Friday, 31 July 2015 09:52

Explore the Mitten on an Eclectic Road Trip

Written by  Audria Larsen
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Dinosaur Gardens, Prehistoric Zoo Dinosaur Gardens, Prehistoric Zoo COURTESY PHOTO

If you’re a summertime loving sort who is clutching at your heart because August features the slow death knell of all that is great (sunshine), not to fret. While the roads will soon be treacherously iced over, there’s still time to venture outside of West Michigan on an eclectic road trip across the state. Fire up the motorcar, it’s time to go!

Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum
Farmington Hills
Mon.–Thurs., 10 a.m.–9 p.m.
Fri.–Sat., 10 a.m.–11 p.m.
Sun. 11 a.m.–9 p.m., (248) 626-5020

Step back in time at Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum where fun is aplenty and coin operated wonders abound. The Guinness Book of World Records lists this magical den of curiosities as one of the most unusual museums in the United States. Much like a penny arcade of yore, Marvin’s features historic, antique machines alongside more modern contraptions. Some are games, others are like the iconic Zoltar fortune telling machine and many are essentially automated miniature dioramas like the moving, ghoulish 1936 display depicting a Spanish Inquisition torture chamber (it’s morbid but not too gory). A perfect day trip, Marvin’s is so jammed packed with curiosities that you can’t experience it all in just one trip.

Dinosaur Gardens
Prehistoric Zoo
Ossineke, Michigan
Monday–Saturday, 9 a.m.–8 p.m.
Sunday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m., (989) 471-5477

Move over Jurassic World, Dinosaur Gardens Prehistoric Zoo offers excitement and kitsch without the imminent threat of danger. Created in the ‘30s the garden allows you complete access to the dinos, for all of your shameless selfie stick pleasure. Situated on 40 acres of wooded land, a trail leads you to many creatures featuring scenes of dinosaurs battling, prehistoric peoples heaving rocks and you can even climb inside the belly of a brontosaurus. Known for the subtle Christian touches juxtaposed among the ancient beasts, the park offers an interesting vibe. Enjoy the new Pteradon Nest, putt-putt golf, guided carriage tours and even a frozen yogurt bar.

Michigan Honey Festival
Harvey Kern Pavilion, Frankenmuth
August 1, 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
FREE for children under 14, Ages 14+ up $5, (810) 614-3191

As you may know, the global honey bee population is in decline. It’s up to us to rally for our fuzzy insect friends. Dubbed the “Sweetest Day of the Year,” the festival offers much more than education and expert speakers. See a live bee hive opened up and check out all the “working parts.” Partake in a honey tasting and even learn to make mead, a sumptuous alcoholic brew created with fermented honey. Flowers and plants are available for purchase along with many other honeyed products like soaps, lotions, oils and even honey bee swag like t-shirts and hats. If you want to personally help bolster the bee population you can find out everything you need, from beekeeping to flower tending.

Perseid Meteor Shower Sail
Wenonah Park, Bay City
August 12–13, 10 p.m.–1 a.m.
$37 Adult, $27 Student, (989) 895-5193

This month the sky will put on one heckuva show thanks to the annual Perseid meteor shower. Lucky you, the non-profit organization BaySail offers special schooner rides aboard the Appledore IV. If the night is dark you can often see over 50 meteors whizz by per hour. “The area is one of the best places to stargaze, you don’t have the light pollution out on the bay as you would in the city,” said Scott Ellis, marketing and communications manager. “[We] anticipate the show will be pretty good this year. It’s probably the most heavily viewed [meteor shower] in North America and produces the most meteors of any time of year.” To give you an educational edge, astronomers from Delta College Planetarium will give a live, onboard presentation about the Perseid shower. While dinner is not provided on this particular sail, popcorn and other concessions like soda and water are available. Also, Ellis noted that you are allowed to BYOB. So bring that homemade mead and stargaze.

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