Things To Do In Lansing, MI – Local And State History

Lansing is the state capital of the US state of Michigan. As you may expect from Lansing’s role as Michigan’s capital, it is home to the beautiful Michigan State Capitol. So, if you have never visited Lansing, you may want to consider a visit to the state capitol first. The capital city is also know for attractions that concern state and local history. So, if you are a history buff looking for some things to do in Lansing, MI, here they are.

Michigan History Museum

(Photo courtesy of Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau via Flickr)

For learning about the history of Michigan, the best place in Lansing to go for that is the Michigan History Museum. It is located on West Kalamazoo Street in downtown Lansing. The museum contain five floors worth of exhibits for you to check out. The exhibits on the top four floors are permanent ones while these on the ground floor are there on a temporary basis and change from time to time.

The museum is home to some epic environments designed to immerse you into Michigan’s history. These include a three-story relief map of Michigan, walk-through Upper Peninsula copper mine, one-room schoolhouse, 1920’s street scene, 1957 Detroit Auto Show, and a lakes and lands diorama containing a rustic cabin and lighthouse.

You also won’t want to miss out on the big beautiful pine tree that is planted in the middle of the museum building. That will give you a scenic spot to be while you are checking out the museum. You can access the pine tree via the museum’s second floor. The museum’s admission prices are $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $2 for children aged from 6 to 17.

I would like to note that the museum offers free admission on Sundays. So, you may want to consider planning a visit on that particular day. Regardless of which day you plan to visit, the admission to the museum is free to those under the age of 6. Also, if you are in search of souvenirs, the museum houses an onsite gift shop.

Michigan Walk of Fame

The Michigan Walk of Fame is located on South Washington Square in Lansing’s downtown. It is modeled after the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles. The walk of fame is made up of 18″ x 30″ bronze plaques placed on the sidewalk. Each one of them honors individuals who made significant contributions to Michigan as well as the country and world at large.

Along with their names on the bronze plaques, you can learn interesting information about their lives and contributions. All of the walk of fame’s inductees are residents of Michigan. This is the first walk of fame in the country to honor the contributions of its residents on a statewide basis. This is also downtown Lansing’s newest attraction.

Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame

The Michigan Women’s Historical Center & Hall of Fame is located directly southeast of the Michigan State Capitol. This attraction tells the story of the women of Michigan who have made significant achievements in their lives. There are nearly three hundred inductees in the hall of fame. One notable inductee is Betty Ford. She was the first lady of the United States from August of 1974 to January of 1977.

She was the wife of former US president Gerald Ford. The stories of Michigan women is branded as HERstory. There is also a changing set of exhibits available at the attraction. Some examples include A Century of Women, Diversity: Women of Color in the Michigan Women’s Hall of Fame, Faster, Higher, Stronger: Michigan Women in Olympic History, and Ladies of the Lights: Michigan Women in the US Lighthouse Service.

You will also want to check out the Women’s Walk brick patio. The admission into the attraction is free to everyone. There is also a gift shop available onsite.

R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

(Photo courtesy of Michael Barera via Wikimedia)

While Detroit may garner the most recognization for being the birthplace of the automobile, Lansing also played a major role in the automobile’s birth. The best place to see Lansing’s automotive legacy is the R.E. Olds Transportation Museum. It is located on Museum Drive in downtown Lansing on the right side of the Grand River.

The museum is named for Ransom E. Olds who invented the Oldsmobile brand of cars. Lansing was the place where the Oldsmobile cars were first manufactured in 1897. This brand of cars had been in production until 2004 when it ceased to exist. The Oldsmobile was the oldest brand of cars to be in existence when it shut down in 2004.

During the car brand’s 107 years of existence, it was notable for its impressively long streak of firsts. The R.E. Olds Transportation Museum is among the top rated automotive museums in the country. The museum is home to a diverse collection of Oldsmobile cars from across its history. In addition to these cars, the museum is home to nearly a century worth of automobilia.

These include a collection of Michigan license plates, early traffic signs, and a working 1950’s traffic signal. You also may want to check out a collection of bicycles, tractors, and other forms of transportation that are found within the museum. A collection of items from the R.E. Olds household is also housed at the museum.

The admission prices for the museum are $7 for adults and $5 for seniors, students, veterans, and military members. If you are a family of two parents with up to three children under the age of 18, you can collectively visit the museum for $15.

These are the things to do in Lansing, MI for history buffs wanting to explore the history of the city and state. Also, if you are hungry for more history, you may want to consider taking a road trip east to the impressive museum complex known as The Henry Ford which is located in Dearborn – a suburb of Detroit. You can read about it here.

The Hotel

If you are in need of a hotel to stay overnight at in Lansing, I have got you covered here. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Comfort Inn

This hotel is located at the interchange of M-43 and Interstate 69 around 6.6 miles west of downtown Lansing. There is complimentary breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Ukai Hibachi Grill and Sushi, Cracker Barrel, and Finley’s Grill & Smokehouse. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel.

Those of you looking for a place to exercise can visit the hotel’s fitness center. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $86 to $125. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you experienced the history of Michigan and Lansing yet? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Lansing, MI For First Time Visitors

Lansing is the vibrant state capital of the beautiful US state of Michigan. When one thinks of Michigan, the state capital city probably won’t register at the top of mind as you may be inclined to check out the stunning beauty along the Great Lakes shore, the bustling metropolis of Detroit, or the vibrant college town of Ann Arbor.

Even so, Lansing does offer plenty of things to do. So, if this is your first time visiting the state capital city, here are my suggestions for things to do in Lansing, MI first.

Michigan State Capitol

(Photo courtesy of Paul Martinez via Flickr)

The Michigan State Capitol is located on North Capitol Avenue in downtown Lansing. It was built in September of 1878 and had gone through a couple periods of renovation with the most recent one completed in 2014. The beautiful state capitol is noted for its cast iron dome. In fact, this is one of the first state capitols in the country to feature such a dome. The exterior facade of the state capitol is made of sandstone.

The state capitol contain four floors – the ground floor, the first floor, the second floor, and the third floor. The interior of the state capitol is most well known for its checkerboard black and white tiled floors in the main corridors. The white tiles are made of marble while the black tiles are made of limestone. Both of them are sourced from the US state of Vermont.

Another distinctive feature of the state capitol is the floor in the rotunda. The rotunda floor is made of 976 pieces of glass and is designed to resemble a bowl. The walls and ceilings within the state capitol are beautified with designs that were painted on them by hand. The beauty of the state capitol is backed up by the beauty of the grounds with an expansive lawn as well as flower beds, trees, statues, and monuments.

