Glass Sculpture at Flint Institute of Arts

Flint is Fun with Sloan Museum, FIA, and More

Just about an hour’s drive from the Blue Water Area is the city of Flint. Flint has an impressive cultural center that houses the Sloan Museum and Longway Planetarium, the Flint Institute of Arts (FIA), the Flint Institute of Music, Applewood Farm, Flint Public Library, and FCC Academy.

My family took a trip to the Sloan Museum and the FIA over Mid-Winter Break this year (who needs Florida?) and we had a great day.

Hands-On Science

The Sloan Museum is brand new and updated. If you haven’t been there in the past few years, you haven’t been there. The museum was completely reimagined and reopened in the summer of 2022.

We explored the science exhibits and the history exhibit at the museum. The science portion is very “hands-on” with a light-filled water table area that is very popular, an area where kids can climb, and multiple spaces for learning and exploring.

Child at Sloan Museum in Flint, Michigan
Circuit Activity at Sloan Museum in Flint, Michigan

The history part might be more interesting for adults than kids, but has some “only in Flint” relics, like the last car to roll off the line at the shuttered Buick City assembly line and an actual World War II Tank Destroyer built in Flint when the assembly lines switched from automotive production to defense. There is plenty of Michigan history and regional information to make a trip a very educational experience.

Tank Destroyer at Sloan Museum in Flint, Michigan

Mazes & Brain Games

We bought the add-on ticket to tour the Mazes and Brain Games temporary exhibit, which runs through May 19th, 2024. It was worth the $5 to see the kids exploring and trying out the variety of hands-on activities. It is self-guided, so kids (and parents, grandparents, and caregivers) can take their time and explore what interests them.

Mazes and Brain games at Sloan Museum in Flint. Michigan

You can cover the whole Sloan museum in a few hours if you want, or you can go in the morning, take a lunch break in the large cafe, and go explore some more for as long as you wish.

We opted to have lunch at the Flint Institute of Arts, which is a very short walk from the Sloan. The restaurant, Palette Cafe, at the FIA, has a large selection of sandwiches, salads, and flatbreads and has reasonable pricing. The whole space is beautiful and we enjoyed our lunch break.

Flint Institute of Arts

The Flint Institute of Arts is first-class. It would not be a great place for toddlers or preschoolers, as it is a classic museum, as in definitely not “hands-on” and a very quiet atmosphere. The FIA has an extensive collection of a variety of genres from ancient artifacts to modern art to sculpture to glass and everything in between. It is a large building with multiple galleries and we got tired before we saw it all.

There are glass-blowing workshops on the weekends, and rotating special exhibits. We saw the Revolutionary Times exhibit featuring the work of Detroit’s Mario Moore. It was memorable.

More to do next time…

We didn’t get a chance to take in a show at the Longway Planetarium, but that is on the list for next time. We have been to Applewood for outdoor events in the past and it is also worth a trip. Click here for information on all of the attractions in the Flint Cultural Center.

Story and photos by Jennie McClelland for