17 Unusual Attractions You Need to See in Michigan

Michigan is home to a number of unique and record-breaking attractions you won’t find anywhere else. From the world’s largest giant cherry pie pan to the world’s largest Christmas store – you name it, we’ve got it! Below is a roundup of some of our favorites. For more, visit michigan.org. 

Do you know of an unusual Michigan attraction? Let us know and we’ll add it to our Pinterest board. 

Mackinac Island Carriage Tours: Mackinac Island, MI – Home of the World’s Largest Horse & Buggy Livery
Visitors can take a one hour and 45 minute narrated historic and scenic horse carriage tour through the island.

Superior Dome: Marquette, MI – World’s Largest Wooden Dome
The dome has a retractable turf, three basketball courts, tennis courts, and volleyball courts. It is host to trade shows, banquets, conferences, and athletic events

Pine Mountain Ski Jump: Iron Mountain, MI – Largest Man Made Ski Slide in the U.S.
Built in the early 1930′s, Pine Mountain Ski Jump holds the North American distance record of 459 feet on 140 meters.

World’s Largest Weathervane: Montague, MI
Built by Whitehall factory employees in Montague, this functioning weathervane is 48 feet tall with an arrow 26 feet long.

Erebus Haunted Attraction: Pontiac, MI – World’s Largest Haunted House
Erebus, located in Pontiac, is a four story haunted house that was entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the World’s Largest Walk-Through Haunted Attraction in 2005.

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge: Detroit, MI – World’s Oldest Jazz Club
If you like traditional jazz, great atmosphere or if you enjoy just stepping into history, Baker’s Keyboard Lounge, The “World’s Oldest Jazz Club,”  is an experience you won’t want to miss.

 

Dawson & Steven’s Classic 50′s Diner: Grayling, MI – Largest Private Collection of Coca-Cola memorabilia in Michigan
The Bottle-Cap Museum is the largest private collection of Coca-Cola related items in Northern Michigan. Over 10,000 pieces of memorabilia make up the museum, housed in an authentic classic 50′s diner, Dawson and Steven’s Classic 50′s Diner located in downtown Grayling.

Joe’s Gizzard City: Potterville, MI – Home of Gizzard Fest
Joe’s is known for their ice cold beer and deep fried chicken gizzards. They also have a large selection of burgers, burritos, sandwiches and more. Joe’s is the only Gizzard City on Earth and proud of it. Come enjoy Gizzard Fest held in June for some great family fun!

Grand Haven Musical Fountain: Grand Haven, MI – World’s Largest Musical Fountain
A synchronized display of water and lights on the harbor offered nightly beginning Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Traverse City, MI: World’s Largest Cherry Pie Pan
Near Traverse City, at the Sara Lee Bakery Group, stands the World’s Largest Cherry Pie Pan. The pan was made to hold the World’s Largest Cherry Pie at the time (from 1987-1992). The huge pie weighed 28,350 pounds and was 17 feet, 6 inches in diameter.

Marvin’s Marvelous Mechanical Museum: Farmington, MI
If you like magic posters, neon, antiques, advertisings, ceiling fans, slot machines, memorabilia, robots, airplanes, animation, then this is the place to visit. Marvin’s boasts coin operated games from the oldest gypsy fortune-telling machines to the latest in laser hologram video games of the 1990′s.

Hell, MI:
Visitors that enjoy fun excursions and unique destinations will find plenty to smile about when they arrive in Hell. “Sinfully delicious” is the phrase most often heard by patrons that frequent Screams Ice Cream. While here you can enroll in Damnation University, experience some world-class haunted effects. Hell is guaranteed to be appreciated by folks with a great sense of humor.

Dinosaur Gardens: Ossineke, MI
A world renowned reproduction of over 25 prehistoric birds and dinosaurs on a 40 acre tract of land split by Devil River. Dinosaur Gardens features a brontosaurus over 80 feet long weighing over 60,000 pounds.

The Antlers: Taxidermy Resturant: Sault Sainte Marie, MI
The Antlers is a unique dining experience in northern Michigan. Enjoy viewing over 200 mounted animals while waiting for your meal. Try the famous Soo Stew Canoes!

