Saginaw Michigan: Top Things to Do (Incredible Art Museums, Children's Zoo, Shiawassee Wildlife Refuge, Japanese Tea House and Restaurants)


Saginaw Michigan: Top Things to Do | By Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan

There are tons of fun things to do in the Great Lakes Bay Region! 

Check out incredible art and history museums (the Castle Museum and Marshall M. Frederick's Sculpture Museum are incredible!), Children's Zoo, Shiawassee wildlife refuge and drive, Japanese Tea House (Enjoy a traditional tea ceremony!) and our favorite restaurants. 


Interactive Map of Things to Do in Saginaw Michigan

Do You Love Wildlife Drives and Hiking? Visit the Incredible Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge


Location: 6975 Mower Rd, Saginaw, MI 

Saginaw Michigan is home to the incredible Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge which is absolutely one of my favorite places to visit in this area.  It's a safe place to go for a long nature walk with free parking.  

Read more and see great photos of things to do at the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge here!



We highly recommend the Ferguson Bayou Trail and Wildlife Drive for incredible bird watching and photographic opportunities. If you only have time for one, the Wildlife Drive is shockingly good with tons of wildlife, especially in June and July. 


Visit Saginaw Michigan's Incredible Art, History, Sculpture and Children's Museums 


  • Did you know Saginaw MI is home to several incredible museums? 

The Great Lakes Bay region is filled with great arts and culture!  Let's check out the Saginaw Art Museum, Castle Museum, Marshall M. Frederick's Sculpture Museum, and Mid-Michigan Children's Museum!


Saginaw Art Museum: Enjoy Paintings, Sculptures, Ceramics and more!

Saginaw Art Museum address: 1126 N Michigan Ave, Saginaw, MI

This incredible art museum is home to exhibitions, a permanent collection and ongoing events. You will get inspired as you visit each room throughout this spacious museum. 

The Saginaw Art Museum’s Permanent Collection consists of paintings, sculpture and watercolors created by artists from the 18th through 21st centuries. 

We enjoyed seeing several photographs, ceramics and works on paper.  There's also examples of British, French and American Realism artwork. 

Be sure to visit the beautiful Charles A. Platt gardens which is included with the price of admission. 


 

Castle Museum is a Treasure Trove of Saginaw's Past


Castle Museum address: 500 Federal Ave, Saginaw, MI

Since 1979, the Castle Museum has been preserved by the Historical Society of Saginaw County.  It's another Great Lakes Bay Region treasure!



Must Sees: 

  • The Huckster Wagon - Imagine having your fresh produce and other merchandise delivered to your home in these horse-drawn wagons during the early 20th century.  The huckster tradition was very strong in Saginaw before the automobile and the rise of supermarkets.  The word "huckster" comes from a Dutch word meaning "peddler." 
  • Period Rooms: See how home decor looked from the 1950s to the Victorian era parlor



  • The Saginaw Carriage Works (and J.P. Beck) was one of the many carriage and wagon manufacturers in Saginaw in the late 1890's.  Imagine how he felt seeing his business destroyed by the invention of the automobile! But J.P. Beck didn't give up, he started selling automobiles!  
  • 1914 Saginaw Cyclecar
  • Saginaw County Sports Hall of Fame!
  • Statue of Lady Justice


  • Learn About Lumbering: Did you know Saginaw was once known as the Lumber Capital of the World?
  • Saginaw Metal Casting Plants - Discover the history!
  • Myer Brothers Jewelry Store: Formerly located on Jefferson Ave. After the business closed in 1974, the cabinets and artifacts were donated to the museum in 1979.

Marshall M. Frederick's Sculpture Museum

Marshall M. Frederick's Sculpture Museum address: 7400 Bay Rd, University Center, MI

There is so much to see at this incredible Michigan museum - you will be blown away!  Without a doubt, the Marshall M. Frederick's Sculpture Museum is on my list of incredible places to visit in Michigan!

Marshall Frederick was a sculpture that had a studio in Royal Oak, Michigan.  When he passed away in 1998 his work, studio, molds, machinery were donated and are on display at the museum. 

Admission is FREE!  There are also free guided tours. 

  • Main Exhibit Gallery - I was so excited to see all the plaster molds used to cast Marshall Frederick's work in bronze.  Includes famous casts such as the Spirit of Detroit!
  • Sculpture Garden - WOW!  What an incredible hidden gem right here in the Great Lakes Bay Region!  I loved seeing the beautiful bronze sculptures, botanical garden beds, the striking Day and Night Fountain and the Otter Pool.
  • Sculptor’s Studio After passing away, Mr. Frederick's clay models, armatures, molds, sculptures, machinery, tools, equipment and so much more from his home and studio were donated to Saginaw Valley State University.  I absolutely loved this exhibit which is a representation of his studio in Royal Oak, MI.

Check their website for upcoming exhibitions!


