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Michigan Summers

By: Dalton Carty
      Lansing Managing Editor

At end of winter 2014, a Cooley employee said summer terms are the ones with the least enrollment. This made me wonder. Why would summers be the least likely time for new law students to begin law school? Presumably, summers are warm, students can enjoy the outdoors, and commence classes before fall thereby getting a sense of how classes, Cooley, and the city function without an influx of new MSU students with whom to contend. Yet, simultaneously, summers are also the time when new graduates want to enjoy old friends, familiar places, and spend time with family before beginning a new degree. Similarly, new students may be unfamiliar with the city where they will pursue further education and hesitant to leave home with its known nuances especially during summer. Thus, I thought an article about places to visit in Lansing and its surrounding areas during summer would reduce the anxiety new Cooley students have with starting law school in the summer and provide insight to veteran students about where they may spend their limited free time.

Located in Dearborn, Michigan, The Henry Ford is a multi-attraction park filled with family-friendly aesthetics and old-world exhibits. One feature at the park is ninety acre Greenfield Village. With horse drawn carriages and vintage automobiles, it contains replicas of notable historic locations including Noah Webster’s house where he wrote the first American dictionary, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory, and the courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law. One can also ride a steam locomotive, eat lunch from a nineteenth century menu, make glass novelties, or watch baseball as it was played in 1867. Greenfield also has a real nineteenth century farming setting with animals, livestock, and crops.

Another Henry Ford feature is the IMAX theatre with a sixty-two feet high screen that has 3-D technology. The park’s IMAX theatre is the largest in the region and shows current releases, cinema classics, and feature length documentaries. The price for admission to the theatre ranges between $7 and $12.

The Henry Ford also includes the Henry Ford Museum with vast quantities of vintage cars and historic exhibits. Although some vehicles are Ford made, there are many other models that span the range of famous styles and types. The Ford Rouge Factory Tour is a fourth experience at The Henry Ford. It allows visitors to see automobile landmarks through walking and driving tours and witness the actual assembly of a Ford car. Finally, the Benson Ford Research Center uses one-of-a-kind artifacts and resources to educate visitors about America’s history including its people and places. The Henry Ford has several gift shops and restaurants that guests may patronize or visitors may opt to bring their own meals to consume in the park’s snack areas.

Frankenmuth is another summer escape. Located in Frankenmuth, Michigan, the town displays the German heritage of the city’s inhabitants. It has gardens, marathons, music festivals, riverboats, restaurants, car shows, and novelty shops to appeal to all travelers. One may also ride in horse-drawn carriages, gaze at typical German architecture, or visit a theme park. There are also numerous hotels and guides to help one organize a stay.

Mackinac Island is a beautiful oasis in Straits of Mackinac which separates Michigan’s Lower and Upper Peninsula. Many Mackinac streets are lined with trees and downtown has exclusive shops, restaurants, hotels, cottages, condos, and night spots. Like many summer locales, a Mackinac visitor may ride in a horse-drawn carriage, use a bike trail, go hiking, or ride a horse. For older and disabled guests, the island’s taxis can help them travel from place to place. The island has numerous festivals, parks, museums, spas, wellness centers and attractions including a state park, butterfly conservatory, and a purportedly haunted museum. Moreover, the island also boasts a wealth of water activities including kayaking, fishing, sailing, and swimming.

Labeled as one of the great wonders of the world, the Soo Locks are in Michigan’s oldest city-Sault Ste. Marie on the St. Mary’s River between Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and Ontario, Canada. The Soo Locks are a set of four parallel locks that enable roughly ten thousand ships to annually travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. Visitors may engage lighthouse, lunch, dinner, theme, and special charter cruises and experience first-hand how the locks enable ships to get from one point to another. They may also cruise along gigantic lake vessels, under an international highway bridge, see lakeside sites, and watch hydro-electric plants.        

If one likes animals, he may choose to visit the Detroit or Binder Zoo. Located in Royal Oak, Michigan, the Detroit Zoo is a one hundred and twenty-five acre installation with over 2,600 animals. It assists global and local conservation by supporting the work of biologists and conservation organizations in their efforts to preserve diverse wildlife including polar bears, amphibians, elephants, and large cats. The zoo has a 4-D theater, carousel, railroad, fountain with a seventy-five thousand gallon pool, and a spherical display called the Sphere of Science that projects outstanding simulations of the Earth, its atmosphere, oceans, and land. It also has numerous restaurants and gift shops. The cost of admission ranges between free and $14.

Although the Binder Zoo has more land, but less animals, it is just as dynamic as the Detroit Zoo. Located on the outskirts of Battle Creek, Michigan, the Binder Zoo is a four hundred and thirty-three acre park that contains forests and wetlands. It has roughly 600 species, exotic and domestic animals, numerous themed events including a cheetah chase and fun-fari, and funds conservation and educational initiatives.

Lastly, if camping is your pleasure, Tahquamenon Falls State Park may be the ideal spot to spend a long weekend.  Situated in Paradise, Michigan, Tahquamenon encompasses fifty-two thousand acres. Most of this is undeveloped woodland without roads, buildings, or power lines. The park’s centerpiece is the Tahquamenon River and its numerous waterfalls. Housed in a converted logging cabin, the park contains a restaurant and gift shop at its Upper Falls. There are also picnic tables and restrooms with handicap access. In addition to camping and hiking, visitors may also choose to rent kayaks or all-terrain vehicles, use bike trails, ride horses, plan canoe trips or other events, travel on the Toonerville Trolley and Riverboat, or attend one of the parks featured events like Winter Fest in February or the Tahqua Trail Run in August.

Although these places are only a sampling of what may be done in Michigan during summer, I hope they encourage new and old Cooley students to be adventurous in engaging any local attraction. Summer is short, but Michigan’s harsh winters feel long. Therefore, it is beneficial to all to limit anxiety and enjoy summer’s finite warmth by using one’s free time to experience the beautiful sites Michigan offers.                          

Note: I thank Kathleen Lawrence of the Center of Ethics, Service, and Professionalism for her help in completing this article. Without it, it would have been extremely burdensome to obtain the information contained in this piece.