Mackinac Island & The Straits of Mackinac
Mackinac Island is the "all natural" theme park of America. Limited to transportation of horse and buggy, bicycle or foot, surrounded by water, it has escaped the vast changes of time.
When students step off the Island Ferry Dock, they will be in a living Victorian village. Explore and experience the many historic attractions, the hustle and bustle of the downtown, trying the different varieties of homemade fudge or bicycling around this "motorless" Island.
Once you've visited beautiful Mackinac Island and its surrounding mainland communities of St. Ignace and Mackinaw City, you will see why it is truly the "Jewel" of Michigan.
Mackinac State Historic Parks
Mackinac State Historic Parks (MSHP) includes seven living history parks and museums in the Straits of Mackinac: Fort Mackinac, Historic Downtown and Mackinac Island State Park on Mackinac Island, and Colonial Michilimackinac, Historic Mill Creek, Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and Michlimackinac State Park in Mackinaw City.
Fort Mackinac, Mackinac Island and Colonial Michilimackinac are National Historic Landmarks.
Mackinac Island Carriage Tour
Students first stop on the Mackinac Island Carriage Tour is Surrey Hills Museum and home of the Wings of Mackinac Butterfly Conservatory. They will begin a leisurely visit through the Surrey Hills museum displaying historical carriages, browse on-site gift shops and experience the magical free flight of thousands of colorful butterflies at Wings of Mackinac.
Students board a 3 horse carriage en route to Arch Rock for a viewing of this breathtaking natural beauty. Arch Rock is a natural limestone formation with a span of 50 feet, which rises 149 feet above the clear blue water of the Straits of Mackinac. It is one of the most photographed spots on Mackinac Island.
Avenue of Flags located at Fort Mackinac is the next stop. As passengers depart arriving carriages, students may reboard as space is available to continue their Mackinac Island tour.
Upon their Return to Surrey Hills Museum they will board the 2 horse carriage to venture back downtown or end the tour at the world famous Grand Hotel.
Mackinac Island Butterfly House
The Original Mackinac Island Butterfly House is the third oldest LIVE butterfly exhibit in the United States. The world renowned facility has 1800 sq ft of tropical garden filled with hundreds of live butterflies from around the world.
Visit this fairy tale garden where beautiful butterflies of every imaginable size and color "dance" to classical music and the sound of falling water, fluttering and lighting on fragrant blossoms and the enchanting waterfall that centers the garden. Learn how the rise of the butterfly industry has transformed the lives of farmworkers in the rainforests the world. Read about how it has contributed to the economy while not damaging the environment.
After a fun, and relaxing visit with the butterflies, take a stroll through our new giant insect exhibit where you will be amazed at the size of the insects that live in the tropical regions of the world. 14" Walking Sticks, and 6"Centepedes along with the world's largest Cicada and Heaviest Bug are on display, while live reptiles and amphibians living in their natural habitats help keep things fun for the kids.
Truly a "MUST SEE" student experience!
The Grand Hotel
Opened in 1887, with all the amenities of the present. The movie "Somewhere in Time" was filmed at Grand Hotel starring Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeve.
The Grand Hotel features 385 uniquely decorated guest rooms and also has the longest porch in the world. A student favorite is The Grand Luncheon Buffet, served daily from Noon to 2pm in the Grand Hotel's formal dining room along with a tour of the hotel.
There is no place quite like it, and the experience cannot be duplicated.
Thunder Falls Waterpark - Mackinaw City
Experience wild and wet adventures at Thunder Falls Family Water Park, Mackinaw City’s newest and most exciting addition. With fun for students of all ages, Thunder Falls features twenty acres of thrills.
Discover your favorite among 12 world-class slides or enjoy the leisurely pace of our Lazy River. Cool off and relax in Michigan’s best wave pool by riding the 4 foot waves, or enjoy the interactive children’s play areas.
Thunder Falls takes the edge off summer’s heat, but won’t freeze you out either! Water temperatures are comfortably heated. The ultimate summer experience awaits at Thunder Falls Family Water Park. See you on the slides!
Mackinaw Crossings - Mackinaw City
Mackinaw Crossings, a charming village where unique shopping, unforgettable dining and first-class entertainment come together!
Turn a day of shopping into an adventure! Your adventure in shopping begins the moment you step foot on our cobblestone pathways. You'll enjoy our quaint Victorian-style architecture, complete with sparkling fountains and outdoor dining opportunities. Spend the day exploring more than 45 exciting shops including 8 terrific eateries!
The Mystery Spot - St. Ignace
In the early 1950’s, 3 surveyors named Clarence, Fred and McCray came from California to explore the Upper Peninsula. They stumbled across an area of land where their surveying equipment didn’t seem to work properly. For instance, no matter how many times they tried to level their tripod, through the use of a plum-bob or level, the plum-bob would always be drawn far to the east, even as the level was reading level.
As they continued their research of this land, they noticed a constant feeling of being light-headed. Later, realizing their queasiness and problems with the surveying equipment only occurred in an area about 300 feet in diameter, they felt they had discovered a “Mystery Spot”.
Millions have visited the Mystery Spot and many return year after year to experience the unusual sensations that occur within its boundaries. Where else can a tall person seem smaller by comparison or climb a wall and tilt precariously into the air but not fall? Gravity tends to play a role while sitting in a chair with its back legs balanced on a beam and front legs suspended in the air. Students will without a doubt remember their visit to the Mystery Sport for years to come.
Museum of Ojibwa Culture and Marquette Mission Park - St. Ignace
A national historic landmark, this museum interprets the rich archaeology and history of a 17th century Huron Indian village, Marquette's French Jesuit Mission, and local Ojibwa (Chippewa) Indian traditions and contemporary culture.
Exhibits, continuous videos, and live demonstrations by nature interpreters all help students explore this exciting chapter of the Straits Area history.
Additional student attractions include bicycle rentals and horseback riding on Mackinac Island, Castle Rock, historical interpretation by Straits Area Step-On Guide Service, private cinema showings and evening sock-hop dances.
Big Country Tours also offers daily excursions from the Straits of Mackinac Area to Sault Ste. Marie for the Soo Locks Boat & Dinner Cruise and to Whitefish Point for the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
Click here for a proposal request or call your travel counselor toll-free, 877.798.0435!