Greet The Newest Team Members

Don’t be surprised if there are new faces at the Museum on your next visit.  In June, we made the decision to stay open seven days per week. About that time Miranda Harrison received once-in-a-lifetime news. Miranda was offered a job teaching students in South Korea and will be leaving mid-July.

Stepping in as our newest Guest Services Assistants are Kaela Bristol and Marissa Fender. Kaela comes from a retail and customer service background and has her Associates Degree from Northwest MI College with a Major in History and Minor in Art. Marissa also has a retail and customer service background. After completing TC Central High School she attended the MI Career & Technical Institute graduating from their Retail Marketing Program.

Kaela and Marissa will start their training next week. We look forward to watching them grow into their new positions. We also value the new energy they bring to the Museum family!

Facilitated Programs & Thursday Visits Coming Up

Beginning June 2 guests will be able to visit the Museum on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays in addition to our “new normal” schedule. As of June 16, the Museum will offer morning, noon and afternoon sessions Tuesday through Saturday, and noon and afternoon sessions on Sundays & Mondays. Morning sessions start at 9:30 am and end at 11:30 am. Noon sessions begin at 12:00 pm and end at 2:00 pm. Afternoon sessions begin at 2:30 pm and end at 4:30 pm. Capacity will be increased from 20 guests per session to 35 guests per session. Reservations are STRONGLY encouraged but walk-ins are welcome if there is space available.

As we move toward a newer sense of normal, we are also returning to facilitated programs. Thursdays will feature the Kids Craft Lab. Fridays will offer our new and improved Storytime Adventure series. Participation will be limited to a maximum of 8 children at a time and children will be able to choose between two groups per session. There will be a $1 charge to cover the cost of materials. As of Thursday, there will be two new entries in the reservation system to allow guests to choose either the Group A or Group B program during their admission session. Guests can also sign up to participate in either program Group during their visit if space is available. Kids Craft Lab materials will also be available in the Power of Play store for those who would rather take the experience home.

With the increase in Covid-19 vaccinations, people may  be wondering whether the Museum is requiring fully vaccinated people to wear masks or not during their Museum visit. It’s not a simple question. Given that half of our guest population cannot be vaccinated currently, and given that it’s still possible to transmit Covid-19 to unvaccinated people, we’re asking those who are vaccinated to wear masks inside the Museum.  We’re still following the social distancing guidelines, sanitizing all the little parts and pieces guests use to engage with the exhibits, and still requiring reservations. Most likely we will be continuing all of those things into 2022.

Under the Governor’s latest guidelines we are allowed to have as many as 140 guests inside the Museum at the same time. Again, approaching this from the conservative side and considering the vulnerability of our youngest guests, we will continue to limit capacity well below the allowed amount through into 2022.

Guests should expect the following during check-in

  1. When walking into the front door, there is a non-touch hand-sanitizer dispenser. Please use it!
  2. The staff will ask your last name. If you didn’t make a reservation, we’ll have you step to the side and get your name and a phone number for contact tracing and we’ll ask you to verify whether you’ve had Covid-19 symptoms in the last 72 hours and whether you’ve been required to quarantine or been around people who have in the last 14 days.  If you made a reservation, we’ll verify your phone number and ask you to verify that your Covid-19 and quarantine answers haven’t changed since you reserved.
  3. If you have coats or belongings you’d rather not carry with you in the Museum, we’ll point out the coat room and hand-washing station in the Great Lakes Room.
  4. We’ll explain social distancing in the Museum.
  5. We’ll point out the multiple hand-sanitizer stations in the Museum and encourage you to use them.
  6. We’ll tell you how to approach the learning experience in the Museum under Covid-19 and explain our check-in/out and sanitization system.
  7. We’ll show you where the bathrooms are and…
  8. We’ll encourage you to explore, have fun and make the Museum yours.


Cherry Ball Drop Contest for Charity!

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum is teaming up with the CherryT Ball Drop to create a ‘design your own New Year’s Cherry Ball’ contest. Money raised through contest voting will go to Goodwill Northern Michigan’s Food Rescue, helping families right here in Northwest Lower Michigan. Here’s how the contest works:

1. Participants pick up a countdown kit at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum by 5pm December 30th

2. Kids decorate their ball and snap a photo. They can decorate it however they want.

3. Starting January 1st, community members donate to vote for their favorite cherry ball!

The ball with the most money donated wins! The prize is $25 to spend in the Children’s Museum’s Power of Play Store. But since all the money raised goes to helping families in need, we all win!

