School’s out for summer! Well, almost, and we are here to save your sanity from the “I’m bored” mantras and casual fridge raids! 

Whether your family is local or just visiting, there are plenty of entertaining activities for children in the Alpena area. Check out the following fun, truly Alpena-inspired, events for kids this summer season:

Creativity in Nature

Mia explores the wonders of nature on Island Park in Tinkergarten class! Photo courtesy Erica Hainstock

2018 River Rats– This fun summer outdoor recreation program is FREE for kids ages K-4th grade and occurs every Tuesday and Thursday in July from 11-noon. Kids will learn all sorts of science-related topics in Island Park’s natural habitat. Space is limited so register your kids soon by calling 951-870-6266 or register online at*Parent or guardian must accompany children. 

NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary Summer Programs– 10 different maritime related programs await kids of all ages this summer at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary on Fletcher St. Each program has a different age range for kids ages 5-6, 7-9, and 10-13. Dates and times vary depending on the program, find the complete list HERE and sign up your kids today!

Tinkergarten Classes– Mondays and Wednesdays just got a whole lot cooler for your little tot! Take your little one to Island Park every Wednesday for ages 18 months-5 years and every Monday for ages 6-8 years old, for a 5-part class that allows children to explore, problem solve, communicate, and collaborate together. *Visit website in hyperlinks for pricing and times. 

Artistic Expression

Encourage creativity at Art Pop this summer at Art in the Loft

Art in the Loft– Art in the Loft in downtown Alpena will be hosting several different events throughout the summer for kids. For a red, white and blue culinary experience, check out Canvas and Cuisine on June 27th for ages 5+. Kid’s Create! will also be a fun experience for kids as they make their own unique flower pot bird bath. Ages 5+. *Visit website in hyperlinks for pricing and times.

Art in the Loft Art Pop– In addition to providing regular workshops for various age groups throughout the summer (above), Art in the Loft will also be hosting two free art sessions during the summer. Every second Tuesday, parents and their young children (18 months-4 years) can engage in mess-free, artistic activities. In the afternoon, junior high and high school students can participate in unique opportunities to create art and socialize with peers. An excellent opportunity for children to embrace and develop their artistic talents in a welcoming environment. Register today!

Every child is an artist at Art in the Loft

TBT2 2018 Summer Camps– Well known for quality year-round theatrical productions in the area, Thunder Bay Theatre (also known as TBT), will be offering three week-long summer camps for a wide range of ages. Students in kindergarten through the fifth grade can participate in the Starter Stage camp. Pre-teens in sixth through ninth grade can improve skills such as singing and acting by enrolling the Middle School Musical Mania camp. The Actor Intensive camp targets tenth graders to college freshmen with passions for theatre.

Fitness and Recreation

Alpena Youth Sailing Club– Children ages eight and up can participate in week-long, half-day sailing classes on either the Thunder Bay River or Grand Lake. Encouraging fundamental sailing skills like tying knots, utilizing the direction of the wind, and creating strategies to win races. Students will sail on many types of vessels, work together with peers, and take on a number of roles to fully experiencing the adventure of sailing. For more advanced sailors, the Alpena Youth Sailing Team can strengthen their sailing skills. They will sail on ynglings, large vessels with weighted hulls to prevent tipping, with two to three other crew members on Lake Huron. Students may also have the opportunity to challenge themselves and their crew by participating in races on a weekly basis.  

Kids Fitness & Nutrition Club– Offering a variety of fun and active classes, events, workshops, and camps! The Kids Fitness and Nutrition Club is focused on creating an environment where kids can be kids while creating an interest in personal fitness and nutrition. Check out their Facebook page for upcoming events, classes, and prices! 

Little Miss Mia, living her best life on the Bosu in Happy Kids Class at BAC! Photo courtesy Erica Hainstock.

Happy Kids & Wildcat Sweat at BAC– Keep your Alpena Wildcat athlete conditioned over summer by purchasing the Wildcat Punch Card at Bay Athletic Club! A great way to stay in shape for the sport your student loves. Have a future Alpena Wildcat on your hands that needs to release some mid-morning energy in a fun and playful environment? Check out Happy Kids every Monday at 10 am at Bay Athletic Club. Don’t forget, BAC also offers the “jungle gym” for your little ones to play in while you get in that daily workout!

Anytime Fun!

Don’t forget about our local businesses that incorporate learning and fun for young ones year-round!

Alpena County George N. Fletcher Library

Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan

Parallel 45 Books and Gifts

Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center


Kiddie Park Playground– located downtown at the Band Shell by the pier.

McRae Park Playground– located at 1301 N. 2nd Ave.

Shin-Ga-Ba Shores Playground– located on Ossineke Rd. in Ossineke, MI

The Alpena Area Convention & Visitors Bureau would like to extend a special thanks to Lara King for being a contributing author to this blog and to Erica Hainstock for providing photos and information. If you know of any other kid friendly happenings in the Alpena area, please email