The admission to the state capitol is free for everybody. It can be toured either independently or with a tour guide.

Michigan History Museum

(Photo courtesy of Greater Lansing Convention & Visitors Bureau via Flickr)

The Michigan History Museum is located on West Kalamazoo Street just a short walk west of the state capitol. It explores the history of Michigan with five levels worth of exhibits for you to check out. The museum covers the historical period from the state’s earliest peoples through the late 20th century. There are 26 permanent galleries in total on the highest four levels.

The ground level of the museum house a gallery of changing exhibits. Some of the exhibits you will encounter at the museum include a three-story relief map of Michigan, walk-through Upper Peninsula copper mine, one-room schoolhouse, 1920’s street scene, 1957 Detroit Auto Show, and a lakes and lands diorama containing a rustic cabin and lighthouse.

Another thing at the museum that I would like to take note of is the big pine tree that is beautifully located in the middle of the building. So, if you are looking for a place of scenery while exploring the museum, this is the spot for you to be. The big pine tree is accessible on the museum’s second level.

The prices of entry into the museum are $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $2 for children aged from 6 to 17. However, if you visit the museum on a Sunday, you can enter for free. Those who are under the age of 6 will get free admission regardless of the day of visit. There is also a gift shop available onsite should you be in search of souvenirs.

R.E. Olds Transportation Museum

(Photo courtesy of Michael Barera via Wikimedia)

The R.E. Olds Transportation Museum is located on Museum Drive on the right side of the Grand River in downtown Lansing. The museum is named for Ransom E. Olds who was the inventor of the Oldsmobile brand of cars. The cars were first manufactured in Lansing in 1897 and had been in production until 2004 when the brand ceased to exist.

The Oldsmobile was the oldest brand of cars to be in existence when it shut down in 2004. The car brand was notable for its impressively long streak of firsts during its 107 years of existence. The R.E. Olds Transportation Museum is among the top-rated automotive museums in the United States. The museum is home to a diverse collection of Oldsmobile cars from across its history.

The museum is also home to nearly a century worth of automobilia. These include a collection of Michigan license plates, early traffic signs, and a working 1950’s-era traffic signal. A collection of bicycles, tractors, and other forms of transportation is also housed inside the museum. Additionally, there is a collection of items from the R.E. Olds household at the museum.

The admission prices for the museum are $7 for adults and $5 for seniors, students, veterans, and military members. A family of two parents and up to three children under the age of 18 can enter the museum collectively for $15.

These are the things to do in Lansing, MI I would suggest if this is your first visit to the city. That way, you can get the best that the city has to offer. Also, if you are hungry for more to do in Michigan, may I suggest a short road trip east to Chelsea or Ann Arbor? Chelsea features a self-guided walking tour where you can see the charming small town’s many historic buildings.

You can read about it here and here. Ann Arbor features world class museums housed on the sweeping University of Michigan campus.

The Hotels

If you are in search of a hotel to stay overnight at in Lansing, I have got you covered here. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Comfort Inn

This hotel is located on the southeastern side of the interchange of M-43 and Interstate 69 on the west end of Lansing. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby dining options include Ukai Hibachi Grill and Sushi, Cracker Barrel, and Finley’s Grill & Smokehouse. The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub.

There is also a fitness center available at the hotel. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $86 to $125. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you been to Michigan’s capital city before? Feel free to leave a comment below.

The Best Things To Do In Chelsea, MI

Located just a short distance west of Ann Arbor via Interstate 94 is a charming small town called Chelsea. It is best recognized by its iconic clock tower that graces its downtown. With two posts in a row, I discussed the walking tour that you can take in order to check out the many historic buildings found within Chelsea.

So, if you are interested into doing the walking tour, you may want to read up on the first and second parts of my two-post series on the walking tour. Here in this post, I am going to cover the best when it comes to things to do in Chelsea, MI.

(Photo courtesy of Andrew Jameson via Wikimedia)

Chelsea Historical Museum

The Chelsea Historical Museum is located on Jackson Street just south of the railroad tracks in downtown Chelsea. It is housed inside one of the oldest houses built in town. The house was built in 1853 by wagon maker Mial M. Boyd. The small museum explores the rich history of Chelsea.

Each of the rooms at the museum contain a wealth of photos, artifacts and information that deal with key individuals, events, companies, and buildings that shaped Chelsea’s heritage. There are knowledgable hosts who will guide you along as you explore the small museum. The admission to the museum is free for everybody.

Chelsea Milling Company

(Photo courtesy of Dwight Burdette via Wikimedia)

Chelsea is recognized for being the home to the Chelsea Milling Company. It is located on the west side of Main Street just north of the railroad tracks. This is where the iconic Jiffy Mix line of baking products are produced before being shipped all over the world. Mabel Holmes introduced the JIFFY brand in 1930 with her biscuit mix.

You will easily recognize the building by its towering silos and the JIFFY lettering. The company offers a free tour of the plant that lasts for one hour. During your tour, you will learn about the history of the company and its JIFFY brand and get to visit the factory floor in order to witness first-hand the process for producing the Jiffy Mix baking mix products.

Also, during your time on the tour, you will be treated to a product sample as well as refreshments. The company’s tour hosts will be guiding you during your time there. Reservations are required for the tour. So, you can visit here to find out how to make a reservation for it.

Purple Rose Theatre

(Photo courtesy of Michigan Municipal League via Flickr)

The Purple Rose Theatre is located on Park Street east of Main Street in downtown Chelsea. The theatre is so called because of its purple hue. It was established in 1991 by acclaimed actor, Jeff Daniels, who is a native of Chelsea. The theatre has an authentic 1930’s theatre decor beautified with features like the marbled glass chandelier in the lobby and the art deco doors and ticket booth.

The theatre contains just 168 seats with each one of them being under twenty feet from the stage. That allows for an intimate and up-close theatre experience. The theatre focuses on plays that feature performers from the Midwest region of the United States. A few of the plays that have previously featured at the theatre include Diva Royale, All My Sons, Welcome to Paradise, and Roadsigns.

Arctic Coliseum Ice Arena

If you love to go skating, especially on ice, the good news is that there is a place in town for you to do that. It is called the Arctic Coliseum Ice Arena. It is located on Coliseum Drive near Interstate 94 in Chelsea. This fun-filled establishment is home to two NHL-sized rinks for you to skate on. Other skating options that are available there include drop in hockey, open ice skating, and figure skating.

Also, if you have never skated before, but want to learn how to do so, there are lessons that you can take with a professional hockey instructor both on and off the ice. In addition to all the skating options, there is also a section for arcades, a pro shop, and an onsite restaurant and bar called Arctic Breakaway.