Click to view the Cherry Ball Drop Website!

About Food Rescue of Northwest Michigan

Food Rescue rescues, harvests, repacks, and distributes nearly 2 million pounds of food into the emergency food system every year. That’s enough food to make 1.6 million meals, delivered to a five-county region twice the size of Rhode Island. We work with the 70 food pantries and community meal sites of the Northwest Food Coalition, and with over 150 grocery stores, bakeries, farms, food processors and restaurants who donate food, to do the logistics to put good food to good use in service of neighbors in need in Northern Michigan. Food Rescue is a program of Goodwill Northern Michigan. Find out more:

Click to view the Goodwill Food Rescue Webpage!

And…. we’re back to “normal”

Yesterday we told everyone our main phone was out and we posted an alternate number.

The GOOD news is everything seems to be straightened out and we’re back to our old number (231 932-4526).  For the time being if you call either the new number released yesterday or our normal main number, you’ll be able to connect.

Whew! Only in 2020!


Memberships Reactivate Starting October 15

When the Great Lakes Children’s Museum shut down on March 16, 2020, the public lost access to the facility. That also left close to 600 member families who had paid for a year of free Museum access uncertain about what would happen to their membership. Would the Museum allow memberships to expire?

No worries! GLCM’s strategic value of integrity guides us to always do the right thing, even when it is hard. In this case, in March, staff decided the right thing was to suspend membership expirations for as long as it would take to reopen the Museum. Obviously, no one could foresee it was going to be seven months – almost to the day. We are excited to announce that with the Museum scheduled to reopen for general admission on October 14, all memberships will officially resume!

What exactly does that mean? For a person whose membership was set to expire on March 15, 2020  (the day before we closed)- your membership is expired. For a person whose membership was set to expire on March 16, 2020 (the day we closed), your membership has been active since the shutdown but it will expire on October 14, 2020 (the day the Museum reopens). If your membership expiration was on May 1, 2020 (44 days after we closed), your new expiration has been moved to November 19, 2020 (approximately 44 days after the Museum reopens). There are folks whose memberships were purchased the day prior to the closing – those memberships are now valid into October of 2021. Membership renewal reminders have resumed as of October. Members with expiration dates between October 15 and October 30 may have already seen their renewal reminders via mail.

Under the current Covid-19 operational protocols our capacity is limited to 25% of normal (or 72 people). Even though in a “typical year” GLCM isn’t likely to see 72 people coming into the Museum all on the same day in the Fall, members will need to reserve their spots in advance so we can make sure we stay under that capacity number. When registering, you will input how many member adults and children will be attending on your visit. Staff will check the membership expiration date on check-in and if the membership has expired, will let you know. You’ll be able to renew if you like, or convert your admission to the non-member rate for that day. If you’re curious about your current adjusted expiration date, please email for a quick answer.

Prior to the pandemic, membership dollars represented an important 10% of the funds used to make learning-through-play available to the community. With admissions numbers sinking nationally to approximately 10% to 15% of “normal,” membership dollars will be critical in keeping the facility, the mobile museum outreach, and the new weekly virtual program offerings going. Please, if it is within your financial capacity, consider just how important your membership dollars are to keeping the Great Lakes Children’s Museum in our community- especially now.

Thank you for being part of the Museum family. We hope to see you back soon!

great lakes children's museum

Award-winning children’s book author donates book proceeds to GLCM!

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum is partnering with award-winning children’s book author Maggie van Galen to raise funds for the Museum’s reopening. Beginning October 1, 2020 and running six months through April 1, 2021, Maggie has generously offered to donate 20% of all proceeds of “The Adventures of Keeno and Ernest” children’s book series purchased through her website here:

Maggie grew up in Northern Michigan and supports the need for indoor, hands-on, non process-based Learning Through Play in our region. She is excited to give back to the Museum, and we are grateful for her support and investment. Thank you, Maggie!


