways to stay safe in, on, and around the water!

America’s Boating Club will demonstrate why water safety is so important: we are surrounded by water and drowning is a leading cause of death of children. But we can play safely in the water! We will learn:

  • How to wear a lifejacket—Linda Lifejacket will show you all the features of hers.
  • What is the difference between a toy and a lifejacket.
  • What your child looks like when in trouble in the water—and what they look like when wearing a lifejacket.
  • What the animals teach us about water safety; turtles, birds, sea otter.
  • Why you should always wear a lifejacket on a boat; four good reasons.
  • We will have the kids do a “sinking boat” drill to learn the importance of knowing where lifejackets are and how to put them on.
  • We will set up and conduct the Boating Quiz. When the kids complete the quiz they will get a new free lifejacket courtesy of Long Lake Marine.
  • We will show parents how to be “WATER WATCHERS” and how to throw ring buoys and help someone in trouble in the water.

At about 11:30 am, watch the Coast Guard run a recovery drill* where they will drop a rescue diver in the water at Elmwood Beach and recover the diver before they fly on home! Make sure to get there before 11:30 to see the Helicopter rescue drill!


*Barring any emergencies that require the attention of our Emergency Services.

You don’t need an RSVP, Ticket, or Special Invitation to attend! Everyone is welcome to join us for Water Safety Day!

Arts in Action with Mike Sincic – May 6th!

Calling all parents, grandparents, nannies and caregivers! 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, May 6th from 9:30 to 11:30am, and 12:00 to 2:00pm.
This workshop is a no pressure, drop-in format, and is included FREE for members, or with the cost of admission for guests!
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 the art of collage- 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.
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.
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!!

Join us for EGG-stravaganza!

Join us for EGG-stravaganza, a exploration of egg science and art! Friday, April 7th during all three sessions we will be exploring and learning about eggs at our special drop-in program.


How does a whole baby chick fit inside that tiny little egg?  How can you tell the difference between a hardboiled egg and a raw egg without cracking into the shell? Visit our hands on science stations and see for yourself.  Find out how to dye an egg shell with colors that swirl!  Make an egg craft to take home.

Tickets are included in the price of admission; this program is an added experience that any Museum guest can drop into and out of during their time at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum.

Sign Up Here! Volunteer for this Event

Spring Break Astronaut Training is back!

Calling all future astronauts!

Do you dream of one day walking on the surface of the Moon or setting off on an adventure to Mars? Do you think that working on the International Space Station would be exciting? Join us at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum during Spring Break for a week of Spring Astronaut Training. It just might be your “cup of tea”.  Speaking of tea: Find out how an astronaut would drink tea (or any other liquid) in space!

This is a FREE program included with tickets to any session (Morning, Noon, or Afternoon) happening during Spring Break Week (March 27th -31st). Just pick up your tickets on our Reservation Page to save your spot! (Tickets go on sale 1-week in advance)

With fun, hands on activities you will do experiments, solve problems, explore space . . . . . . and even eat a snack like an astronaut!

Children will visit each astronaut training station and earn a sticker for each activity completed.

Experiment Stations: 

Static Electricity

Surface Tension


Problem Solving Stations:

Reconnect The Power Supply

Design, Build, Test  (a space vehicle)


Explore Space:

Space Guess Quest game


Early Learners Station:

Moon Adventure blocks

Lunar Landscape ( Sensory exploration)


Obstacle Course Station:

Human Hamster Wheel



Most resources have been provided by The National Informal STEM Education Network.


Volunteer Opportunity!

If you’d like to volunteer to help out at GLCM, follow the link below. You can sign up to help at a time that works for you – we’ll train you on what to do! Contact the Impact Manager at or 231-674-5352 with any questions.

Click here to view volunteer opportunities!


Join us for a Pi Day Celebration March 14th!

Join us for a ‘Rad’ time this Pi day, March 14th. All three sessions will feature a Round of activities related to geometry, math, and pie! Everyone attending will get a free book “All for Pie, and Pie for All” provided by Great Start for Quality. 

Each session will be jam packed with circle games, crafts, activities and a story . . . . And, most importantly, a free piece of pie. Sarah Lee is donating apple and cherry pie so you can celebrate Pi Day the delicious way.

(Real Pie, not just Pi)  

All activities are included with admission to the museum.   The story, “All for Pie, And Pie For All” will begin one hour after the beginning of each session. 



At the end of the day you’ll be able to say with confidence whether pies are round or if π=r2

Reserve Tickets Volunteer for this event!

