If you follow us on Instagram, you no doubt have seen the pictures from over the weekend. And what a busy weekend it was.
Friday, I went with a mom friend to Calder Dairy Farm. We fed some animals and had delicious Michigan made ice-cream.
On Saturday, we spent all day at the Toledo Air Show. Yes, I know Toledo is technically in Ohio, but it’s close enough! It was so much fun, it was mine and the kids first air show.
My father-in-law is in the Grand Aire club (or something like that) so we were on the “VIP” list with them; we had a covered seating area and lunch was catered by City BBQ. It was fantastic, all of it.
There were so many different kinds of planes, you could tour a few for a small donation. And the shows! WOW! They did the Tora, Tora, Tora (simply amazing), had jumpers, stunt planes, and the Shockwave truck. A favorite of the kids was the show with the Jelly Belly planes, watching him try to land the plane on a moving truck. Let’s not forget the bad ass fight jets, as well – I was unable to get their names, but we were fortunate enough to watch the final flight of two of the pilots, also having front row seats to their celebration once they landed… so much duct tape. 😉
The amount of food vendors was ridiculous. From burgers to lemonade slush, they had you covered. You could purchase t-shirts, sunglasses, toys, even sunscreen. Then of course, the military branches and their tents (run by such awesome guys), helicopter rides, and a miniature Jeep show.
Honestly, I know the tickets are a bit pricey, but to me, it would be worth it. If you plan on attending next year, or any air show near you, remember to pack the sunscreen and a chair! I also highly suggest ear muffs/plugs for the littles or anyone with sound sensitivities.
After that excitement, we spent the next couple days up in Frankenmuth, Michigan.
It had been years, at least 15, since I’d been up there and have been wanting to visit there for at least the last five. Brian had some pick days at work, so I did some looking. I found a great deal on Hotels.com, snagging a room at the Country Inn & Suites in Birch Run, two nights for around $150 plus a continental breakfast.
The hotel was nice, clean and the check in went smoothly. They have an indoor pool, at little on the small side so the deepest it got was 4ft, but my kids didn’t care about the depth. The pool did, however, had so much chlorine that just walking into the pool room caused my eyes to burn.
Country Inn & Suites is down the same road as the Birch Run Outlets.. if you can actually consider them outlets…? Don’t get me wrong, there is a nice selection of stores, I loved the Book Warehouse and Oshkosh, and you do have to walk outside to get from one to the next but some of the stores….
When I think of outlet stores, I think discounted prices and amazing deals. This is not what comes to mind when I think of the Birch Run Outlets now that I’ve been there. I went into the Sketchers outlet, thinking I’d get an amazing deal on my kids shoes for school… I was wrong. The mark up was absurd. Same with the Coleman store, and do not get me started on the Coach “outlet.” Not sure if I will visit them again.
We spent the most of our Monday in Frankenmuth at Zender’s Splash Village. I paid the few extra dollars on the all day pass, that way we could come and go throughout the day or arrive without the worry of time constraints. They do offer half day passes, and honestly, this is the one to purchase in advanced if you can get your arrival time down to when the pass time starts, six hours is more than enough time.
Splash Village has a variety of food options available. For some reason, pizza or pasta always sounds good after a day of swimming, so we ordered one of their 14inch pizzas with some extra toppings. The pizza and five drinks cost around $30, not exactly cheap, but definitely not the most expensive meal of the weekend, and it hit the spot. It was a delicious pizza; the crust wasn’t too think or thick, and the sauce had a nice taste.
On this adventure…
We also spent a morning at Bronner’s, where it is Christmas all year round. It’s lost some of its magically qualities for me, but my children adored it. They were so excited, checking out the trees and the lights. A good portion of items are breakable, so be aware with little ones.
We had lunch at Zender’s; we tried the Prime Rib, Pork Schnitzel St. Julian, and of course the World Famous Family Style Chicken Dinner.
I’m not sure how many of you have been there, but they start your meal off with a variety of breads and spreads. The garlic toast, more like oversized croutons, but still good.. could have used more garlic in my opinion. The tartar. I tried it, just to sat that I did. Like our waitress said: you either like it or you don’t. And I don’t.
The chicken wasn’t as good as we remembered, but the other entries we tried were delicious with generous sized portions so we had leftovers for at least two more servings. I suggest taking the ice-cream that comes with the kid’s meals, seriously. Oh yes. Speaking of the kid’s meals, be forewarned.. the cups are all glass and there are no lids.
One of our last meals, we ate at Tony’s, also across the street from the hotel a bit. The restaurant didn’t appear busy from where we were seated, but it took longer for the staff to take our orders, bring drinks, etc. Perhaps they were understaffed that night?
My husband ordered the ribeye, rare, cooked to perfection; I had the mushroom swiss burger, it had a good flavor but could use more sauce/mayo; my mother-in-law ordered the fried catfish dinner with hashbrowns… the hashbrowns were cold and the fish was over salted and overcooked, she had to send it back. She ended up walking to Wendy’s for a chili after we returned to the hotel (which is right next door, fyi).
The last entertainment place we visited was the Alpine Mountain Golf in Frankenmuth. Mini gold, my oldest child’s favorite activity. It was $5 per person to play (the didn’t charge me for my toddler) and you have two courses to choose from. They also have a basket ball court, or hoops, bumper boat races, and a go kart track. The woman who was running the counter was none too friendly, I actually thought about leaving, but couldn’t break my sons heart. Maybe she was just having a bad day, so we brushed it off and played as quick as we could before the storm hit.
Other places/things worth checking out:
- Frankenmuth Cheese Haus
- Got Kilt
- Covered Bridge & Leather Gift Shop
- the covered bridge
- Zak & Mac’s Chocolate Haus
- Rau’s Country Store
- Hammond’s Pigs N’ Taters candy bar
- Bavarian Inn Restaurant Castle Shops
- The giant donuts at the Zender’s Marketplace
What are some of your favorite places to visit while in the Frankenmuth/Birch Run area?
Be sure to follow us on social media to see what else we’ve been getting up to. =]