Best of Michigan’s Heartland
University of Michigan: U of M is one of America’s finest institutions, with a long list of famous alumni. Even if you’re not a student, you can still appreciate the school’s wide array of diversions, including museums, art galleries, gardens, live theaters, and, of course, football.
Purple Rose Theatre Company: Founded by award-winning actor Jeff Daniels, this Chelsea-based playhouse was named in honor of the Woody Allen film The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985). Audiences travel far and wide to catch the latest play at this renowned theater.
Historic Homes: Picturesque Marshall contains over 850 19th-century homes and businesses, representing a variety of architectural styles. In 1991, the town was designated a National Historic Landmark District.
W. K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary: The W. K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary is one of America’s pioneer wildlife conservation centers. Here, nature lovers can hike amid 180 acres of diverse habitats, which nurture hundreds of waterfowl, raptor, and game bird species.
Air Zoo: Devoted to aviation and space exploration, this enormous complex invites visitors to explore an incredible assortment of interactive exhibits and historic displays, including flight simulators, aircraft carrier models, astronaut artifacts, and a pseudo–space walk.
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum: Unlike most presidential libraries, President Ford’s is divided into two separate components: an extensive library in Ann Arbor and a museum in Grand Rapids. In addition to celebrating the lives of President Ford and his wife, the museum offers temporary exhibits from the Smithsonian Institution and the National Archives.
Michigan State University: MSU has been in operation since 1855. Today, visitors can stroll through several lovely gardens, attend Big 10 football games, view an assortment of art and science exhibits, and catch a wide array of live performances at the Wharton Center.
Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort: The Soaring Eagle is one of the Midwest’s largest casinos, offering thousands of slot machines and table games, several restaurants, over 500 luxurious rooms, a four-diamond spa, and live entertainment. Even if gaming isn’t your hobby, it’s worth a look while you’re in Mount Pleasant.
Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Powwow: In early August, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe hosts a gathering of the clans in Mount Pleasant. For over two decades, this annual event has showcased traditional dancing, drumming, chanting, and cuisine.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel