Michigan, known as the Great Lakes State, is the 10th-most populous state in the U.S and, as such, is a popular tourist destination. The state’s name is derived from the word “mishigamaa,” meaning “large water,” so, you’re unlikely to be very far from a natural body of water if you’re there.
Over 11,000 inland lakes exist across the mainland region and Upper Peninsula, which are connected by the Mackinac Bridge. The state also boasts the largest freshwater coastline in America.
Apart from the abundance of water, Michigan is home to the country’s automobile industry and there is a whole lot to do if you’re visiting. From wildlife, to science, to sports, the Great Lakes State has it all.
Let’s check out some of the best things to do once you’re there.
The Detroit Zoo is one of the most popular locations in said city and is a top family attraction, bringing in over 1.4 million visitors on a yearly basis. The zoo is believed to be the first in the U.S to have barless habitats for resident animals.
Originally opened in 1883, the 125-acre venue was remodeled in 1928. It’s home to more than 2,000 animals, including over 240 species, placed in natural habitats similar to their original ecosystems.
The Polk Penguin Conservation Center is one of the more notable exhibits, with over 75 penguins in a 326,000-gallon space. Other attractions include the Tauber Family Railroad, the Korman Tadpole, and the Rissman Playventure children’s playground.
Michigan Science Center
This has been the main science and technology museum in Michigan since the Detroit Science center was shut down 11 years ago. The Michigan Science Center opened its doors to the public in 2012 and has been a top attraction ever since.
The location is where you could find the state’s only Chrysler IMAX Dome Theatre while there’s also the DTE Energy Sparks Theater and the Dassault Systemes Planetarium. The Chrysler Science Stage is one of the more popular attractions and offers visitors educational presentations, with the Toyota Engineering 4D Theater has screenings in – you guessed it – 4D.
The Michigan Science Center also boasts over 250 hands-on exhibits for kids spanning health, engineering, science, and outer space.
Fort Mackinac is a military outpost on Mackinac Island overlooking Haldimand Bay. The fort was built by the British army during the American Revolution and was used as an outpost for the U.S army in the 19th century during other wars such as the War of 1812.
It was converted to a museum after it was closed in 1895 and all 14 buildings have been restored to accommodate visitors. There are countless historic exhibits on show while the Post Commissary therein has a 20-minute documentary that plays at various intervals. Every day, a lucky visitor is offered the chance to load and fire the cannon on the fort for a few extra dollars.
Guests can also dine at Fort Mackinac as there’s an all-day tea room and a number of food carts available.
Detroit is home to multiple professional sports teams, including the Detroit Pistons of the NBA, the NFL’s Detroit Lions, and the MLB’s Detroit Tigers. On the college scene, there are the NCAA’s Michigan Wolverines basketball and football programs.
The city’s sports teams haven’t been very successful in recent years but there is hope that the Pistons could make a splash next NBA season, with Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey now both part of their roster. The team experienced most of its success during the “Bad Boy” era, winning two consecutive championships in 1989 and 1990 before Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls took over the NBA. They won another title in 2004, with Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Wallace, and Rasheed Wallace teaming up to bring the glory days back to Detroit.
Given how sports are big in Detroit, it stands to reason that sports betting is also big. Wagering on sporting events is now legal therein while gaming at casinos such as Michigan Pokerstars is also allowed.
The Henry Ford
Detroit’s Henry Ford, located in the Dearborn suburbs, boasts large indoor and outdoor museums and is the largest of its kind in the U.S. The venue houses the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, where folks can become acquainted with the world-famous automobile maker and his car company that is still going strong today. Over 1.7 million visitors come in every year.
The Henry Ford also houses a number of exhibits that pay tribute to American heroes and businessmen from the 19th century who made notable contributions to American society. These include pieces from the bicycle shop owned by Orville and Wilbur Wright, the inventors of the airplane, the chair former U.S President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated in, and the bus in which Rosa Parks stood her ground.