The Chelsea TreeHouse

If you happen to be in Chelsea with young children in tow, the best place in town for you to go to is called The Chelsea TreeHouse. It is located on South Main Street between downtown and Interstate 94. This establishment has won accolades for being one of the best places for kids in the Detroit as voted by parents via a few publications including Nickelodeon, AnnArbor.com, and Ann Arbor Family.

It features a large 9,000 square foot indoor playground featuring a huge climbing and playing structure, five slides, a baby and toddler area, swinging bridges, basketball hoops, and a huge tree house. So, there is a lot for the children to do there. It is also an ideal location for hosting birthday parties for them.

The price of admission to the establishment is $10 for kids aged from 1 to 15. It is free for those who are aged under 1 as well as adults who are accompanied by a child. An onsite dining area and store are also available at the establishment.

These places represent the best in things to do in Chelsea, MI. If you would like to take in some of the lovely Michigan scenery, Chelsea is partially surrounded by two state recreational areas. You can learn more about them by going here.

The Hotel

If you are in need of a place to stay overnight at during your time in Chelsea, I have got you covered here. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Baymont by Wyndham Chelsea

This hotel is located on Main Street just north of Interstate 94. It is only a short distance from downtown Chelsea. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Arctic Breakaway Restaurant & Bar, Thompson’s Pizzeria, and Uptown Coney Island. The hotel includes an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center.

All of the rooms and suites at the hotel come with WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $88 to $160. You can visit here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you visited Chelsea before? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Detroit, Michigan – The Museums Of The Suburbs

Detroit is know for being home to numerous world-class museums. Most of them are located within the city limits with many of them being concentrated in Midtown Detroit. You can learn about them by visiting here and here. Even though most of the museums are located within the city of Detroit, there are a few out in the city’s suburbs that you will want to check out for things to do in Detroit, Michigan.

The Henry Ford

(Photo courtesy of Michael Barera via Wikimedia)

The Henry Ford is located on Oakwood Boulevard in Dearborn which neighbors Detroit to the west. This is the most well known museum in the Detroit suburbs. So, you will want to head to this one first. There are actually two museums located within this large, impressive hybrid indoor/outdoor complex. They are the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation and Greenfield Village.

This is the largest hybrid indoor/outdoor museum in the United States. Overall, this museum complex is dedicated to the history of all things Americana. The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation explores the inventions and breakthroughs that transformed the United States. There are at least 22 exhibits for you to discover at the museum.

Some of the exhibits you will see at the museum include Agriculture, Your Place in Time, With Liberty and Justice for All, Heroes of the Sky, Made in America: Manufacturing, Made in America: Power, Driving America, Henry Ford’s Violins, Clockwork, and Mathematica. The other museum, Greenfield Village, takes the form of a village and explores the American way of life that extends three hundred years into the past.

Within this living history museum, there are seven districts for you to explore. They are Working Farms, Liberty Craftworks, Henry Ford’s Model T, Railroad Junction, Main Street, Edison at Work, and Porches & Parlors. The admission prices for the first museum in the complex are $25 for adults, $22.50 for seniors, and $18.75 for youth aged from 5 to 11.

As for the second museum, the prices of entry are $28 for adults, $25.25 for seniors, and $21 for youth aged from 5 to 11. Both museums provide free admission to those who are under the age of 5. You can go here to order your tickets for both museums. Just over a month ago, I published a post that focuses on The Henry Ford if you would like to dig deeper.

Cranbrook Art Museum

(Photo courtesy of Maia C via Flickr)

The Cranbrook Art Museum is located on the beautiful Cranbrook campus on Woodward Avenue in Bloomfield Hills which is located about 25 miles northwest of downtown Detroit. This museum is dedicated to showcasing contemporary art.

Some of the well known artists with their works showcased in the museum include Charles and Ray Eames, Harry Bertoia, Maija Grotell, Carl Milles, Robert Motherwell, Andy Warhol, and Roy Lichtenstein. There are currently three exhibits available for you to check out across multiple galleries.

They are Shapeshifters: Transformations in Contemporary Art, Headspace: Jim Dine’s Glyptotek, and The Detroit Printing Co-op: The Politics of the Joy of Printing. Located just outside the museum on the beautiful grounds are fountains and public garden spaces with sculptures spread throughout.

The entrance fees for the museum are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $6 for students. Those who are under the age of 13 will get free admission. You can click here to buy your passes. The museum also offers a variety of tours around the Cranbrook campus including three beautiful residences. So, if you are interested, you can head here to see which of the tours is right for you.

Cranbrook Institute of Science

(Photo courtesy of Brandon C via Flickr)

The Cranbrook Institute of Science is located just to the north of the Cranbrook Art Museum with the Cranbrook campus in Bloomfield Hills. This museum deals with natural history. There are about fifteen exhibits in total at the museum. So, I will go over some of them here to give you a better sense of what you can expect to see at the museum.

In the Acheson Light Lab exhibit, you will see seven different types of glass and see how they are illustrated when the sun’s rays pass through them. When you are in the Every Rock Has A Story exhibit, you will see the many ways in which our planet itself has changed and will change. Rocks and minerals help to tell stories about the history of Earth.

The Ice Ages Come And Go exhibit is the place where you will see how Michigan’s landscape was shaped by glaciers. The Ice Age Survivors exhibit explores how large animals managed to survive in North America during the last ice age and the impact that it has had on the character of the modern fauna, both in North America and across the world.

If you are looking to get up and personal with a full-sized skeleton of T-Rex, the best place to do that is the Life Changes Over Time exhibit. If you are feeling brave enough to get yourself right in front of the jaws of one of the most dangerous predators in the ocean, then you will want to head to the Megalodon exhibit.

The admission prices for the museum are $13 for adults and $9.50 for seniors and children aged from 2 to 12. The admission is free for those under the age of 2. Also, there is an onsite restaurant called Reflections Cafe available.

These are the museums that are located in the suburbs of Detroit. So, you will want to visit all these museums for things to do in Detroit, Michigan.

The Hotel

If you are in search of a hotel to stay at during your time in Detroit, I have got you covered here. Here is a hotel that I would suggest for you.

Comfort Inn Near Greenfield Village

This hotel is located on Michigan Avenue just across the railroad tracks from The Henry Ford in Dearborn. There is complimentary breakfast available to you at the hotel. If you get hungry, a few nearby restaurants include Ford’s Garage, Eagle Tavern, and Lamy’s Diner. The hotel offers an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come equipped with WiFi, microwaves, coffee makers, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $74 to $181. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you visited any of these museums in the past? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Ann Arbor, Michigan Attractions – Fun For Families

Ann Arbor is home to the sweeping University of Michigan campus which itself is home to a few world class museums. The university normally hosts about 45,000 students or so. So, it is no wonder that Ann Arbor is brimming with young college-aged people looking to have a good time while studying at the university.