Resources for Families with Kids at Home

Great Lakes Children's Museum presents Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math for increased interaction between children and their adults kids play

Hello everyone! Although Great Lakes Children’s Museum is physically closed, our mission is more critical than ever. Under Covid-19, we are promoting virtual activities, the GLCM STREAM YouTube Channel, and a Mobile Museum to continue focus on our mission. We have also provided a list of family friendly resources below.

You can contribute to the list by emailing any helpful links to

Thank you for your support!

From the Great Lakes Children’s Museum

Discover With Me

If you frequent the Museum on Friday mornings, you might already know that Anne hosts Discover With Me – a program designed with toddler development in mind. Use the links below to explore child development and some activities you can do to grow young brains at home.

Discover With Me: Sharpening Visual Perception

Community Resources

Make your own kazoo and sing along!

Miss Christy is back! Music Together of Traverse City is now online!

Going on a (Teddy) Bear Hunt around Traverse City and MORE bear-y interesting fun!

From our friends at Great Start Collaborative of Traverse Bay-

-and keep an eye out for 5ToONE Virtual Playgroups on Tuesday’s from 10:00 – 10:30 am on the GLCM Facebook page!

Newton’s Road Searchable STEM Activity Database

Newton’s Road: Constantly updated events from our partner Newton’s Road. Now featuring ‘Corona-Compatable’ activity search!

SEEDS Activities:  Fun Things to do OutsideOutside Journal | Journaling Outdoors

SEEDS: Simple activities to help kids explore the environment in their own back yard or nearby green-space.

Draw NoMI doodle sessions with the Dennos Museum

A series of ho-to-draw demos that are fun for the whole family.

From Around the Web

Children’s Museums at Home – from the Association of Children’s Museums

Links to a collection of Children’s Museums across the world providing FUN content!

A Resource Guide to COVID-19 and Early Childhood Development from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

Virtual Spring Break Camp

From Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and Leslie Science and Nature Center

Learning Resources

Learning Resources from Boston Children’s Museum

Quick and Easy SCIENCE Experiments 

Turn a cool science experiment into a STEAM learning activity with some thoughtful questions for some family fun at home!

MTU Mind Trekkers Activities

Hundreds of STEM activities with materials lists, safety alerts, instruction, background, and resources. Search by “Try this at Home”.

Helping Kids Through the Coronavirus Crisis

Zero to Thrive: Information from Dr. Katherine Rosenblum, C0-Director, Zero to Thrive

2 Weeks Worth of Fun and Easy Science Experiments

Milwaukee with Kids: To keep the learning going, try one of these science experiments each day. They each take about 30 minutes, and use super simple ingredients from around the house.

50 Fun Activities for Kids

Good Housekeeping: These fun activities for kids are easy, DIY, and can mostly be done with everyday items that you have around the house.

Live Action! Live Science!

Live Science: GREAT resource to keep children interested in learning while at home.

Boredom Busters!

Good Housekeeping: 50 Activities to enjoy!

8 of the Best Children’s Literature Podcasts

Read Brightly: Podcasts for kids on all types of topics!

“It’s Snot Funny” 

Children’s Museum Houston: A video to teach young children about infectious disease spread from the Children’s Museum Houston.

“Stuck at Home? 6 Ways to Keep Your Kids Healthy and Happy”

University of Michigan Children’s Health: productive ways to spend time together at home.

My Kid’s School is Closed, So Now What? 

Confident Parents Confident Kids: Supporting your child through the shutdown.

Challenge Island Junior – Saturday Animal Adventures!

kids activities traverse city

Hands-On STEAM games for kids of all ages!

Calling all creature-loving kids to Challenge Island’s® Animal Island™ adventure! You and your island tribe of friends will engineer your way through the Animal Kingdom exploring life in diverse habitats – from the great lakes to the oceans, from rainforests to deserts to ice and the pets that live in our homes. Overcome incredible challenges using only the materials in your treasure chest and the power of your imagination! A wildly exciting time awaits every boy and girl on Challenge Island’s® Animal Island™! Kids are grouped in teams (island tribes) by grade; K-1st / 2nd-3rd / 4th-5th.

In our unplugged programs, kids receive all 5 aspects of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) AND have opportunity to develop their soft skills (life skills) in Communication, Collaboration, Critical & Creative Thinking, Flexibility, Sociability, Initiative, Leadership, and Perseverance Through Difficulty. At Challenge Island, we are dedicated to ensuring a brighter future for our kids and our communities by helping you prepare your child to succeed in the 21st century.