Great Lakes Children’s Museum to host a STEAM/Makers Alliance Mini-Makers Pop-Up event

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum is excited to host a STEAM/Makers Alliance Mini-Makers Pop-Up event on Friday, February 24th from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. Capacity is limited so reservations are strongly encouraged.

This is a free event put on by the STEAM/Makers Alliance of Northwest Michigan. It is hosted by the Great Lakes Children’s Museum and presented in concert with Newton’s Road, the Traverse Area District Library – Youth Services, 4H, Challenge Island, Arts for All, the GT Butterfly House and Bug Zoo, Inland Seas Education Association, and the Grand Traverse Conservation District.

Attendees at this February’s Mini-Makers event will be able to have all the usual fun the Museum offers, plus activities from the Steam/Makers Alliance Members listed above. Multiple age groups are welcome at this event; the Museum itself is best for younger kids but older kids will find lots to do at the stations placed throughout the Museum this evening!

The STEAM/Makers Alliance of Northwest Michigan is a group of educators and organizations that teach Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math, and Making things. They meet regularly throughout the year to improve educational access in the region and collaborate to create amazing events. If you enjoy this event, or if you can’t make it this time, come see us at the TADL Makerfest on April 29th at the Civic Center. That is the big, crazy, outdoor version of this smaller, wacky, indoor mini-event.

Participants at this event can design a roller coaster, program a robot, animate a flipbook, learn about birds and their beaks, and lots more!

Reserve your FREE tickets here!



Artist Jamie John returns to GLCM to teach us winter storytelling!

Jamie John, who installed our first art piece in the I SEE YOU exhibit is back for an encore! Jamie is a native artist who works to highlight the struggle of native and marginalized people through art. Read more about Jamie and their work here!

The program on Saturday, February 4th will take a lighter tone; focusing on the practice of storytelling. Around the world but especially in the Anishnaabe community, winter is a time for storytelling. Stories can be told aloud, written in books, or drawn on a canvas or hide. Jamie has offered to share some of their stories and teach some of the storytelling ways to us this winter.

Learn about the trickster Nanabozho, and the Northern Lights, and maybe even create a story of your own to record.

This program is open to everyone attending the Museum on Saturday, February 4th and is free with admission to the Museum galleries. Tickets for the two sessions (9:30 – 11:30 AM & 12:00 – 2:00 PM) are on sale here!

This program is part of the Arts in Action series which is supported in part by funds provided by the Michigan Arts & Culture Council (MACC) and the National Endowment for the Arts, and GLCM is so grateful for the help.

Leelanau Pottery Company offering classes at the Museum!

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum is partnering with Stephanie Starner, owner of the Leelanau Pottery Company to offer classes at the Museum this winter! Participants will learn how to glaze a pair of heart-shaped plates by blowing bubbles, and will be able to pick up the fired pottery the next week. 

Those that sign up for Stephanie’s class will get into the Museum free of charge and can stay throughout the session (12:00 – 2:00pm) when their pottery is done. From the event description:

‘Join me at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum and learn how to blow bubbles with glaze. You’ll learn my signature bubble glaze technique and apply it to your own set of two, handmade, heart shaped appetizer size plates. This is a fun quick class which will allow you to create lasting, sentimental memories by capturing your child/ families breath as bubbles! A special idea might be to bring a grandparent for a special, lasting memory. Each plate will be food grade and dishwasher and microwave safe.

*Each plate will be fired in my kiln once more and available for pickup in one week.’

“The cool part is as you are breathe, creating your own bubbles or like if you bring your grandkids if you’re a grandparent, it’s their breath creating the bubbles on the [plates], which if you get sentimental about it, which I do, I think is darling and amazing. So if you take that route, it’s really special,” said Starner.



You and your little one can make your own bubbles on Stephanie’s designs! You’ll select 4 of her handmade pottery ornaments (Michigan, mermaid tails, anchors, sea turtles, dog bones and more are available to select from) and then we’ll blow bubbles- or as Stephanie calls it, bubble glaze the ornaments!
Your creations will be ready to ship or pick up in a week. Your child’s breath, shown as bubbles is a special gift to a loved one! This class is great parent child event, for up to two people to participate on one ticket! So bring the kids or just your kid at heart self and enjoy a complimentary pass to the children’s museum after the class session.
Those that sign up for this class will also have complimentary access to the Museum and can stay and play throughout the session (12:00 – 2:00pm) after their pottery creations are finished. Classes are appropriate for children aged 2-8 and their adults.