Mid-Michigan Children's Museum

Mid-Michigan Children's Museum address: 315 W Genesee Ave, Saginaw, MI

The museum features over 16,000 square feet of gallery space for kids from birth to 10 years old to learn, discover and explore!

Check out a sugar farm, see how a car works, explore water features and learn about tactile objects. 


Japanese Cultural Center, Tea House and Gardens


Japanese Cultural Center and Tea House address: 527 Ezra Rust Dr, Saginaw, MI

I'm so excited to have such a lovely cultural gem located in Saginaw Michigan!  We absolutely loved the experience of a tea ceremony and wandering the peaceful gardens. 

Be sure to wander their scenic paved trails, enjoy the blooming cherry trees (around June) and just relax near the lovely waterfalls.  There are lots of picturesque spots for photography, such as the iconic red bridges, sparkling pond and tea house.  

What can you see or do at the Japanese Cultural Center and Tea House? Keep Reading!!



Enjoy a Show or Movie at the Historic Temple Theatre

Temple Theatre address: 201 N Washington Ave, Saginaw, MI 

Did you know the Temple Theatre first opened its doors for their first production on July 28, 1927?  This theatre is a fantastic venue for the performing arts, music, dance, live events, and cinema.

The theatre was completely renovated in 2002 so the stunning 1,750-seat theatre features the incredible detail of the original Neo-Classic design.

Love Movies? The Saginaw Silver Screen is also a fun way to get out and watch an older movie such as the beloved Princess Bride, the Godfather and Back to the Future for a very affordable price (around $5 per person). Check their website for prices and show times!


Saginaw Children's Zoo: Incredible Zoo in Michigan!

Saginaw Children's Zoo Address: 1730 S Washington Ave #2876, Saginaw, MI

Penguins.  There, I said it.  I wanted to get that out there that one of the cutest critters on the planet is at the Saginaw Children's Zoo!  Oh, and did you see the video above?  If you love zoos, this Michigan zoo will have you grinning from ear to ear (or whisker to whisker!)



The views, walking paths, shady benches and thoughtful landscaping are incredible at the Saginaw Children's Zoo in Michigan!



What animals are at the Saginaw Zoo? Well, you can see alligators, prairie dogs (squeal!), fish, kangaroos, turtles and so much more!  You can also see alpaca, pygmy goats, black-tailed prairie dog, miniature donkey, miniature horse, cotton-top tamarin!

Is the Saginaw Children's Zoo open? This incredible Michigan Zoo opens mid-April, but check their website for info on hours, events and exhibits!

This Saginaw zoo is one of our favorite zoos in Michigan!


Be sure to ride the train!  


Best Saginaw Hotels 


Are you searching for the best places to stay while visiting Saginaw Michigan?

We recommend these hotels as they are in a great area - Near Hobby Lobby, Lowes, lots of restaurants and easy to get to from Interstate 75. 

Springhill Suites by Marriott Saginaw -We love their modern rooms with both indoor and outdoor hanging out space!

You can sit in soft chairs by the flickering light of the firepit or stretch out in comfy lounge chairs after a refreshing dip in the indoor pool.  

Townplace Suites by Marriott Saginaw - If you love hotels that offer breakfast included with the price of your room, you will love their expansive morning buffet.  Their rooms so so colorful and modern too. 

Plus, the Townplace Suites have an outside firepit that's perfect to gather around after a long day of exploring Saginaw.

Residence Inn by Marriott Saginaw - We are always a fan of Residence Inns, as we stay in them quite frequently while traveling. We always get a room with a suite so you have a separate living room and kitchen. 

This option rocks if you are having an extended stay as the bedroom door is another buffer to hall noise.  

Four Points by Sheridan Saginaw- This lovely Saginaw Hotel has a great workout room, outdoor hang out spaces and comfortable bar so you can relax and get a drink at the end of your day. 

There are also suites available to give you more space while lounging and additional quiet space when sleeping. 


Great Restaurant and Ice Cream in Saginaw Michigan

Here are our suggestion for a great meal and ice cream in Saginaw MI

Artisan Urban Bistro - visiting soon

Fuzzy's for Ice Creamvisiting soon

Best Casinos in Michigan Closest to Saginaw 


Saganing Eagles Landing Casino - 2690 Worth Rd, Standish, MI 48658

Soaring Eagle Casino - 6800 Soaring Eagle Blvd, Mt Pleasant, MI 48858

Our Favorite Greenhouse and Garden Center in Saginaw Michigan


If you love visiting Michigan greenhouses and garden centers, you need to check out Abele's!  So many choices! I purchased a stunning "Proven Winner" brand hot pink hydrangea as they grow phenomenally well in our region. 

They have pond designs and supplies, annuals, perennials, trees, garden supplies and tons of vegetables to plant!

Here are three more greenhouses and garden centers in Bay City that we love.  They are located close to each other so I went to all of them in one morning!  Flower extravaganza!


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