Before school started, the kids and I wanted to go on one last summer adventure, but this time, closer to home. We have explored all over Fenton and Flint, but this time, we headed over to downtown Milford.
Milford holds a special kind of nostalgia for me in particular as I grew up in the area and love taking our kids back to wander around this little Metro Detroit town. If you haven’t visited already, downtown Milford is the coziest little spot for a really good meal and some local shopping.
We took a break from our usual trip to Central Park for some bigger plans which included horseback riding with a local horse rescue, loving on the animals at the Kensington Metropark petting farm, lunch and treats downtown, and a movie at the Milford Independent Cinema.
Horsing Around in Milford
What I love most about downtown Milford is the absolute sense of community support that can be seen and felt all around the area. While browsing Facebook, I happened upon a post from Lori, owner of Horsing Around Ranch in Milford.
Discounted trail rides were being offered to raise funds for the sweet horses at her ranch. I booked a time for the kids and me to hang out with Lori and her horses on an hour-long trail ride through Kensington Metropark. Keep an eye out because the ranch offers deals often to help horses in need.
We were introduced to each of the horses that Lori cared for and were given an overview of how to handle the horses during our ride. Our ride was guided by Lori herself, leaving from her ranch and home and wandering into Kensington.
Trail rides are open to ages 6 and up and there is a weight limit, so it’s helpful to check out the website before booking any trail rides to make sure all rules and regulations are followed.
We were given overviews on how to handle the horses while on our ride and both kids were provided with helmets for safety. My youngest (6) was provided with a smaller horse which was leashed to our guide’s horse for safety.
The team makes sure that everyone is safe and well prepared for the trail ride with plenty of help during the ride as well.
Kensington Metropark is an enormous park and the horse trails are well off the beaten path. We followed them through fields and forests, up and down hills, and even through some private group camping and disc golf areas that the park has to offer.
The trail ride lasted one hour, which was just the right length of time for the kids – I don’t think they could have gone much longer than that, though they did enjoy every second of our tour.
Exploring Kensington Metropark Farm Center
Following our trail ride, we hung around Kensington Metropark, just outside of downtown Milford, for a bit to check out the petting farm that they have on-site. Upon entering the farm area, we noticed that there was an area to line up for hay rides around the property. We opted out as we had just finished our trail ride and wanted to do some walking around.
We started in the barn and were pleasantly surprised to see so many baby piglets! They were absolutely adorable and I’m not going to lie, I really wish we could have taken one or five home.
Some goats and rabbits also call the barn home and we made our way around the pens multiple times before moving on to check out the rest of the farm.
Just up the stairs from the main barn area is a little museum that was put together with information about the original farm on the property as well as local history.
We enjoyed learning about the mechanisms of the grain pulley and measuring how many hands tall we are – a hand equals 4 inches and my daughter was pleased to find that she is nearly 15 hands tall!
After playing around in the museum, we made our way around the rest of the farm, petting any animals that we could get our hands on (we are animal lovers, for sure!). We made friends with more goats, lambs, and donkeys.
The cows weren’t in the mooood (see what I did there?) to make friends.
Once we had our fill of animal love and explored the walking trails around the farm area, we were starving! The farm does offer a concession stand, but we wanted to check out a place that is right in downtown Milford.
We said our goodbyes to our new friends and headed off to explore more of the town.
Eating and Playing Around Downtown Milford
Horseback riding and animal petting really helped us work up an appetite! We were starving after our morning excursions so we took off toward downtown. Free parking is ample with a short walk to wherever you are headed.
Dining at the Burger Joint
Nestled in the heart of downtown Milford, the Burger Joint brings a touch of nostalgia to any dining experience. The kids loved the friendly atmosphere – filled with unicorns, cartoons, and bright colors.
Aside from the fun atmosphere, the menu is also full of cool combinations for any flavor of burger you have a hankering for.
A little overwhelming is the portion sizes here – know that most items are perfect for sharing! We ordered a kids’ meal burger and fries, a wild shroom burger, a chicken garlic naanwich, and a side of onion rings. There was so much food to go around, we definitely left with leftovers for dinner.
Playing at Central Park
To work off some of our lunch, we headed down to Central Park which is less than a quarter of a mile walk from the main parts of downtown. The park boasts the Huron River that runs through it, plenty of places to launch kayaks and canoes, and a large play area for the kiddos.
Since we walked over, we didn’t have to worry about parking, but there are two areas for free parking that are easy to get to. The park also has bathrooms, which with kids, we all know is a definite perk!
Playing at the park is always hard work and needs to be rewarded with ice cream, obviously. We truly cannot go anywhere without checking out the ice cream selection – it’s a non-negotiable for us at this point.
Treating Ourselves at Proving Grounds Coffee & Ice Cream
In downtown Milford, the one and only choice is to head to Proving Grounds Coffee & Ice Cream for a treat.
What I love about Proving Grounds is that if you’re in a rush or don’t feel like heading inside, they have a nice little ordering window right on the sidewalk. However, on this day, we wanted to get up close and personal with all of the ice cream choices that they have to offer.
We ended up leaving with three cones of their Browndog Creamery (a Michigan company!) ice cream flavors: a unicorn swirl Faygo, salted malted butter pecan, and a vegan blood orange coconut ice.
No complaints about any flavors – we were thrilled with our choices! We sat outside the cafe and people watched as we ate.
Laughing It Up at Milford Independent Cinema
The last stop on our day trip itinerary was a trip to the Milford Independent Cinema. The cinema is run by the Huron Valley Film Organization, a non-profit that is dedicated to bringing the arts to Milford.
The cinema has exactly one screen and shows first-run films Wednesday through Sunday at an affordable rate so all local families can enjoy the movies. There aren’t many places where you can snag a movie for $5, so we love this cost-effective option near home!
We grabbed a super affordable snack at the snack bar (can’t see a movie without popcorn!) and headed on into the cinema to find some seats. Joining us were only a couple of other people, so we had pretty much the theater to ourselves.
We saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem and laughed the entire way through.
The cinema prides itself on making sure that the public knows its history as well as its future. Before the movie started, we enjoyed a little history lesson as well as some information on the non-profit that runs the theater and how we can give back to the community by volunteering.
Supporting the Local Community in Milford
There’s nothing we love more as a family than getting to support our local community while also having the best time. It’s so fun knowing that we can affordably spend an entire day in town doing things that we love together – and we can even add on an ice cream cone.