But that doesn’t mean that families aren’t welcome in the area. In fact, there is plenty of fun to be had in the area. Here are some fun Ann Arbor, Michigan attractions that you may want to check out.

(Photo courtesy of JuwanGOAT via Wikimedia)

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

(Photo courtesy of DebMomOf3 via Flickr)

The best place for you to go for family fun is the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum. It is located on East Ann Street in Ann Arbor’s vibrant downtown. It is housed inside a historic former firehouse. It is home to over 250 hands-on exhibits for you to take in with your little ones. They are spread out over four floors and focus on science, technology, engineering, and math.

Here are just a few examples of fun hands-on experiences you can expect to have there. One experience will involve you using blue blocks to try and build something interesting. Another experience involve a small water tornado and small jet streams where you can place plastic balls and watch them be moved with the currents. Another experience will have you brushing a giant set of teeth.

One of the experiences will have you using a world simulator to explore our planet and check out some of the most recognizable places that it has to offer. In one experience, you can test out the mini go karts. Or maybe you want to get a better sense of how your body stays active by getting your hands on the kid-friendly workout equipment.

The admission price for the museum is $12.50 for both adults and children. Babies who are 23 months or under will get free admission. If you are willing to visit on a Thursday after 5pm, you can enter the museum for $5. There is also a gift shop onsite.

Michigan Firehouse Museum

(Photo courtesy of sultmhoor via Flickr)

The Michigan Firehouse Museum is located on West Cross Street in Ypsilanti which is the city that neighbors Ann Arbor to the east. If you, as a family, are fascinated with firefighting, this is the museum for you. This museum is focused on the history of firefighting in the US state of Michigan. The fun part about this museum is exploring its cool collection of antique fire trucks, including the rare 1917 American LaFrance.

In addition to the fire trucks, other cool firefighting collections on display include extinguishers, emblems, bells, hats, helmets, ladders, breathing apparatus, clothing, hose carts, nozzles, and toy fire trucks. The admission prices to the museum are $5 for adults and $3 for children aged from 5 to 12. Free admission is given to those who are under the age of 5.

Also, if you visit the museum during the late summer, you will visit at the same time as the annual event called the Michigan Fire Truck Muster. This firefighting event takes place outdoors in a nearby park called Riverside Park. It sees the gathering of fire trucks for display. The fire trucks range from the antique to the present day and come equipped with hoses, bells, and whistles.

Schultz Outfitters

Does fly fishing sound like a fun activity for your family? If so, you may want to visit Schultz Outfitters. It is located just a short walk east of the Michigan Firehouse Museum on Cross Street in Ypsilanti. They offer classes where you can learn the art of fly fishing. The instructors there are all FFF certified. There are fly casting classes aimed at all skill levels from beginners to advanced skills.

If you have little to no experience with fly fishing, the best place for you to get started is with the Get Started classes. These classes are designed to help beginners to learn the solid fundamentals of casting. They are half-day classes that accommodate up to four students. If you have advanced fly fishing skills, there are classes that are aimed to help you improve on one specific area of fly fishing.

There are also fly tying classes available for all skill levels. Once you have learned the skills that you ned for fly fishing, there are guide trips available from the establishment where you can go and put your newly acquired skills to good use actually catching fish. There are two types of fish that you will catch during the guide trip. They are smallmouth and carp.

The guide trips happen in four seasons – from March to May, from June to July, from August to September, and from October to December. The rates vary depending on which guide trip you wish to participate in, but they range from as low as $150 to as high as $500. If you would like to check the rates, you can do so here.

If you want to make a reservation for the guide trip, you can call the establishment at 734-544-1761. It is worth noting that a $100 deposit is required to make a reservation. There is also an onsite shop selling a variety of fly fishing items.

Planet Rock

Another fun place for families to visit is Planet Rock. It is located on Aprill Drive on the western edge of Ann Arbor. This establishment offers indoor rock climbing. There are rock walls with different routes and heights designed for both first timers and experienced climbers. There is a section designed specifically with kids in mind.

There are also classes offered at the establishment if you would like to hone your rock climbing skills. This establishment requires a membership to take advantage of all that it has to offer. There are three membership tiers to choose from. They are starter membership at $95, monthly membership at $72 per month, and annual membership at $795 per year. There is also a pro shop onsite offering a variety of items for rock climbing.

These are the Ann Arbor, Michigan attractions where family fun can be had. So, I encourage you to check them all out if you happen to be in the area.

The Hotel

If you are in need of a place to stay overnight at during your time in Ann Arbor, I have you covered. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Ann Arbor Univ. Mich Area

This hotel is located just north of the interchange of State Street and Interstate 94 on the southern end of Ann Arbor. The hotel offers an onsite restaurant called Mallet’s Creek Bar & Grille. The hotel offers an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub. A fitness center is also available at the hotel.

All of the rooms and suites at the hotel offer WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $94 to $179. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you seeking out some family fun in the area? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Chelsea, MI – A Walking Tour Part Two

In my previous post, I discussed taking a walking tour as one of the things to do in Chelsea, MI. Since there are so many notable buildings to encounter during your Chelsea walking tour, I decided to make this into a two post series. The first post, which is my most recent one, covered the first half of the buildings. Today in this post, I will go over the second half of the buildings for the walking tour.

(Photo courtesy of Andrew Jameson via Wikimedia)

Heydlauff’s Appliance

Located across Main Street to the southwest of the Mack Building is the Heydlauff’s Appliance building. Back in the old days, the building housed office space for the Glazier Stove Co. This company was responsible for the production of oil stoves in the iconic Clock Tower.

The building that once stood there, was destroyed in 1970. But a new building was erected soon afterwards and has been housing Heydlauff’s Appliance Store ever since.

Chelsea Print and Graphics

This building is located on the southwestern corner of the intersection of Main and Middle Streets. It was built in 1906 or 1907 and once housed the Kempf Commercial Savings Bank. It also once housed a post office, a library, a shop called Groves 5 Cents & 10 Cents, and a Secretary of State office.

The building is notable for its modern white pressed roman brick veneer. It currently houses Chelsea Print and Graphics which is a printing, copying, and retail office supply store.

The Common Grill

Walk on the sidewalk south from Chelsea Print and Graphics and you will arrive at the building that now houses a restaurant called The Common Grill. It was built in 1893 and housed the W. P. Schenk Department Store which was the largest department store in the area at the time. Today, the building is notable for its original 1896 advertisement for Jaxon Soap that is posted on the south wall.

