Our spring break plan was mostly a staycation exploring a couple of Metro Detroit attractions and a trip to Kalahari. So, we’re spending our Virtual Spring Break as a Staycation visiting the places we had planned.
It is spring break week here in Ann Arbor. But, with stay at home orders in place, no one can travel for the spring break. So we are holding a Virtual Spring Break visiting a different destination or themed set of destinations each day. Be sure to check out our Virtual Spring Break article which will link to each place we have visited and include upcoming destinations.
Our Staycation Plan
When we first talked about spring break, we considered San Francisco or the Grand Canyon. But, the flights were much more than I was willing to pay, so we opted to plan a staycation. In retrospect, life was much easier not having to cancel flights and a hotel.
Our plans included:
- Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes Special Exhibit at The Henry Ford – running through September 7
- Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
- Kalahari Resort in Sandusky
Coronavirus was taking over Seattle while we were discussing which night to go to Kalahari. So, we decided to take a wait and see approach, and never booked it. It saved us from having to cancel our trip
Recreating Staycation Activities
Marvel Universe of Super Heroes Exhibit
This is an easy activity to recreate. Beyond most of the movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney+ also has a number of Marvel specials:
- Marvel 75 Years: From Pulp to Pop! – A 2014 Documentary
- Assembling a Universe – 2014 Documentary
- Casting the MCU – 2019 – an extra on Avengers: Endgame
- Remembering Stan Lee – 2019- an extra on Avengers: Endgame
- Check other MARVEL movies for more documentaries
If you don’t have Disney+, but own any of the movies on BluRay or Digital, check out what extras are included with each movie.
Henry Ford Museum
The Henry Ford Museum has an extensive Digital Collection to explore.
However, there are certain activities that kids love when they are at the Henry Ford. My daughter’s two favorite activities have always been making and flying paper airplanes and building and racing K’nex cars. Both are easy to replicate at home. Have a family paper airplane flying contest. The build and race cars. If you don’t have K’nex, try LEGO.
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum features vintage coin-operated machines, oddities and more. We have never visited (which is why it was on our list). We have two ideas to virtually visit:
Play Vintage Games
Or “new” game system is an outdated Wii U, but we also have a Wii. Additionally, my daughter has game boxes that replicate and play Nintendo and Super Nintendo games. Check out the digital store of your game system to see if you can buy classic games. For our Wii U, my daughter has several old Legend of Zelda games.
Build a Pinball Machine
This pinball tutorial uses items you are likely to have at home or can easily substitute. You will need plenty of cardboard. If you don’t have a lot of bamboo BBQ sticks, you could try pushpins. Hair ties could substitute for the rubber bands. The video takes 15 minutes, but I would plan on it taking 1-2 hours.
You could also try building a pinball machine from LEGO. Here’s a tutorial for a mini LEGO Pinball Machine.
Setup Games for Prizes
In the arcade at Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum you can earn tickets from certain games. Setup simple games like a penny toss in a bucket, a mini bowling game, and games of chance like flipping a coin or rolling numbers on dice. Award tickets based on performance. Then, let the kids shop in a prize shop for small candies and prizes (shop in their forgotten toy bin).
Kalahari Water Park
A virtual visit to the Kalahari Water Park is stumping me. I am not sure how to replicate a water park when there is a high of 60. If you have a jetted tub, the kids can put on their swim suit and pretend to be in a hot tub. Young kids may even enjoy extra splash time in the large tub.
The also offer mini-golf and mini bowling. We can probably play both of those on our Wii.
Experience Local Sports
The NCAA March Madness tournament would have been finishing this weekend. I am selecting Michigan’s 2013 NCAA Final 4 Game against Syracuse for viewing. We were at Universal Studios Florida on Spring Break the night of the game. I remember following Twitter for game updates – locals were tweeting much faster than the score was being updated on either the CBS Sports app or the ESPN app.
The Detroit Tigers home opener was scheduled for March 2020. The most memorable Tigers memory to me (a non-metro Detroit native) is Kirk Gibson’s home run in the 1984 World Series.
Books Featuring Our Staycation Topics
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- Marvel 5-Minute Stories
- Marvel: Powers of a Girl
- Marvel: Studios Character Encyclopedia
- Who Was Henry Ford?
- Who Was Stan Lee?
- Who Was Rosa Parks?
- Who Were the Wright Brothers?
Movies & TV Shows Featuring Michigan
Movies Set in Michigan
I am running into a roadblock for movies featuring Michigan or Michiganders. Many of the most iconic films are rated R (American Pie movies, Grosse Pointe Blank, Beverly Hills Cop, RoboCop). Five-Year Engagement features Ann Arbor but is also rated R.
I did find Dreamgirls which is available from TBS until April 7.
TV Shows Set in Michigan
- Home Improvement – reruns air on BET & VH1
- Martin – reruns air on BET & VH1
- Freaks & Geeks
- Sister, Sister
- Bob Hearts Abishola – airing on CBS with select episodes available on demand from CBS.
I have checked Disney+, Netflix, and Amazon Prime and do not see any of them streaming for free.
A Virtual Staycation is the perfect time to get takeout or delivery from your favorite local restaurant.
Or try one of these cuisines that we suggest:
- Detroit Style Pizza – maybe from Buddy’s
- Coney Islands – Coney Islands are a Michigan staple
- Middle Eastern Food – You can find good Middle Eastern food in Michigan. In Ann Arbor, try Palm Palace or Jerusalem Garden (do you have a favorite Middle Eastern restaurant?)
- Zingerman’s Deli