Take Your Pick
Battle Creek, MI
Smells Like Breakfast
Cereal Capital of the World - You can close your eyes and know you are in Battle Creek because the aroma of toasted cereal floats on the breeze. Welcome to the "Cereal Capital of the World" or "Cereal City", the location of the Kellogg Company headquarters and a Post Cereals' Factory. It is here where the first cold cereal was invented by John Harvey Kellogg (1852-1943) and his brother William Keith Kellogg (1860-1951). The two vegetarian brothers were tired of people eating meat and eggs for breakfast and created the flaking processes which produced the first corn flakes.
Bloomfield Township, MI
Last Known Location of Jimmy Hoffa
Jimmy Hoffa - James Riddle Hoffa (1913-1982) was the President of the Teamsters Union from 1958 to 1971. He built the trucker's union from a mere 75,000 members up past the one million member mark. After spending time in prison for bribery and fraud, Hoffa was again looking to regain his leadership role with the union. Then in the early afternoon of July 30, 1975 Jimmy Hoffa disappeared, never to be seen again. He was last seen waiting in the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox Restaurant (now called Andiamo Italia West). Nobody has ever been arrested in connection with his disappearance and although half of Michigan has been dug up, his body has never been discovered.
Chippewa, MI
A Day Watching the Ships
Soo Locks - There is only one way for a ship to get from Lake Superior to the lower Great Lakes and that's through the Soo Locks located between Sault Ste Marie, Michigan and Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. Over 11,000 vessels this way comes, traversing one of the four locks that step the ships down roughly 20 feet along the St. Marys River. It makes for a relaxing day watching the ships inch past. Being a sock monkey I had to ask when the next ship arrived, and the answer was "when it gets here". There is no set schedule, but you can be assured it won't be long for the next one. And to top it all, it's free!!!
Dearborn, MI
Historic Buildings from around the USA
Greenfield Village - Two museums make up "The Henry Ford", the Henry Ford Museum and the historic Greenfield Village. The Greenfield Village contains over 100 authentic buildings brought here from all over the nation. The collection includes the Wright Brother's bicycle shop and home from Dayton Ohio, the Logan County Illinois Courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law, and Thomas Edison's Menlo Park New Jersey laboratory. Horse draw carriages, Model Ts, and Thomas the Train can all be ridden in the village and are great fun for the monkeys.
Dearborn, MI
Home of the Wienermobile
Henry Ford Museum - The Henry Ford Museum is 12 acres of classic Americana under one roof. There are cars, trucks, airplanes, locomotives, farm implements, machine works, signs, clocks, jewelry, furniture and more. These aren't just replicas, but originals such as the one and only Dymaxion House (the 1920s house of the future), the limousine in which JFK was assassinated, the Montgomery Alabama bus on which Rosa Parks was arrested, and the chair Abraham Lincoln was shot in. There is even a Wienermobile. Next to the museum is a Ford Factory where you can see first-hand how a vehicle is produced.
Detroit, MI
Belle Isle Park
Belle Isle - Belle Isle is where you go to escape the city life of D-Town, Detroit that is. This nearly 1,000 acre park in the middle of the Detroit River is just a few miles from downtown and barely a stone's throw from Windsor, Canada. It is a great place to have a picnic, run, swim and enjoy the sights. On the island is the Belle Isle Nature Zoo, the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, the Conservatory containing a large collection of orchids and a water fountain designed by the world famous architect Cass Gilbert (the designer of the US Supreme Court Building).
Detroit, MI
See Where the Motown Sound Started
Motown Historical Museum - Motown Records (originally Tamla Records) was created in 1959 by Berry Gordy, Jr. with $800 borrowed from his parents. Within ten years he turned that $800 into $20 million by signing artists that include, The Jackson Five, Marvin Gaye, "Little" Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and the Supremes and many more. When visiting the Motown Historical Museum you will stand in the very recording studio the artists performed in - which looks exactly as it did in the 1960s. A guided tour takes you through the entire two-story house which is filled with original photos, gold records, album covers, and posters. You may even get to perform that Motown sound yourself.
Empire, MI
Sleeping Bear Dunes
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore - An old Native American legend claims that a mama bear and her two cubs were swimming in Lake Michigan to escape a fire in distant Wisconsin. Mama bear made it to the shores of Michigan and waited for her two cubs, but they never arrived. Mama bear is now the large sand dune on shore and her cubs the North and South Manitou Islands. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is more than just a legend though; it has miles of pristine lakeshore, dozens of hiking trails, and enough water to fill Lake Michigan. Wait, it is Lake Michigan. Holy cow!!!
Grand Rapids, MI
Greenhouses of Frederik Meijer
Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park - As can be seen by the name, the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park combines two great things, a gorgeous botanical gardens and a must-see outdoor sculpture park. The gardens are on display both indoors and outdoors, with over 500 species of plants displayed in its fives story green house and hundreds more in the gardens around the outdoor amphitheater, and in its English and Woodland Gardens. The 30 acre outdoor sculpture park contains enormous and sometimes whimsical works from world renowned artists. There are over 160 sculptures throughout the entire park.
Grand Rapids, MI
One Giant Leap for Monkey-kind
Gerald R Ford Presidential Library and Museum - Gerald R Ford (1913-2006) was our 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977. He was born Leslie Lynch King, Jr. in Omaha Nebraska (changing his name later), he went on to become a talented football player at Michigan University and led the team to two National Championships, and later finished law school at Yale University. The Gerald R Ford Presidential Library and Museum is housed in two separate campuses, with the library in Ann Arbor and the museum in Grand Rapids. The museum begins with displays on the final days of the Nixon Presidency and details Ford's years as the President.