14th District Courthouse

(Photo courtesy of Dwight Burdette via Wikimedia)

Walk a bit further south to the intersection of Main and Park Streets and savor the beauty of the building that now houses the 14th District Courthouse. It was built in 1901 or 1902 to house the Chelsea Savings Bank. Frank Glazier built the building in honor of his father, George, who was Chelsea’s first banker. The building is notable for its Bedford limestone and granite exterior.

Also take note of two solid sandstone columns and terracotta tile roof. A carved stone memorial wreath is also found above the building’s entrance.

Old Chelsea Post Office

Located right across Park Street from the courthouse is the Old Chelsea Post Office. It was built in 1936 or 1937 to house Chelsea’s post office. This was a Depression era federal work project. The post office remained in the building until 2009 when it relocated south of town.

The building is notable for its three stone panels representing a train, a plane, and a ship. These were the three major modes of transportation that was used by the Postal Service at that time.

Chelsea District Library

The Chelsea District Library is across Main Street to the southeast from the old post office. It was built in 1860 as the stately residence for Chelsea’s founder, Elisha Congdon. He lived there until 1867. After Elisha’s death, the building was bought and converted into a hotel and boarding house.

It eventually became the library in 1958. The building underwent a major renovation in 2006. It house pictures of Chelsea’s past on the staircase walls.

Smokehouse 52 BBQ

Smokehouse 52 BBQ is located right across Main Street from the courthouse. The building that houses the bbq restaurant was built in 1889 or 1890. It used to house grocery stores including Schneider’s Grocery. It eventually became home to the bbq restaurant sometime after 2010.

Vogel’s & Foster’s

Walk on the sidewalk north from the bbq restaurant and you will reach a building that currently houses a clothing store called Vogel’s & Foster’s. It was built in 1876 or 1877. When it was first built, it housed Holmes Mercantile which was one of the oldest department stores in the area. The building then housed two separate clothing stores right next to each other.

One of them sold men’s clothings while the other one sold women’s clothings. They eventually combined to become the one clothing store that it is today. Much of the historic character is preserved including the vintage doors and the vintage 1911 water fountain.

Bill Ballagh Building

Just one building to the north of Vogel’s & Foster’s is the Bill Ballagh Building. It is renowned for its exterior features. These include cast iron columns and moldings at the front entrance and curved metal cornices at the roofline. The building was constructed in 1882 and has housed countless merchants over the past century.

These include a millinery, a jewelry store, an eye glass shop, a shoe store, a barber shop, an insurance company, and an accountant. The building’s window contain ever-changing displays of current events in town.

Municipal Building

Located right next door is the Municipal Building. It was built in 1910 or 1911 and for many years, was home to a general/hardware store called Holmes & Walker’s. The building also housed a number of town agencies including the fire and police departments.

The building went through extensive restoration in 2014 including a major recreation of the historic storefront. Today, it houses Moran’s Consigments and Breathe Yoga on the street level.

Chelsea House Victorian Inn

Take a walk to the east along Middle Street and you will arrive at the Chelsea House Victorian Inn. It was built in 1886 or 1887 and is most well known for being the home of US Congressman James Gorman who lived there for thirty years starting in the 1890’s. Today, it is a bed and breakfast inn called the Chelsea House Victorian Inn.

First Congregational Church

The First Congregational Church is located across Middle Street from the bed and breakfast inn. It was built in 1894 and replaced the wooden structure that was destroyed by a fire. The church is noted for its breathtaking stained glass windows. There are 29 of them in total.

That sums up all of the buildings that you will see on your walking tour of this charming small town. So, if you are looking for things to do in Chelsea, MI, I would suggest that you do the walking tour to try and get the most out of your time there. You can go here to view a map with all the buildings dotted on it. Your walking tour will be within the downtown area.

The Hotel

Should you need a place to stay overnight at in Chelsea, I have got you covered here. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Baymont by Wyndham Chelsea

This hotel is only a short distance south of downtown just off Interstate 94. The hotel offers complimentary breakfast. For the hungry, nearby dining options include Thompson’s Pizzeria, Uptown Coney Island, and Arctic Breakaway Restaurant & Bar. The hotel contains an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators.

The average rate for a standard room range from $88 to $160. You can go here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Have you seen any of these buildings in Chelsea? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Chelsea, MI – A Walking Tour Part One

Chelsea is just a twenty minutes drive west of the vibrant college town of Ann Arbor which is renowned for being the home to the University of Michigan. If you have visited the area, chances are that you have been to at least one of the two scenic open spaces which are collectively located to the west and north of Chelsea.

As for the town itself, it is a charming small town that is rich in history. There are many buildings that are of significant importance to Chelsea. So, one of the best things to do in Chelsea, MI is to take a walking tour. The walking tour is self-guided, but you can make use of a map to help you find your way during the tour.

You can view the map by heading here. Just know that you will largely be spending time in the downtown area. So, it should be easy to navigate during the tour. I will walk you through the buildings you will encounter on this tour. But, because there are so many buildings to cover as a part of this tour, I figured that I would divide this into two posts. So, consider this to be the first of two posts focused on the Chelsea walking tour.

(Photo courtesy of Andrew Jameson via Wikimedia)

Chelsea Historical Museum

Your first stop on the walking tour is the Chelsea Historical Museum. It is located on Jackson Street on the south side of the railroad track. This is one of the oldest house built in Chelsea. It was built in 1853 by Mial M. Boyd who was a wagon maker. He owned a wagon shop on North Street. This building now houses a small museum that explores the rich history of Chelsea.

Chelsea Train Depot

The Chelsea Train Depot is located across Jackson Street from the Chelsea Historical Museum. It was built in 1880 by Michigan Central Railroad which owned the railroad track that passes through town. It was noted for its triple-gabled windows on both ends of the building which allowed for views of incoming trains.

Once upon a time, the train depot was used to transport wool via train from Chelsea to all over the country. That helped the town to become one of the largest distributors of wool in the United States. The train depot continued to be in use until the early 1980’s. Today, the building houses a community center.

Chelsea Farmers Supply

Chelsea Farmers Supply is located next door to the west from the Chelsea Historical Museum. It was built in 1853. That makes this one of the oldest commercial buildings in Chelsea. It once housed a hotel called Chelsea House Hotel. It is now a feed store which has been operating since 1926 under various owners.

Mack Building

Continuing west to the intersection of Jackson and Main Streets just before the railroad crossing, you will find a triangle-shaped building called the Mack Building. It was built in 1900 by entrepreneur, A. R. Welch. It once housed the Chelsea Manufacturing Company which was a factory where several Welch automobiles were made.

