Michigan Wildlife Council

Memorial Day fun for people who love the outdoors

This story is provided and presented by our sponsor.

The Michigan Wildlife Council
Visitors can come face-to-face with a great white shark at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.

It’s been a long, long winter. So if you’re itching to get outdoors this Memorial Day weekend, who could blame you?

“Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer. Here in Michigan, it’s a big weekend for people who love the great outdoors,” said Matt Pedigo of the Michigan Wildlife Council, which recently kicked off an education campaign highlighting the importance of conservation and scientific wildlife management.

The Michigan Wildlife Council’s official website ‒ HereforMIOutdoors.org ‒ contains lots of information about conservation in general and the ways in which many of Michigan’s outdoor activities benefit from it.

Whether it’s picnics in the park, romping in a lake, camping at your favorite state park, or hitting a trail on your bike, there’s no shortage of activities this holiday weekend. Here are a few special events to mark on your calendar:

Metro Detroit

May 27-29 – Bats: Superheroes of the Night

When: 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Friday & Saturday; noon–4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Cranbrook Institute of Science, 39221 Woodward Ave., Bloomfield Hills

Cost: Varies

Info: http://science.cranbrook.edu/ or 877-462-7262

Journey deep into the realm of the most mysterious and misunderstood animal on our planet – bats! Explore how bats benefit us, why they’re endangered, and what we can do to help save them. The exhibition uses a comic superhero theme to playfully demonstrate why bats are important.

May 28 – Hook, Line & Sinker Fishing Tournament

When: 7 a.m.–noon

Where: Stony Creek Metropark, 4300 Main Park Drive, Shelby Township

Cost: $20 for adults; $10 for children age 16 and under ($5 more per person on day of event) plus vehicle entry permit; must also have required fishing license

Info: http://events.lls.org/pages/mi/TNTfishing

The 5th annual fishing tournament is a benefit for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Participants must provide their own fishing equipment. Registration begins at 7 a.m.

May 28 – Pond Personalities

When: 11 a.m.

Where: Stony Creek Metropark, 4300 Main Park Road, Shelby Township

Cost: $5 for children; $3 for adults, plus vehicle entry permit

Info: http://www.metroparks.com/events or 586-781-9113

Take a hike to Stony Creek’s vernal pond to see who calls it home, from frogs to turtles to animals you may never have seen before. After catching some of these animals, visitors can take a closer look through microscopes at the nature center.

May 28 – Spring Canoe Birding Tours

When: 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Where: Oakwoods Metropark, 32911 Willow Road, New Boston

Cost: $5 per person (preregistration required), plus vehicle entry permit

Info: http://www.metroparks.com/events or 734-782-3956

Join in as park rangers go in search of spring birds aboard a 34-foot Voyageur canoe.

May 28-29 – Bug Quest

When: 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Saturday; noon–6 p.m. Sunday

Where: Michigan Science Center, 5020 John R St., Detroit

Cost: Varies

Info: http://www.mi-sci.org/ or 313-577-8400

This new choose-your-own-adventure exhibit features larger-than-life models and live insects. Bug Quest pairs perfectly with “Bugs! A Rainforest Adventure” in the IMAX Dome Theatre.

May 29 – Family Lab Day: Dendrology – The Study of Trees

When: 1 p.m.

Where: Indian Springs Metropark, 5200 Indian Trail, White Lake

Cost: $5 per person (preregistration required), plus vehicle entry permit

Info: http://www.metroparks.com/events or 248-625-7280

Learn about the structure and function of woody plants as well as how to identify a variety of trees and shrubs in the field. Ages 7 and older.

West Michigan

May 28 – Pigeon River Kayak Trip

When: 12:30–4:30 p.m.

Where: Hemlock Crossing, 8115 West Olive Road, West Olive

Cost: $8 per person; $26 kayak rental fee (registration required)

Info: https://www.miottawa.org/ or 616-786-4847

Enjoy the sights and sounds of spring along the Pigeon River by kayak as you paddle the 3.5-mile stretch to Sheldon Landing. Return transportation is via carpool. Each trip includes a basic kayaking lesson. No experience is needed. Participants who have their own kayaks may bring them.

May 28 – Gold Spike Trail Tour III

When: 8–10 a.m. check-in

Where: Musketawa State Trail, 2929 Walker Ave. NW, Grand Rapids

Cost: $25 adults; $15 ages 10–17; free for children under age 10

Info: http://www.musketawatrail.com/event/gold-spike-trail-tour-iii or 231-744-3480

This event gives cyclists of all abilities a chance to explore the Fred Meijer Pioneer Trail and the Musketawa State Trail, while promoting rail trail usage and enjoying the outdoors.

May 28-29 – Earth Explorers

When: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday; noon–5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Grand Rapids Public Museum, 272 Pearl St. NW, Grand Rapids

Cost: $8 adults; $3 children ages 3–17; free for children under age 2

Info: http://www.grpm.org/earthexplorers/ or 616-929-1700

Organized around Earth’s spectacular eco-zones, Earth Explorers brings the unparalleled adventures of National Geographic to life. Explore an Arctic cabin and test your ability to live in an ice-covered world. Descend into the deep ocean in a 3-D submersible and explore how life forms at varying depths, even coming face-to-face with a great white shark. Identify incredible insects from the Amazon while learning the benefits of biodiversity. Ascend into the thin air of the Himalayas. Soar in a hot-air balloon over the savanna while learning about the life of elephants and other mammals.


May 28 – Petoskey Stone Festival

When: 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.

Where: Barnes Park, Eastport

Cost: Free

Info: http://www.petoskeystonefestival.com/events.html

The annual Antrim County festival features a 5K race, a hunt for Petoskey stones at Barnes Park's beautiful Grand Traverse Bay beach, the popular stone-skipping contest for kids, and more.

May 28-29 – Lady’s Slipper Festival

When: 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Saturday; noon–4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Huron County Nature Center & Wilderness Arboretum, Port Austin

Cost: Free

Info: http://www.huronnaturecenter.org/

Walk the trails to find the rare Pink Lady’s Slipper Orchid and then enjoy food, music, and local arts vendors in the park.

May 28-30 – Enjoy the Bay City State Recreation Area

When: Varies (see below)

Where: Bay City State Recreation Area, Bay City

Cost: Recreation Passport required

Info: http://www.michigan.gov/dnr or 989-667-0717

Herp Hunt (May 28, noon–2 p.m.) – Discover the reptiles and amphibians who depend upon wetland habitat! Concludes with a Herp Hunt in nearby vernal ponds.

Fishing in the Park (May 28, 5–8 p.m.) – The park will supply the poles and bait, with a prize for the longest fish caught.

Sweet Beaks & Unique Feet (May 29, 1–2 p.m.) – Wetland birding techniques focusing on the unique feet and beaks of the bird world. You can also build a feeder for your backyard.

Wetland Tree Digital Camera Safari (May 30, 1–4:30 p.m.) – With your digital camera, take photos of the special trees that are on a scavenger hunt list as you hike the park.

Feathered Friends (May 30, 2:30–3:30 p.m.) – Discover woodland wetland birds and make a simple bird treat for your own backyard birds.

Visit HereforMIOutdoors.org to learn how wildlife conservation and management protect and preserve our forests, waters and wildlife so they are here for generations.

This story is provided and presented by our sponsor The Michigan Wildlife Council.