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Things to See and Do in Marquette County, Michigan
Where is Marquette County?
Marquette County, Michigan is located in Michigan’s northern Peninsula. The city of Marquette is the largest city in Marquette County and is located along the shores of Lake Superior. There are many fantastic things to see and do in the city but there are also some amazing finds in the surrounding cities. We visit the area every summer but usually spend the time just visiting family. This time we became true tourists to the area. So here are some top, not to miss activities if you live in or are visiting the area.
Pictures of LakenenlandClick thumbnail to view full-size
Getting to Lakenenland
Lakenenland was opened in 2003 as a result of Tom Lakenen looking for a way to use his time more productively. The sculptures are beautiful works of art and he began to display them in his yard as well as the yards of family members. As the number of sculptures began to grow, so did the attraction to his home, thus creating a sort of traffic situation in his township. Crowds of people were drawn to the area and Chocolay Township officials ordered him to remove the art from the yards. After much arguing and township ordinances being challenged, Lakenen decided to purchase another piece of land and create a place to display his art and still be able to share it with the public. It was then that Lankenenland was born.
The amazing display of art is located on the private property of Tom Lakenen. There is a road in which you are able to drive through and view the metal works of art. If you choose (and I highly recommend), you can get out and walk along the road. The road is curved and around each bend is a new display to bring awe and amazement. The range of sculptures is as wide as your imagination. Some are just plain fun and others are tributes to historical or social events in American society. There is a tribute to the attacks on September 11,2011, a small scale representation of an ore mine, a working scale and his interpretation of large American companies, their corporate greed, and how it affects the average American worker. Many of the statues are perfect for kids to climb around on and just have fun.
In addition to the beautiful art display, Lakenen has made the entire property a place for friends and family to gather and share in each others' company. There is a stage surrounded by seats, a large bonfire pit (with wood provided), a barbeque grill, and picnic tables. It is home to many planned and impromptu concerts and performances. If you visit, you are welcomed to head up on stage to give a little performance of your own! The property is open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. There is even access along snowmobile trails. There is no charge to visit but donations are accepted. Everyone is invited for a visit, with the exception of the Chocolay Township Planning and Zoning Board Members. In fact there is even a No Trespassing sign just for them!
Directions to Lakenenland
Lakenenland is located between Munising and Marquette off of M-28. The entrance is found opposite of Shot Point Road. Although it is visible from the road, keep your eyes peeled because you can quickly pass it if you are not paying attention.
Marquette Children's Museum
Where to find The Upper Peninsula Children's Museum
Pictures of Marquette Children's MuseumClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Upper Peninsula Children's Museum
The Upper Peninsula Children's Museum is a great interactive museum for children of all ages. With displays of the human body, to live reptiles, to pretend play as firemen, hairdressers, and pilots, this place has something for everyone.
When you first enter the museum, you head up the stairs to the second floor. You will be overwhelmed by the amount of things to see and do. To your right is a magnificent tree house and an exhibit about running water. To your left is a play area that is filled with books, toys, and play house items that are perfect for younger children.
The room on the immediate left is filled with more interactive displays. There is a front end of a plane that allows children to be either a pilot or a passenger. The plane has real switches and gears that make sounds that sound like the plane is actually in flight. This is always a favorite for my kids. This room also holds a radio station, weather station where kids are able to report on the weather and some information about electricity. As you climb the steps, you able to pretend to be various professions. There is an ambulance where children are able to pretend to be either a medical worker or a patient in need, there are firefighter clothes that kids can dress up in, a barber chair with hair dressing equipment, and a music room complete with an organ and other various musical instruments.
If you continue down the hallway, your imagination continues to run wild. There is a pretend restaurant, theater complete with dress up clothes and switches to adjust the lighting. At the end there is a store with shopping carts, boxes and cans of various goods, a cash register, and a working conveyor belt for the groceries. The littlest details are not overlooked.