Clock Tower

(Photo courtesy of F. D. Richards via Flickr)

The Clock Tower is located just across the railroad track from the Mack Building. This is the most recognizable building in all of Chelsea because of the clock tower that looms over downtown Chelsea. It was built in 1907 and housed Glazier Stove Works. It was noted at the time for the production and shipment of what was considered the brightest and best oil stoves.

They were shipped all over the US and South America. The Clock Tower also housed a 30,000 gallon wooden water tank. The building now houses numerous offices and business. There is also a lovely courtyard behind the building where you can enjoy music, art, and celebrations.

Chelsea Milling Co.

(Photo courtesy of Dwight Burdette via Wikimedia)

Looking across Main Street from the Clock Tower, you will find the Chelsea Milling Co. It is recognizable by its towering silos and the JIFFY lettering. It is renowned for its JIFFY brand of baking mixes which are produced there and then shipped around the world. The JIFFY brand was first introduced in 1930 by Mabel Holmes with her biscuit mix. You can even take a tour of the company.

Welfare Building

Located to the southeast of the Clock Tower on the north side of the railroad track lies the Welfare Building. When the Clock Tower was a working factory for making oil stoves, they had workers who commuted from Detroit for work. So, they needed somewhere fun to be after work and that was where the Welfare Building came in. It once housed a swimming pool, a basketball court, a billiard room, a theater, and a reading room.

La Maison

La Maison is located at the northeastern corner of the intersection of Main and Middle Streets. It was built in either 1878 or 1880. It is noted for its French-inspired decor brimming with comfortable furnishings and fabrics. The building is currently home to a home decor shop.

Zou Zou’s Cafe

Located opposite Main Street from La Maison is Zou Zou’s Cafe. The building that now houses the French themed restaurant was once home to Chelsea’s first bank. It also housed a drug store near the front entrance. The building was built in 1870 and was known as the Glazier Bank Drug Store.

The Potting Shed

The Potting Shed is located just to the west of the Zou Zou’s Cafe building on West Middle Street. It was constructed in 1882 or 1883. It once housed the seat of Chelsea’s government. It also housed an opera theater. The building currently houses a gift shop simply called the Potting Shed.

Global Marketplace

The Global Marketplace is located across Middle Street to the southwest from The Potting Shed. It was built in 1915 and once housed a blacksmith called the Hirth Blacksmith Shop. It is currently home to a shop called the Global Marketplace which sells fair trade products from around the world.

The building is notable for its embedded iron rings which are hung on the walls. These were installed by blacksmith Simon Hirth back in the old days for securing the horses.

This about covers the first half of the buildings that you will encounter during the walking tour of Chelsea. I will cover the second half soon in my next post. So, I would suggest that you stay tuned for that if you are planning to do the walking tour as one of the things to do in Chelsea, MI.

The Hotel

Now, if you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at in Chelsea, I have got you covered here. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Baymont by Wyndham Chelsea

This hotel is located just a short distance south of downtown Chelsea near Interstate 94. There is free breakfast available at the hotel. Should you get hungry, you can find Thompson’s Pizzeria, Uptown Coney Island, and Arctic Breakaway Restaurant & Bar all located near the hotel. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and fitness center available at the hotel for you to use.

All of the rooms and suites at the hotel come with WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $88 to $160. You can head here to explore your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you planning on touring Chelsea? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Things To Do In Chelsea, MI For Outdoors Enthusiasts

Chelsea is a charming small town in of itself, but the outdoors also feature prominently in the area. The town is located around twenty minutes west of the vibrant college town of Ann Arbor via Interstate 94. Some of the town’s surrounding scenery is taken up by two state recreation areas – Waterloo and Pinckney. So, if you are looking to the outdoors for things to do in Chelsea, MI, you will want to visit these two scenic areas.

Waterloo State Recreation Area

(Photo courtesy of DawnBreaksOverMarblehead via Wikimedia)

Waterloo State Recreation Area is located to the west of Chelsea. This is the largest park in the Lower Peninsula of the US state of Michigan and the third largest in the state overall. The recreation area is home to 20,000 acres of forest, lakes, and wetlands. It is notable for its premiere mountain biking trails. The most well known of the trails for mountain biking is the DTE Energy Foundation Trail.

The overall length of this trail is ten miles. This single track trail is known as a “flow trail” because it is mechanically cut in order to create highly structured grades and outslopes. Technical, downhill, and climbing features go into the trail’s design. The trail is intended to suit mountain bikers of varying experience levels. There are four loops on this trail.

They are the Green Lake Loop with a length of 5.2 miles, Big Kame Loop with a length of 4.75 miles, Winn Loop with a length of 8 miles, and Sugar Loop with a length of 4 miles. The Sugar Loop is the newest and most technical segment of the trail. There are two trailheads from where to start your mountain biking journey on the trail. The first one is located on North M-52 and the second one is located on Cassidy Road.

(Photo courtesy of DawnBreaksOverMarblehead via Wikimedia)

Fishing is another popular activity within the recreation area. There are a total of eleven lakes that are available for you to fish at. The most common types of fish that can be lured out are bass, panfish, and pike. Dedicated fishing piers are available on Big Portage Lake and Crooked Lake. Fishing can also be done via a boat. Certain lakes will have public boat launches for you to slip your boat onto the water if you have one.

If you don’t own a boat, you can rent one at Big Portage Lake. The recreation area also feature the Gerald E. Eddy Discover Center. This is basically a museum that consists of exhibits that showcase the geology and natural habitats of the recreation area – both in the present day and during the pre-settler days.

Pinckney State Recreation Area

(Photo courtesy of Robert via Flickr)

Pinckney State Recreation Area is located to the north of Chelsea. It is connected to Waterloo State Recreation Area by the 35-mile Waterloo-Pinckney Trail. The terrain of this recreation area consists of open grasslands, hilly oak forests, and lowlands with shrub swamps. Lakes are also a common sight within the recreation area. In fact, there are over twenty lakes located there.

The recreation area is noted for its extensive system of trails. In total, there are over forty miles of multi-use trails available for you to use within the recreation area. They include Pinckney-Crooked Lake Trail, Pinckney-Equestrian Trails, Pinckney-Losee Lake Trail, Pinckney-Potawatomi Trail, and Pinckney-Silver Lake Trail. These trails are in addition to the Pinckney-Waterloo Trail that I mentioned earlier.

As is the case with the first recreation area, fishing is popular within this recreation area. Those of you who are looking for piers to fish from can find them on Silver Lake and Crooked Lake. Silver Lake also has shore fishing if you prefer it that way. There are two public beaches available at Silver Lake and Halfmoon Lake if you want to go swimming, but don’t have a boat to jump off of.

