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Ann Arbor Top of the Park Kids Guide

Top of the Park Kids Guide

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Our Top of the Park Kids Guide has information on all of the great family-friendly activities happening as part of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival.

They plan a return to a more normal Top of the Park in 2022. Top of the Park 2022 is scheduled to start on June 10, 2022. Movies were announced April 14 with KidZone Tents and Retreats announced on April 28. More announcements are to come in the following weeks.


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What is Top of the Park?

Top of the Park is the free outdoor component of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. Top of the Park includes numerous live concerts each evening and movies on Sundays-Thursdays (closed Monday). Each night there is a KidZone tent with activities for kids. There are also food tents for dinner or snacks.

This Top of the Park Kids Guide lists all of the great family friendly activities happening at Top of the Park. Top of the Park is scheduled to start on Friday, June 10, 2022 It is typically held every night except for Mondays.

After more than 15 years in Ann Arbor, I am almost guaranteed to run into someone I know at Top of the Park.

Where is Top of the Park?

Top of the Park is held on Ingalls Mall on the University of Michigan campus. The large stage and movies are shown in front of the Rackham Graduate School Building on Washington Street. Washington Street is closed between Fletcher and Thayer for the duration of the festival. There are some folding chairs available in front of the stage/screen, but most guests bring blankets or their own chairs and sit in the grass on Ingalls Mall. There is also a smaller Grove Stage nestled in the trees on the west side of the Ingalls Mall.

New for 2022 is a large tent with additional seating in the center area of Ingalls Mall. This tent also had several cornhole boards setup.

Top of the Park Kids Guide - Main Tent

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Top of the Park KidZone Tent

Each night of Top of the Park, a local organization hosts activities in the KidZone Tent. The KidZone tent is typically open from 5-8p. The KidZone tent is located in the center of Ingalls Mall on the north side of the fountain. It faces away from the main stage which will make it a bit quieter area for kids who need a break from the stimulation of the music.

Top of the Park Kids Guide - Kidzone Tent

One of my daughter’s favorite KidZone hosts has been the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. Whether it was trying out the strings at age 3. or the brass instruments at 12.

The Symphony is back for 2022, but with My Song instead of an Instrument Petting Zoo.

KidZone Tent Schedule

🎪 June 10 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - Summers-Knoll Where Ideation Takes Flight
🎪 June 11 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - A2Zero - Kids Go Zero Waste
🎪 June 12 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - CS Mott Children's Hospital Band-aid & Medical Material Crafts
🎪 June 14 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - Room 1078 Chamber Storytelling
🎪 June 15 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - Face Painting Bubbles, & Balloon Animals
🎪 June 16 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - Stone School Stick Puppets, Masks & Cherry Craft
🎪 June 17 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - UM Women of Color Task Force & Ann Arbor NAACP and History of Cake Walk
🎪 June 18 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - OSUM Exploring Light Properties
🎪 June 19 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - Clonlara School - From Ann Arbor to the World
🎪 June 21 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - A2SO My Song
🎪 June 22 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - FASCA Origami, Calligraphy, Paper Cutting, & Paper Puppets
🎪 June 23 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - Annie's Children's Center - Sun Catchers Craft
🎪 June 24 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - Jottful Wind Chimes Craft
🎪 June 25 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - Drag Queen Storytime with Jadein Black
🎪 June 26 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - Booksweet - Black Men Reading Room
🎪 June 28 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - Domino's Petting Farm - Animal Masks
🎪 June 29 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - Karate Class with Keith Hafner
🎪 June 30 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - UM Office of Sustainability - Recycling Game
🎪 July 1 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - Discover the World of STEM with AAHOM & LSNC
🎪 July 2 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - The Chelsea Treehouse - The Best Party Crafts
🎪 July 3 – Top of the Park Kids Zone - Kidopolis Creative Play


David Zinn & Sidewalk Chalk at Top of the Park

David Zinn, Ann Arbor’s premier chalk artist, will be decorating the sidewalks at Top of the Park several nights.

Sunday, June 12 is Sidewalk Chalk Day (rain date is Tuesday, June 14). Come join in chalking the sidewalks of Top of the Park.

Or, visit on select nights to see David Zinn’s creations take shape. He’ll be out working on June 10, 16, 29, and July 3.

Top of the Park Spectacles

I love visiting for Top of the Park Spectacles. These are shows that happen right in the middle of the fun. There are two spectacles this year.

Circus

Circus on June 14 and 15 will feature Jonathan Rinny at 4:45 each night balancing on stacked cylinders with skateboards and Bobby Cookson at 6:45p performing Simple a 15 minute circus arts performance with a simple wheel and three juggling clubs.

Canopy by Pneuhaus and Bike Powered Events

Canopy’s a grove of illuminated tree-like structures sill be at Top of the Park from Tuesday, June 21 through Saturday, June 25. The trees are illuminated and expanded as participants power them with bike-driven generators.