Hell, MI
There's Ice Cream in Hell
Town Named Hell - Unlike Dante's Hell which has nine levels, Michigan's Hell has just three, Uptown, Midtown and Downtown. Each "level" contains one building, where you can get an ice cream cone, pose for photos by signs and cut-outs or mail a post card from Hell to your friends. The people are very friendly and will greet as you enter their store with a big "how the Hell are you?" The fun part is saying all the Hell phrases while you're there like, "I've been to Hell and back" and "it was a cold day in Hell". Finally, don't forget to pick up an exit visa; you certainly don't want to be stuck in Hell.
Holland, MI
Tulip Time in Holland
Tulip Time - When you think of Tulips, you probably think of Holland. Luckily for us, we don't have to change that association because Holland, Michigan is home to the Tulip Time, Tulip Festival. Each May the town puts on the largest and most colorful tulip festival in the USA. On display are hundreds of thousands of tulips in parks, lining streets and in gardens. Activities include Dutch dancing, Dutch music, Dutch costumes, Dutch food, and Dutch art. So put on your wooden shoes and enjoy a colorful time. And if you are on a date, this is the perfect place to go Dutch treat.
Lansing, MI
Where are the Wolverines?
State Capitol Building - The Michigan State Capitol Building was completed in 1878 and is the third building to serve as the state's capitol. The Neoclassical design was the inspiration of architect Elijah E Myers (who also designed the Texas and Colorado State Capitol Buildings). On the grounds of the capitol are several monuments, including one of Austin Blair Michigan's Civil War Governor, and many species of trees and flowers. The interior of the three story structure contains one of the prettiest views of any dome in the USA. Muses circle the rotunda and pull your eyes up to the oculus of the dome.
Ludington, MI
One of about 250 Lighthouses
Lighthouses - Michigan has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States, coming in at just under 3,300 miles. With all that coastline, and all those ships sailing on the four out five Great Lakes that border the state, Michigan is going to need a lot of Lighthouses. And indeed it has. There are about 125 lighthouses in good condition clinging to its tempestuous shores and an additional 125 lights in varying states of disrepair (but that adds to their allure). Near Ludington are three fine specimens, Little Sable Point Lighthouse, Ludington North Breakwater Light, and in Ludington State Park the Big Sable Lighthouse (this one involves a four mile round trip hike - but you can do it).
Mackinac Island, MI
The Grand Hotel with Tulips
Mackinac Island - A visit to Mackinac Island is a step back in time. You won't find cars, motorcycles, Segways or any motorized vehicles here, an ordinance limits transportation to horse drawn carriages, bicycles and foot. This slows the pace of the island and lets visitors enjoy its natural beauty. There are plenty of things to see within walking distance of the port; Fort Mackinac, a beautifully preserved 18th century military outpost, the stunning Grand Hotel, and shops and historic buildings along Main and Market Streets. But to see the best the island has to offer, take a tour aboard a horse drawn carriage.
Mackinaw City, MI
World's Largest Suspension Bridge
Mackinac Bridge - Spanning the five miles of water, called the Straits of Mackinac, between St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula and Mackinaw City in the Lower Peninsula is the Mackinac Bridge. Also known as the "Big Mac", the bridge first opened to traffic on Nov 1, 1957 and at the time was the largest suspension bridge in the world. This modern marvel can withstand winds in excess of 120 mph and fight off the large Great Lakes ice flows. On the south side of the bridge is the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and Maritime Museum which is nice to visit and has a great view of the bridge.
Paradise, MI
Lower Tahquamenon Falls
Tahquamenon Falls State Park - The Tahquamenon Falls State Park boasts two, root beer colored waterfalls in its 50,000 acre wilderness. The dramatic Upper Falls, which is 200 feet wide, drops the Tahquamenon River 50 feet in a single shot. The less energetic, but equally enjoyable Lower Falls is a series of five waterfalls that rush past and surround a small island. A moderately strenuous four mile hiking trail connects the two falls or they can be easily reached by car. If time permits, a great way to get close to the Lower Falls is to rent a row boat and paddle right up to them.
Paradise, MI
A Big Lake They Call Gichigami
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum - From the 1600s to present day, as many as 6,000 vessels have shipwrecked on the Great Lakes, 200 of which have gone down just off the coast of Whitefish Point. The most famous of these shipwrecks is the Edmund Fitzgerald, which sunk just 15 miles out on Nov 9, 1975. There is a 15 minute film on the Mighty Fitz and its final voyage (it also documents how the ship's bell came to be at the museum). The film is very well done and don't be surprised if you get a little choked up watching it. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum also contains artifacts, pictures, and biographies from other ships lost on the lakes as well as Lake Superior's oldest working lighthouse.
Port Austin, MI
Traverse the Five Great Lakes
Great Lakes Circle Tour - Winding 6,500 miles around the five Great Lakes, through eight US states and one Canadian Province, and over the St Lawrence River is the Great Lakes Circle Tour. The entire tour is comprised of the five individual lake tours (Huron, Ontario, Michigan, Erie and Superior) that skirt the coast of each lake. Along the way are plenty of opportunities to dip your toes in the lake's icy waters or photograph the hundreds of lighthouses that line the shores.
Portage, MI
Like No Place Else on Earth
Kalamazoo Air Zoo - The two campus Kalamazoo Air Zoo is a combination aircraft museum and amusement park. There are over 50 aircraft throughout the museum portion of the building including a JN-4 affectionately named a "Jenny", Top Gun's F-14 Tomcat, and an SR-71B Blackbird which was used on many secret missions. And hanging from the rafters is one of this monkey's favorite planes, the P-40N Warhawk (I think I just like its big sharky smile). The amusement park portion of the building has flight simulators, a "Space Sick" ride that will make you queasy, and a balloon style ride. The Air Zoo is also home to the world's largest hand painted mural, you can't miss it.