Allentown
46° F
Overcast
Overcast

Michigan beckons traveling families

By Lyn Lomasi, Contributing writer
Published On: Jul 15 2011 01:04:00 PM CDT
Mackinac Island Bridge, Michigan

iStock / Snehitdesign

Families visiting Michigan will be thrilled with the many entertainment choices. Nature is abundant throughout Michigan, as is water. A love for history also is ever-present. Michigan remains true to all of these aspects with abundant campgrounds, lakefront activities and scenery, and plenty of historical landmarks and museums. Michigan's catchphrase is "water and winter wonderland," and the state's scenery and history hold true to that.

The Henry Ford

The Henry Ford in Dearborn consists of The Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, the IMAX Theatre, Ford Rouge Factory Tour and the Benson Ford Research Center. To get the full experience, families will likely need to visit on multiple days. Greenfield Village is a great one-day choice. Just remember that it is closed Jan. 1-April 14 for the cold weather, as well as for maintenance. Activities for children and adults in Greenfield Village include touring the historic district, taking a test ride in a restored Ford Model T and experiencing 1880s farm life. The historic carousel ride has an unknown original location, but it's known to have been built in North Tonawanda, N.Y. Greenfield Village is also home to great restaurants. The Henry Ford is clearly a great place to enjoy some of Michigan's rich historical background, as well as a taste of entertainment.

Mackinac Island

If you want to explore the waters of Michigan, try Mackinac Island. The name of this island can be spelled in two different ways -- Mackinac and Mackinaw. Both ways are accepted and pronounced the same. (The French spelled it with the "ac" at the end but pronounced it as "aw," so the British spelled it as it sounded.

Home of the famous Mackinac Bridge, which is the third longest suspension bridge in the world, Mackinac Island is full of family friendly fun. There are walking tours, carriage tours, and biking and hiking trails. For more history, try the various historic parks around the island. Of the parks, Fort Mackinac is one that shouldn't be missed. It is a large part of the island's history, and the regular live demonstrations help showcase that. Kids also will enjoy the Butterfly House and the Wings of Mackinac.

Soo Locks

For more water and history in Michigan, head to the Soo Locks. Boat and ferry tours are regularly offered. Sault Ste. Marie is the oldest city in Michigan, offering families more of the history, water and fun that Michigan is famous for. The Soo Locks are the largest waterway traffic system in the world. Tour boats travel the Great Lakes from Michigan to Canada. What's unique about these rides is that once the boats get to Lake Superior, they are raised up 21 feet to get to the level of the lake. Tours take just a couple hours and are not only a historical part of Sault Ste. Marie, but also are very family friendly. Kids 4 and under are free.