The back of the museum holds the human body. There are large body parts that help children to understand the function of each part. There is also a display that impresses upon children the dangers and long term effects of smoking. This is a great place to spend a few hours, especially if the weather is not very good. The kids have a great time and there is very little that parents need to do except to sit back and watch their kids have fun!
In addition to the museum, there are lots of things to do in the immediate area. Surrounded by great restaurants and shops, after visiting the museum, you can tour downtown Marquette. For additional fun for the kids, head down to Mattson Lower Harbor for a fun filled time at the park.
Directions to DaYoopers Tourist Trap
You can reach Da Yoopers from Highway 41 and you can be sure that you will not miss it's great sites from the road!
Da Yoopers Tourist Trap
Located in Ishpeming, Michigan, Da Yoopers Tourist Trap is a fantastic display of Yooper lore. If you don't know what a Yooper is, it's the name that the citizens of the Upper Peninsula call themselves, 'U-Per.' They have wonderful traditions that often come from the Finnish heritage of many of the inhabitants of the area. If you have never had the pleasure of spending time with a Yooper, Da Yoopers Tourist Trap will give you an idea of the kind of ways that Yoopers like to spend their time and find entertaining. One of the greatest things about this group of people is their sense of humor. They have no problem teasing each other or making fun of themselves, but it is all in good fun!
Hours and Cost
Since the actually sites of the tourist trap are outside, it is open 24 hours a day and free to the public. There is a souvenir shop that is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 am-9:00 pm, Saturdays from 9:00 am-8:00 pm, and Sundays from 10:00 am-6:00 pm.
Here are some highlights of the tourist trap.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Pictures of Cliff Shaft Mine MuseumClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Mine Tunnel TourClick thumbnail to view full-size
Cliff Shaft Mine Museum
The Cliff Shaft Mine Museum was a new find for us. When I was a young girl, I toured the iron ore mine with my aunt, uncle, and cousins. Since one of the primary sources of income is working at some capacity with the iron ore industry, I have several family members that have at some point worked in the iron ore mines. When I toured the mine, I remember thinking two things, it is so loud in here and it is dark and dirty. If I had not already committed myself to getting a higher education to keep me from working in job with less than healthy conditions, this sealed the deal for me. Mine tours are still given but unfortunately you need to be at least ten years old so we were not able to tour with my young children.
The Cliff Mine Shaft Museum was a great alternative to the mine tour. It was filled with artifacts from the mine when it was in operation as well as some tools that are currently used in mining today. Along with artifacts, you will find the history of the mine, including strikes, lab technology that was used to improve mining techniques, and more.
Along with your entrance fee, which is $9.00 for everyone over 18 and free for 12 and under, you also gain access to the Ishpeming Historical Museum and the Gem Museum. The Ishpeming Historical Museum is a small room that is filled with wonderful artifacts from the Township's past. There is a lot to read so we didn't spend too much time in this area since it wasn't really captivating for a 3 and 4 year old!
The gems were beautiful. The kids loved to look at the sparkling beauties that filled the large room. In addition to the gems and minerals, there was a description of each display that told what it was and where it could be found. It was truly fascinating to see.
The highlight of the visit was the tunnel tour. There are tours scheduled throughout the day and we were fortunate enough to have arrived just before one began. The very knowledgeable tour guide led us through the mine tunnel that miners walked years ago. It was dark but very interesting to see. Our guide was a former mine worker and was able to answer questions that we had along with provide us with some fascinating facts about Cliff Mine. As you walk to the end of the tunnel, you exit to the outside of the building. Here you will find one of the trucks that was used to bring materials out of the mines. It is truly one of the largest trucks that i have ever seen. The trucks that are used today are actually even bigger! As the tour comes to an end, you walk through a work room that where gems and minerals are cut and polished. After the tour, you are free to continue to explore the museum or check out the store that has some various items available for sale. It is well worth the $9.00 fee, especially if you are a history buff.
Although these were four fantastic sites to visit in Marquette County, they are definitely not the only sites to see. There are many opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping, water activities and other museums to explore. Unfortunately we ran out of time to do any more. I guess the rest will have to wait until our visit next summer!