The northern state of Michigan is often overlooked when it comes to planning epic trips to the U.S. but it shouldn’t be underestimated as a destination to take in some cultural hot spots and immerse oneself in nature.
Known for fishing thanks to its 3,288-mile coastline with over 11,000 inland lakes across the mainland region and upper peninsula (connected by the Mackinac Bridge), while trees cover 90 per cent of the latter area. The aptly named Great Lake State has the largest freshwater coastline in the country and Michigan’s name derives from the word ‘mishigamaa,’ which means ‘large water’ in Ojibwe, rather appropriate seeing as you’ll always be at least a few miles away from a natural body of water when you’re there.
The 10th most populous state in the U.S, Michigan boasts the home of the American automobile industry, the city of Detroit, as well as several other noteworthy attractions and experiences to take in during a trip there. With this in mind, we have highlighted some of the best things to do when visiting Michigan below, so continue reading to find out more.
Michigan Science Center
The Michigan Science Center has been the main science and technology museum in the state since the Detroit Science Center was closed in 2011. The former was opened to the public in 2012 and houses Michigan’s only Chrysler IMAX Dome Theatre, as well as the DTE Energy Energy Sparks Theater and the Dassault Systèmes Planetarium.
There are over 250 hands-on exhibits available for kids that focus on engineering, health, physical science, and outer space. The Chrysler Science Stage, which offers educational performances, is another top attraction therein, while the Toyota Engineering 4D Theater displays film screenings in 4D.
The Detroit Zoo is one of the most prominent attractions in the city, especially for families. The zoo brings in over 1.5 million visitors every year and is known as the first of its kind in the U.S to have barless habitats for its animals.
The 125-acre site originally opened in 1883 and was remodelled in 1928. It houses over 2,000 animals spanning more than 240 species placed in natural habitats that are very similar to the creatures’ original ecosystems. The Polk Penguin Conservation Center, a 326,000-gallon habitat, is one of the most incredible exhibits there housing over 75 penguins.
The Tauber Family Railroad, the Korman Tadpole, and Rissman Playventure children’s playground are other top attractions at the zoo, with a classic carousel and a 4D theatre and virtual reality ride also available.
There are several pro sports teams in Michigan, including the NBA’s Detroit Pistons who were a powerhouse several years ago. There are also the Detroit Lions of the NFL and Major League Baseball’s Detroit Tigers, no doubt offering some thrilling moments for spectators. The NCAA’s Michigan Wolverines’ basketball and football programmes are also pretty famous, so you’ll never be short of some sporting action to take in while visiting this state.
Sports are pretty big in Detroit and so is sports betting, which is now legal both via retail and online. Outlets such as BetMGM Michigan give fans the best opportunities to take part as they offer unbelievable promotions such as welcome bonuses of up to $1,000, so you can sure that you’ll find many ways to enjoy what’s happening on the court, pitch or field, however you like to take part.
A military outpost on Mackinac Island that overlooks Haldimand Bay, Fort Mackinac was built by the British army during the American Revolutionary War. It would be used as a U.S Army outpost in the 19th century during battles like the War of 1812.
The fort was turned into a museum after it was closed in 1895, with all of the 14 original buildings restored to accommodate visitors, while lots of historic exhibits are available for viewing. Its Post Commissary plays a 20-minute documentary at certain intervals and a lucky guest is offered the opportunity to load and fire the fort’s cannon every day.
Fort Mackinac is also good for dining options as it houses an all-day tea room and various food carts.
The Henry Ford
The Henry Ford has an expansive indoor and outdoor museum complex in Detroit suburb, Dearborn, that is the largest of its kind in America. With attractions such as the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation which goes into detail about the famous automobile entrepreneur and his iconic car company, it attracts over 1.7 million visitors on a yearly basis.
There are also multiple exhibits paying homage to American heroes and businessmen from the 19th century who made significant contributions to American society, including Abraham Lincoln’s chair from his assassination, articles from the bicycle shop owned by the inventors of the aeroplane, Orville and Wilbur Wright, and the bus involved in Rosa Parks’ history-changing moment.