For those of you who do have boats, improved boat launches are plentiful. They are found at Bruin Lake, Halfmoon Lake, South Lake, North Lake, Joslin Lake, and Portage Lake. It is worth noting that if you go boating via a boat launch via either Bruin Lake or Halfmoon Lake, you will be able to access a chain of seven lakes. Also, if you want to go boating, but don’t own a boat, you can rent one at Silver Lake.

If you want to have lunch and enjoy the scenery. There are picnic areas available at Silver Lake and Halfmoon Lake. There are also volley courts, horseshoe pits, and playgrounds available at both of these lakes for you to play in. For those of you who need to change clothes and/or want to take a shower while you are in the recreation area, there is a beach house available at Silver Lake.

So, outdoors enthusiasts will want to take in the scenery in these two state recreation areas for things to do in Chelsea, MI. Also, if you are still hungry for more to do once you have already hit the outdoors, I would suggest that you travel east to nearby Ann Arbor for some downtown fun.

Also, the sweeping University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is home to some world-class museums. So, they are well worth checking out too.

The Hotel

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight during your time in the area, I am happy to help you out with this. Here is a hotel that I would suggest for you.

Baymont by Wyndham Chelsea

This hotel is located on Commerce Park Drive just north of its interchange with Interstate 94 in Chelsea. This will put you within easy distance to the two state recreation areas as well as Ann Arbor. The hotel offers free breakfast. Should you get hungry, nearby dining options include Thompson’s Pizzeria, Uptown Coney Island, and Arctic Breakaway Restaurant & Bar.

The hotel houses an indoor heated swimming pool. A fitness center is also available at the hotel for your workout needs. All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, coffee makers, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $88 to $160. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking to go on an outdoors adventure in these two state recreation areas? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Ann Arbor, Michigan Attractions – Downtown Fun

In my previous two posts, I talked about the world class Ann Arbor, Michigan attractions that the University of Michigan has to offer. That includes the museums and natural areas. Thanks in a big part to the university’s huge presence, the city has a vibrant downtown that is filled with fun activities. Whether you decide to check out art galleries, attend a live music performance, play games like ping pong, or treat yourself to one of the many tasty sweets, you are bound to find something fun downtown.

(Photo courtesy of Chriswaco via Wikimedia)

Art Galleries

Let’s start with the art galleries. There are at least two art galleries downtown for you to check out. The Ann Arbor Art Center is located on West Liberty Street just west of Main Street. This art gallery has been operating for over a century, having opened in 1909. That makes this art gallery one of the oldest and most respected community arts organizations in the US state of Michigan.

The art gallery is home to three rotating exhibition galleries that showcase artwork from local and regional artists. But, this isn’t all that the art gallery has to offer. There are fun hands-on classes available in its art education studios designed to help you hone your artistic talent in areas such as painting, drawing, and printmaking. Oh and also, there is a gallery shop where you can buy original artwork.

The WSG Gallery is located inside the same building as the first art gallery I just mentioned. This art gallery also focuses on artwork created by artists from the local area. There are different types of paintings showcased at the art gallery such as watercolor and landscape. There are also different kinds of sculptures housed inside the art gallery.

These include ceramic, assemblage, cast bronze, and art installation. In addition to the paintings and sculptures, other types of artwork showcased include paper arts, book arts, fiber, jewelry, art glass, drawings, photographs, and printmaking. WSG Gallery has been voted the best fine arts gallery in Ann Arbor in 2009, 2011, 2015, and 2016. So, you won’t want to miss it.

Live Music Performances

(Photo courtesy of rosefirerising via Flickr)

Live music performances are a common sight to behold in downtown Ann Arbor. Here are a few places where you can go and see them. First up is Blue LLama Jazz Club. It is located on South Main Street south of Liberty Street. The establishment has a blue-colored atmosphere overall. The live music performances there are focused on the jazz music genre.

This establishment offers some kind of combo where you can dine on a meal while watching a jazz performance. The performances are scheduled on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights every week with earlier schedules for brunch available on Saturdays and Sundays. Another place that feature live music performances is The Ark.

It is located next door from Blue LLama Jazz Club. This is a music club that has seating for up to four hundred people. The performances there cover the folk and roots music genres. They happen over three hundred nights per year.

Downtown Fun Games

(Photo courtesy of unknown via LocalWiki)

Ann Arbor’s downtown is a great place for you to play a variety of fun games. If you are into ping pong, you will want to head to The Pretzel Bell. It is located at the intersection of Main and Liberty Street. The restaurant and bar has a University of Michigan vibe to it with decades of memorabilia of its sport teams filling the walls and cases. The ping pong tables are located in the basement of the restaurant and bar.

If you are into board games, the best place to go downtown for that is Blom Meadworks. It is located on South 4th Avenue just south of Huron Street. It houses a taproom with lots of board games for you to participate in, such as a quick party game and a strategy game that lasts for multiple hours. The establishment is renowned for its meads and ciders. So, you will want to try one out as you play.

For those of you seeking out a place downtown to play trivia, there are two places for you to do so. The first one is Conor O’Neill’s which is located on South Main Street south of Liberty Street. It is an Irish pub designed with imported wood and stone. Haymaker Public House is the other place for playing trivia. It is located at the intersection of Washington Street and 4th Avenue.

It is well known for being the best sports bar in Ann Arbor. They have live trivia shows for you to participate in.

Sweets of Downtown

Ready for some delicious sweets? Good, let’s get to a few great spots downtown for your tasting buds. Are you clamoring for ice cream? I have got someplace downtown for you to check out. It is called Blank Slate Creamery. It is located at the intersection of Liberty and 1st Streets. The ice cream can be order in many different forms such as cones, cups, shakes, sundaes, ice cream sandwiches, and ice cream cakes.

There are many flavors of ice cream at the creamery to choose from. Some example include salty caramel, cookies & cream, banana pudding, chocolate fudge brownie, garden mint chip, Madagascar vanilla, browned butter cookie dough, and roasted butter pecan. Another place for desserts is Le Bon Macaron which is located on South 4th Avenue between Washington and Liberty Streets.

It is a French themed bakery that is noted for its macarons. When you see them, they look like colorful burgers filled with buttercream. There are many flavors of macarons to choose from at the bakery. Some of them include strawberry swirl, cherry vanilla, chocolate peanut butter, white chocolate, chocolate banana, strawberry cheesecake, blueberry, and honey lavender.

All in all, there is a lot of fun to be had in downtown Ann Arbor. So, be sure to add downtown to your Ann Arbor, Michigan attractions checklist.

