kIDS kids Fishing Pond: kids will love tossing a line in this spring-fed trout pond in petoskey’s Bayfront park, stocked with “retired” trout from nearby oden state fish hatchery. the waterfront park also has a waterfall, marina, picnic area, and pedestrian tunnel to the shops in downtown petoskey—for when the kiddos inevitably get restless. petoskeYarea.com.
Pond Hill Farm: this working farm and market has a whole barnful of cows, sheep, chickens, pigs, and geese for feeding and petting, plus the “squash rocket”—a giant slingshot for flinging squash into the fields—and hay rides every weekend from may through october. MyNorth.com/vg-pm
Fort Mackinac: A must-do on Mackinac Island, the 1780-built Fort Mackinac, perched high atop a limestone bluff, was a strategic outpost for British and U.S. armies for more than 115 years. Today, it’s one of the most scenic spots on the island—and a place where history comes alive daily. The parade grounds and historic buildings—some more than 225 years old—have been preserved as interactive exhibits, with costumed interpreters leading demonstrations to show what life was like within the fort for the soldiers and their families, who called this place home. Re-enactments include cannon salutes, rifle firing, bugle playing, medical treatments, children’s games, and even Victorian-era baseball. Stay for lunch in the fort’s Tea Room, where you’ll find spectacular views over downtown. 231.436.4100, MACkINACPARkS.COM.
Colonial Michilimackinac: From 1715 to the early 1780s, this fortified encampment overlooking
the Straits served as a fur trading post for French and British traders in the western Great Lakes. The Mackinaw City landmark is now on the National Register of Historic Places, serving as an open-air, liveaction museum and active archaeological site (more than a million artifacts have been unearthed here since excavation began in 1959). Many of the interactive exhibits are designed with kid-friendly participation in mind: Children can try their hand at soldier drills, crafts, Victorian dances, games, and even helping colonial women tend the vegetable garden and cook dinner over the open hearth. 231.436.4100, MACkINACPARkS.COM.
Michigan Fisheries visitors center: every year, more than a million rainbow and brown trout are raised at this cool facility—one of the most advanced of its kind—for release into michigan rivers. With tours, interpretive exhibits, and big ponds full of “retired” fish that you can feed, this is a great destination for a kid-friendly day trip. 8258 s. aYr rd., oden, 231.348.0996.
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