At Challenge Island we believe that you are never too young to start imagining, creating and thinking big! Our Challenge Island Jr. programs scale down our regular challenges to a level just right for Pre-K and K.

  • Challenge Island introduces preschoolers to the wonders of science, the thrill of engineering and joy of creative thinking through hands-on S.T.E.A.M. experiences. Because our signature challenges are Child-Driven, they naturally adapt to each child and tribe’s developmental level.
  • Our proprietorial programming helps foster critical 21st century skills like communication, collaboration, problem solving, showing initiative, and public speaking in preschool age children.  We are dedicated to ensuring a brighter future for our kids and our communities by helping you prepare even the littlest students to succeed today and tomorrow.
  • Preschoolers thrill to our signature Island spirit.  The music, the whimsy, the journeys to fantastical islands are so exciting to them that they hardly notice all the meaty academic and life skills they are acquiring in the process.  Our littlest CI natives soak up all the sun and learning of the Challenge Island Experience.
  • Challenge Island can be offered as an in-class preschool experience or as an after-preschool extension opportunity.
  • Year-Round outsourced STEAM curriculum for preschools is available.

Select Saturdays through March! Learn more and sign up below:

Challenge Island Junior at GLCM!


Countdown to NOON and the NEW Millennium!

Traverse City Family Things To Do

It’s back, it’s back! The Great Lakes Children’s Museum will be offering a special New Year’s Eve celebration for children on December 31st- our most exciting and popular event!

Have little ones that don’t want to miss out on the FUN of New Year’s Eve- but just can’t wait until midnight?

Well it’s midnight somewhere in the world- so we say, let’s watch the ball drop at an hour when everyone is still awake! New Year’s Eve activities begin in the Great Lakes Room at 10:00 am, and children will begin decorating the ball, making noisemakers and hats, and beginning a special time capsule activity! Children will record the day through various measures and then create a time capsule to put everything in. They can take their time capsule home and open it next year- or in 10 years!


10:00- 11:45 am  Decorate the Ball
Noise Maker and Party Hats crafts
Time Capsule craft

12:00  Noon    Ball Drop! The countdown commences at 11:59am, but the fun doesn’t stop there- activities continue until 3:00 pm! It’s a full day of PLAY!

12:00- 3:00 pm     Noise Makers
Party Hats
Time Capsules
Kids New Year’s Party fun!


Volunteers and staff will be on hand to provide assistance. This event is free with paid Museum admission and is appropriate for children of all ages with adult supervision.

Come enjoy this family-favorite event to usher out 2019 and usher in 2020 in an energetic, child-friendly environment!

Museum admission  is $7.00 per person age 1 and up, and members are, of course, FREE! Come for the celebration and stay for the day! Memberships start as low as $75.00 per year and include unlimited admission to the Museum, as well as free access to special, member’s only events- get yours TODAY!

2020 Daddy-Daughter Sweetheart Dance!

The Great Lakes Children’s Museum presents a Daddy Daughter Sweetheart Dance on Friday, February 7th, 2020 to support the hands-on, play-based learning opportunities offered at the Museum. This year’s dazzling evening will be held from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Great Lakes Children’s Museum in Traverse City.


All girls of all ages and her father or father-figures are invited!


Please come out for a few hours of laughter, twirling and FUN!

You can register by clicking HERE!


Each Daddy and Daughter will receive a professional, commemorative photograph from the event, so be sure to dress to impress! Oh- and of course- tiaras are encouraged!


Pizza, snacks and punch will be provided.


In between your time on the dance floor, daughters can visit the art station to create a beautiful, one of a kind frame for their keepsake photograph! 


The atmosphere, family connection and community fellowship are all going to be MAGICAL- and it’s all for a great, local cause.
Proceeds from this special event will help support the long term, strategic vision of the Great Lakes Children’s Museum- and allow it to continue to provide the free and discounted admissions given to some of our community members who need it most -our military, at-risk and lower income families.


Purchasing tickets to the event in advance is appreciated. Tickets are $50 per Daddy and Daughter pair online, and can also be purchased at the door. Each additional daughter is $10.


Sponsorship opportunities to support the event vary, and are welcomed!  For more information, call the Great Lakes Children’s Museum at 231.932.4526 or email