Ann Arbor Hotel

Should you need a place to stay at in Ann Arbor, I have got you covered here. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Ann Arbor Univ. Mich Area

This hotel is located just north of the interchange of State Street and Interstate 94. It is only a short drive north to downtown via State Street. If you are hungry, the hotel houses a restaurant called Mallet’s Creek Bar & Grille. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel. A fitness center is also available for your workouts.

All of the hotel’s rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $94 to $179. You can go here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you planning anything fun to do downtown? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Ann Arbor, Michigan Attractions To Soak In The Natural Beauty

Ann Arbor is a pretty college town that is famous for being the home to the sweeping University of Michigan campus which houses the city’s most well known museums. The city has been nicknamed “Tree Town” and for good reason. It is densely forested in and around town. The Huron River snakes its way through portions of Ann Arbor and contributes to its beautiful scenery overall.

There are two Ann Arbor, Michigan attractions in particular where I think you will appreciate the city’s natural beauty the most. They are the Nichols Arboretum and the Matthaei Botanical Gardens. They are both under the University of Michigan umbrella.

Nichols Arboretum

(Photo courtesy of Dwight Burdette via Wikimedia)

The Nichols Arboretum is located on Washington Heights on the eastern side of the university campus. This is a nice park that is home to a variety of gardens, flowers, and plants. The most notable of them is the peony garden. The peonies glow nicely in pinks, whites, reds, and yellows, especially when they are in bloom which happens around mid May through to mid June.

Owing to its complex glacial past, the arboretum is hilly in terrain. As a result of this, you will be treated to gorgeous views from certain vantages. There are a handful of area to note of when it comes to the arboretum. First up is Alex Dow Field. This is where you can blend yourself into a sea of prairies. The prairies are known to attract many types of birds and insects. So, you may want to look out for them.

The second area is called the Main Valley. This area is considered to be the heart of the arboretum. On the sloped lawns in this area, you can have picnics, lay out in the sun, form and engage in lawn games, among other things. Also, in one section of the area, you will get to watch a live performance called Shakespeare in the Arb.

This area is surrounded by beautiful woodlands of native oaks, walnuts, and pines as well as tree types from other countries including Turkey, Japan, and China. Magnolia Glen is the next area of the arboretum. It is notable for the hardy magnolias which are trees with impressive large leaves. Native and Chinese tulip trees are also found in this area.

(Photo courtesy of K2D2vaca via Flickr)

The Oak Openings area is a beautiful wooded area within the arboretum. At least one trail travels through this area, making for a peaceful hike. Oak openings is the name given to the quasi-open woodlands and prairies that were commonly found in southern Michigan and other Midwestern states centuries ago. Today, they are rare with less than one percent of the original oak openings remaining.

The River Landing area is where you can get down and personal with the Huron River. This is a popular area for bird-watching. Also, you may spot people canoeing on the river through this picturesque area. This is another great spot for picnics. There is also a hiking trail that passes by the river. Schoolgirls Glen is an interesting area in the arboretum.

It is a narrow valley with remnants of an earlier glacial deposit found beneath. As you hike the steep trail through this area, you will notice the bottom showing its severe erosion resulting from street run-offs. In total, there are nearly 3.5 miles worth of hiking trails that wind their way throughout the arboretum. There are also benches along the way too, should you want to sit down and enjoy the scenery.

Matthaei Botanical Gardens

(Photo courtesy of Dwight Burdette via Wikimedia)

The Matthaei Botanical Gardens is located on North Dixboro Road east of US Highway 23 in Ann Arbor. The beautifully designed botanical gardens is divided into eleven distinct gardens. The Bonsai and Penjing garden is known for its traditional Japanese and Chinese styles of trees. It also has a structure designed in the architectural style of these two countries.

The Great Lakes garden is, as the name indicates, focused on the habits and plants that are native to the Great Lakes region of the US which include the state of Michigan. Among the habitats showcased in this garden include dune, limestone plain, and prairie. This garden contains a series of accessible pathways, boardwalks, and overlooks.

The Gaffield Children’s garden is designed specifically with young children in mind. So, if you have any with you, be sure to visit this garden. It features a builder’s garden, a maze, a digging pit, and a mud garden. The Herb Knot garden is designed in the 16th century English Tudor garden style. It houses plants that are normally used in Asian, Native American, and European cooking and healing traditions.

The Gateway garden primarily focuses on ornamental plants originally native to North, Central, or South America. The Perennial garden is notable for its color-coordinated waves of bloom from plants that are appropriate for the local area. The Woodland Wildflower garden is home to more than one hundred native species of ferns, woody plants, and spring wildflowers from the southern Great Lakes region.

(Photo courtesy of Emily via Flickr)

The Medicinal garden contains plants that are used in medicines meant to treat human disease. The Rock garden is primarily concerned with plants that are designed to thrive on exposed crevices and cliff faces. Succulents, tight cushions, creeping mats, and silvery foliage are all used to support plants in this garden. The Urban Pocket garden is notable for using rocks to tie up the plants and trees.

The garden is also notable for its curved bench that behaves like a fence around the garden. The Sitting garden is basically what it sounds like. It is a garden with seating designed to allow you to relax and enjoy the scenery. In addition to all these gardens, the botanical gardens is home to a conservatory. It is designed to house plants that wouldn’t be able to survive outdoor in the area.

It has three sections, each representing a different biome. They are tropical, temperate, and arid. A visitor’s center and gift shop called The Garden Store is also located onsite.

These are the two Ann Arbor, Michigan attractions I believe will help you get the most out of the area’s natural beauty. If you feel like you have not had enough of nature, you may want to head east to nearby Detroit and visit Belle Isle Park which is located in the middle of the scenic Detroit River.

Ann Arbor Hotel

If you are looking for a hotel to stay overnight at in Ann Arbor, I have got you covered. Here is a hotel I would suggest for you.

Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites Ann Arbor Univ. Mich Area

This hotel is located just north of the interchange of State Street and Interstate 94 in the southern portion of Ann Arbor. The University of Michigan campus is only five minutes away from the hotel via State Street. The hotel houses an onsite restaurant and bar called Mallet’s Creek Bar & Grille. There is an indoor heated swimming pool and hot tub at the hotel.

If you are looking for somewhere to workout, there is a fitness center within the hotel. All of the hotel rooms and suites come with WiFi, microwaves, and mini refrigerators. The average rate for a standard room range from $94 to $179. You can head here to browse your booking options and/or check out some photos.

What are your thoughts? Are you looking to fall in love with nature in Ann Arbor? Feel free to leave a comment below.