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One of our all time favorite places to visit is the Outdoor Discovery Center in Holland, MI. We have been there many times, it is completely free to visit, and it is just an all around clean and fun place to visit with the kids.
For birthdays we only host a birthday party and invite people over for the kids 16th birthday party and their 8th birthday. We do this because with 6 children we would be hosting birthday parties pretty frequently, we would rather spend the money that a birthday party would cost and use it to have some family fun, and finally we would rather make the day special for our birthday child.
So for Ethan’s recent 7th birthday he choose to have a picnic dinner at the Outdoor Discovery Center and walk around the trails. It turned out to be a beautiful and perfect day for a walk on the trails.
The Outdoor Discovery center has a sensory garden for the kids to play in directly next to the beautiful covered pavilion with picnic tables. Here are a few of the fun things you will find in the children’s garden. I have shared about this place quite a few times already, in those posts you can get a real close up of this wonderful place if you are interested. You may also find the post where Ethan fell into a pond one time and I just happened to get a picture of it lol. The memories that have been made at this place are to many to count.
They have a bridge to run across.
A log path that is great fun to balance across.
Seats made from fallen tree branches.
They have a giant sand box for the kids, complete with sand toys to play with in the sand.
They have a couple kid size cabins that really have working windows and doors, and an upstairs. The kids love the cabins and could spend hours just playing in them.
They have a very nice covered pavilion area with a bathroom and picnic tables. We brought a picnic dinner to eat before we went out on the trails. Ethan picked out what we ate for dinner, because the birthday kid always gets to pick their birthday dinner. Dustin is well known for giving the camera some crazy and weird looks now a days lol.
Jake is always making everyone laugh and playing around, which is what he is doing in this picture. Pretending to drop Serena into the creek from the bridge 🙂 !
Here is a picture of the creek. It won’t be too long and the bridge will be hidden in between tons of green foliage.
After we finished eating we headed out on some of the trails.
The kids love this dock, once it’s warmer and there are lots of fish, turtles, and frogs living in the pond the kids will sit for quite some time just observing.
It’s also a great way to get their energy out!
The boys were having a great time learning how to skip rocks.
First Anthony showed him how to do it, and then…
Ethan tries it, but on a much bigger scale…
Yea, he kind of realized that it wasn’t going to skip due to it’s large size lol.
Then it was Dustin’s turn, he is pretty good at skipping rocks!
You know you are a mom with a regularly used camera, when your 5 year old finds places to pose for pictures 😉 !
Dustin running after a bunny that headed off on another path.
While there isn’t much color around Michigan the beginning of April, it is still beautiful.
After we arrived back at the pavilion, we had cupcakes and sang happy birthday to Ethan. It was almost impossible to get the candle light because it was pretty windy, but we made do!
Here is Dustin photo bombing the picture of the birthday cupcakes…
Are you 7, STOP.
Gabe shoved half of his cupcake in his mouth, which doesn’t surprise me one bit.
For the most part we make most things from scratch and do not get box mixes for anything. We did, however get this cake mix in our Disney Side party pack and made it for the party and after how delicious they were Ethan talked me into buying them to make for his birthday. They are the most delicious cupcakes I have ever tried. I have an Amazon Affiliate link to the cake we bought, but I found it at the store for much cheaper then Amazon lists it for.
And while people were eating their cupcakes, Anthony and Jake played some catch around the picnic tables.
If you look carefully over the next few pictures, you will see Dustin sneaking over to the door to peek inside. Thinking no one would see him. Boy do I love teenagers, they keep me laughing that is for sure, well most of the time at least 😉 !
On the way home we were blessed with a beautiful sunset. We couldn’t have asked for a better day!
Stop over to my Michigan family friendly destinations page to see the other visits we have had at The Outdoor Discovery Center, and other great Michigan destinations.
I am linking up with THESE great linky parties, stop over and check out the other bloggers fun places they have visited through out the last week.