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Top of the Park Retreat

Top of the Park kicks off each night with a wellness/fitness activity like yoga, martial arts, and more. While Retreat is not a kid-centric program, they are welcome to join in. Retreat activities happen on the Power Center Lawn at 5p. Activities are:

  • June 10 – Argentine Tango with Matthew Keating
  • June 11 – Ita Yoag Studio – Ashtanga Short Form
  • June 12 – Marty Betts – All Levels Vinyasa
  • June 14 – AACFM – Introduction to Mindfulness
  • June 15 – Fit2Live – Crossfit
  • June 16 – The Barre Code – Full Body Workout
  • June 17 – Wu’s Tai Chi Chuan Academy – Wu Style Tai Chi
  • June 18 – 3N1 Fitness Revolution – Hybrid HIIT Class
  • June 19 – Nia Soulful Movement
  • June 21 – Garba360 – Garba Lesson
  • June 22 – Zumba Fitness with Carol Chan-Gorening & Sheila May (note listed as 2 different events)
  • June 23 – Swing Dance with Louise Tamres
  • June 24 – Jazzercise Saline Come Dancing
  • June 25 – World Dance Workout
  • June 26 – Miraya Fit – Bombay Jam with Mukta
  • June 28 – Saline ATA Martial Arts – Z-Fusion Kickboxing
  • June 29 – Acroyoga with Jim Gilligan
  • June 30 – Zumba Fitness with Sheila May
  • July 1 – SPENGA Ann Arbor
  • July 2 – Ita Yoga Studio – Ashtanga Short Form
  • July 3 – Marty Betts – All Levels Vinyasa

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Top of the Park Performances

The big draw of Top of the Park is the nightly musical performances. There are two stages setup at Top of the Park. The larger stage is in front of Rackham and is the main stage for Top of the Park. The Acoustic Stage is setup in the Grove near the Bell Tower. Music typically starts at 5p on the Acoustic Stage and at 7p on the Rackham Stage.

Ann Arbor Summer Festival - Top of the Park - Rackham Stage
Ann Arbor Summer Festival © Myra Klarman Photography.com

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Top of the Park Movies

Top of the Park Movies take place on Tuesday-Thursday and Sunday nights during Top of the Park. They start at 10p – yes, that is the correct time, it is about the time it gets dark. The movies are a lot of fun and there are some great movie options this year. Check out the 2022 Movie Lineup and get all your questions about Top of the Park Movies answered.

Top of the Park Movie Lineup for 2022

Events from our Sponsors


Culinary Row – Top of the Park Food

Culinary Row is part of many of our visits to Top the Park. It has food booths and food trucks offering everything from drinks to dinner to dessert mostly from local vendors. The Culinary Row vendors help to support Top of the Park. Attendees are encouraged to support the vendors instead of bringing their own food.

Top of the Park Kids Guide - Culinary Row

This year, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival website does not list the Culinary Row Vendors. We finally made it to Top of the Park on June 16 to check out the vendors for ourselves. The food vendors that night were:

  • Ray’s Red Hots
  • Joe’s Pizza
  • Hutkay Fusion
  • Chela’s
  • Michigan Creamery
  • Oasis Mediterranean Grill
  • Sweetwaters
  • Sugar Shack
  • Beverages

There was an empty booth between Hutkay Fusion and Chela’s. I don’t know if another vendor is there some nights. Alcoholic beverages are served in the beer garden to the left when looking at the stage under the trees. Kids are allowed in the beer garden.

There are picnic tables across from the culinary row vendors and tables and chairs in the beer garden.

On our trip I had a falafel sandwich from Oasis Mediterranean Grill while my husband and daughter both got Joe’s Pizza heated in their mini-pizza ovens. My husband and I shared a slice of red velvet cake from Oasis while my daughter got ice cream from Michigan Creamery – it was a vegan black cherry ice cream.



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What to Bring to Top of the Park

You don’t need to bring anything to Top of the Park. However, we like to bring a blanket to sit on. You can also bring chairs to sit in. When my daughter was younger, we would bring our wagon to hold our blanket, water bottles, and so my daughter didn’t need to walk.

For 2022 there seemed to be many more chairs than in the past. The center of the Ingalls Mall now has a large tent with chairs – and even a few sets of cornhole boards.

If you visit in early evening, you may want sun screen. If you plan to stay into the evening for the movie, you may want to bring a sweatshirt and/or long pants. Prior to 2022 we never had an issue with mosquitos at Top of the Park. However, we did notice mosquitos swarming us a few times particularly in the beer garden.

Many of the Top of the Park culinary row vendors have mobile credit card machines which makes purchasing food and snacks easy. Of course cash is always acceptable. It’s also handy to have cash on hand if you want to make a donation or allow your child to buy snacks themselves. The Ann Arbor Summer Festival asks for a $5/person or $10/family donation to help keep Top of the Park free.


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Getting to Top of the Park

We usually drive to Top of the Park since we don’t live near downtown. My husband works at UM and has a blue parking pass. We will often use that to park in the Fletcher Parking Structure. Without the pass, there is often a $5 parking fee. The Thayer lot also has a $5 parking fee for non-pass holders. Many other UM Blue lots offer free parking after 5 or 6p. We have also parked at the Ann Structure which offers metered visitor parking and is a blue lot. It is a little further, but can be worth saving the $5 in parking. UM Parking maps can be found on their parking and transportation website.

Biking, walking and the bus are also great options for getting to Top of the Park.

Mainstage Program

In addition to the free Top of the Park activities, the Ann Summer Festival includes the Mainstage performances. The 2022 season has not yet been announced (it is typically announced in spring)

2 thoughts on “Top of the Park Kids Guide”

  1. How can I find out what is going on this weekend through the rest of the summer? The dates offered above stop on July 2nd.
    Thank you!

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