The Jerky Outlet: Dundee, MI – World’s Largest Beef Jerky Outlet
The Jerky Outlet is one of the world’s largest jerky outlets – beef jerky, turkey jerky, elk,venison, buffalo, alligator jerky…even kangaroo! Visitors can bag their own or pick an assortment of pre-packaged jerkies.

Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland: World’s Largest Christmas Store: Frankenmuth, MI
The world’s largest Christmas store with over 90,000 square ft of newly expanded shopper’s dream! Bronner’s is bigger than 1 1/2 football fields in size featuring over 50,000 trims, gifts, and collectibles.

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 2.54.42 PMWorld’s Largest Piece of Float Copper: Marquette, MI
The world’s largest piece of float copper is located in Presque Isle Park.  It is the largest found any where in the world.  It weighs 28.2 tons, measures 14 feet by 15 feet.  Marquette residents are working to assure that this copper specimen will remain in Marquette in a visible place for tourists and residents to enjoy.

 Have you visited any of these quirky Michigan attractions? Tell us which ones!

A Visitor’s Guide to Exploring Frankenmuth – Michigan’s Little Bavaria

To celebrate the kick off of Zehnder’s Snowfest in Frankenmuth next week, guest blogger Craig Sterken takes us on a tour of some charming attractions in Michigan’s Little Bavaria.

If you’ve ever dreamed of spending a winter’s day in a charming alpine village, but don’t have the funds to fly to the Bavarian Alps, a weekend visit to Frankenmuth, Michigan might be the thing for you. Nicknamed “Little Bavaria”, this small city in the heart of mid-Michigan will have you believing you’ve been transported to your dream village within minutes.

Photo by Craig Sterken Photography

Teeming with charm, Main Street offers shops, boutiques, restaurants, a brewery, and a step back in time with horse and carriage rides.  A carriage ride will take you through a picturesque neighborhood and through the downtown area. Afterwards, you have your choice of two well known restaurants. On opposite sides of the street you’ll find Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth, famously known for their chicken dinners and the Bavarian Inn, widely known for its home-cooked German fare. Both establishments also host gift shops and fine wines.

The Cass River wends its way through town and is flanked on one side of the river by the Bavarian Inn and the Bavarian Inn Lodge. An appealing covered bridge, known as “The Zehnder’s Holz Brucke” spans the river connecting the two properties. Available to both cars and foot traffic it adds to the delightful scenic views of Frankenmuth.

Photo by Craig Sterken Photography

For shoppers who want more than the boutiques in town offer, there is River Place. Over 40 shops offer goods for the discriminate shopper. River Place has pleasant walkways, benches, and paths to stroll, linger, and enjoy, even in winter. For entertainment beyond shopping you can also visit Zehnder’s Splash Village Hotel and Indoor Waterpark. Providing wet and wild family fun and relaxation it can be a wonderful respite from the winter weather. They even provide complementary shuttle service to Zehnder’s of Frankenmuth restaurant.

Photo by Craig Sterken Photography

Though Frankenmuth is widely known for their many festivals throughout the year winter brings Zehnder’s Snowfest. One of the most well known snow-sculpting competitions in North America, it is also host to the National Collegiate Ice Carving Championship and the High School Snow Sculpting Competition. You’ll be able to watch the snow sculptors at work and ice carvers employing their skills with chainsaws, picks, and even handmade tools created for the job. This year will be the 23rd annual completion and will be held January 22-27.

Photo by Craig Sterken Photography

Don’t forget to visit the southern outskirts of town and visit Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland. Bronner’s is the World’s Largest Christmas Store. Founded in 1945 by Wally Bronner, it is open year round and bustles with activity as shoppers, tour busses, and cars come and go. Over 100,000 lights are lit throughout the season and it provides the perfect atmosphere for getting yourself in the Christmas mood. It’s easy to spend an entire afternoon shopping for ornaments, artificial trees, Santa suits, or for resting your heels in their cafeteria.

Frankenmuth just has so much to offer. On a recent visit my wife and I stopped for wine tasting at St. Julian Winery, shopped for a comforter at Frankenmuth Woolen Mills, ate lunch at Tiffany’s, and bought freshly roasted chestnuts from a vendor on Main Street.  So, if you’re looking for a weekend full of family fun, a good meal, or a romantic getaway with that alpine village feel, Frankenmuth delivers. Visit one of the bustling shops or just quietly sit on a bench sipping hot chocolate and watch the fun unfold around you.

Craig Sterken is a freelance photographer and lifelong resident of Michigan. His photos have been published in travel publications, magazines, brochures, and websites throughout the state.  His prints adorn the walls of homes, offices, hospitals, and businesses and can be purchased online or in various galleries and shops in Michigan. Visit his website CraigSterken.com or on Facebook  for more information. 

18 Things You Didn’t Know About Bronner’s – The World’s Largest Christmas Store

‘Tis the season all year long at Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, the World’s Largest Christmas Store® in Frankenmuth, Michigan. Open 361 days of the year, Bronner’s brings the warmth and wonder of the Christmas season to guests year round. Wayne Bronner, president and CEO of Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland lists 18 things you may not have known about the World’s Largest Christmas Store. 

1. More than 350 decorated Christmas trees are beautifully displayed in Bronner’s salesroom.

2. Decorations and gifts from 70 nations can be found at Bronner’s.

3.  Bronner’s carries over 150 styles of nutcrackers.

4.  Bronner’s artists personalize over 100,000 ornaments annually. One of Bronner’s ornament artists has personally handpainted nearly ½-million ornaments during her 25 years at Bronner’s. Approximately 50% of the glass ornaments sold are Bronner’s own designs.

5. If all the light sets sold in one year at Bronner’s were stretched out in a continuous line, they would span approximately 530 miles.

6. Movie star John “the Duke” Wayne ordered a Santa suit from Bronner’s by telephone on December 15, 1976.

7. Sports figures who have visited Bronner’s include former University of Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler, Detroit Tigers’ owner Tom Monaghan (who arrived at Bronner’s in his Domino’s Pizza helicopter!), former Tiger pitcher Milt Wilcox, former Tiger catcher Lance Parrish, former Tiger outfielder Willie Horton, race car driver Al Unser, Jr., “Mr. Hockey” Gordie Howe, and Detroit Redwing Sergei Fedorov.

8. Celebrities who have visited Bronner’s recently include former Michigan Governor John Engler and First Lady Michelle with triplet daughters; former Michigan Governor James Blanchard; Olympic Gold Medalist Dorothy Hamill; vocalists Little Jimmie Dickins, Jim Nabors, Pat Boone, Marie Osmond, Anita Bryant, Andy Williams, the Lennon Sisters, the Lettermen, Ted Nugent, the Ink Spots, Faith Hill, Twila Paris and sister Starla, and Ana Cani; television’s Dave Coulier of “Full House“; First Lady Laura Bush; and actresses Polly Bergen and Cindy Williams.

9. Bronner’s was the first recipient of the worldwide Golden Santa Claus Award in February, 1986, at the Nuremberg International Toy Fair in Germany. The annual award is presented for “creativity and new ideas in the Christmas business as well as for set-up and presentation of Christmas articles.”

10. Bronner’s electric bill averages $1,250.00 per day.

11. Beamer the Bronner Star was born in 1999, becoming Bronner’s mascot.

12. Bronner’s online store offers appoximately 3,000 items for purchase.

13. The overall size of Bronner’s building is 320,000 sq. ft. (approx. 7.35 acres or 5.5 football fields of space) with 96,000 sq. ft. (2.2 acres 1.7 football fields of space) devoted to the salesroom.

14. Approximately 100,000 outdoor Christmas lights illuminate Bronner’s grounds every evening throughout the year.

15. Christmas Lane, Bronner’s own thoroughfare, is 1/2-mile long.

16. Bronner’s giant outdoor Santa towers 17 feet and the giant snowman is 15 feet tall.

17. The weekend after Thanksgiving is Bronner’s busiest of the year with as many as 50,000 guests.

18. Over two million guests come to Bronner’s annually.

Have you visited Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth? Tell us about your experience! 

Read more Bronner’s fun facts here

Wayne Bronner is the president and CEO of Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, located in Frankenmuth, Michigan. He has overseen the day-to-day operations of the World’s Largest Christmas Store since 1998. Bronner’s is a multifaceted business that includes a brick-and-mortar business, online sales, commercial accounts, catalog sales, and resale and custom ornament accounts.