10 Things To Do in the Great Lakes Bay Region

Bay City’s Tall Ship Celebration begins in just over a week! If you’re planning a trip to the area for the event, take advantage of your time there by seeing what else the Great Lakes Bay Region has to offer. Lindsay Gilbert of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau fills us in on her top 10 must-sees in the area.

Will you be at the Tall Ship Celebration? Check out the blog post we featured last week on the event to learn more!

The Tall Ship Celebration in Bay City will bring thousands to the Great Lakes Bay Region July 11th-14th.  And what a great time to visit other places in the region as well! There is so much to see and experience. Below are just some of the highlights that the region has to offer.  More can be found at visitgreatlakesbay.org.

1. Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum USS Edson DD-946, Bay City

Welcome Aboard! Learn about life on the destroyer named after Major General Merritt “Red Mike” Edson USMC as you walk through the 418-foot historic memorial to those who have protected our nation’s freedom and independence. Tours are conducted daily from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

2. Delta College Planetarium, Bay City

Delta College’s planetarium is your passport to the stars in downtown Bay City!  Travel on a spectacular journey through space and time.  On the 360°, 50’ diameter dome shaped projection screen, you will see stars, planets and other celestial bodies as they appear from your backyard or from the window of a spaceship.  Experience 3-D starfield projection with audience interaction.  Call (989) 667-2260 or go to delta.edu/planet to begin your trip.

3. Dow Gardens, Midland

Open all year, Midland’s Dow Gardens is truly a garden for all seasons developed by Herbert H. Dow, founder of The Dow Chemical Company.  Discover a 110-acre botanical garden, a system of ponds, a maze, Children’s Garden and Conservatory.  Enjoy outdoor movies and a tour of the estate home.  Times and events can be found at dowgardens.org or call (800) 362-4874.

4. Great Lakes Loons, Midland

Dow Diamond, in downtown Midland, is the home of the Great Lakes Loons, a Single-A Minor League Baseball affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers and member of the Midwest League. Scheduled home games can be found at their website: loons.com.  Call 1-888-678-2255 for tickets.

5. Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, Frankenmuth

The world’s largest Christmas store the size of 1 ½ football fields, Bronner’s in Frankenmuth is a shopper’s dream with over 50,000 trims and gifts.  Open 361 days a year.  Visit their website at bronners.com for directions.

6. Chesaning Showboat Music Festival

The annual variety show occurs the second full week in July. The Showboat serves as a backdrop to the stage for an audience of 6,000. Join in the fun with the Charlie Daniels Band and Bret Michaels.  You won’t want to miss this unique experience. The complete schedule can be found at www.chesaningshowboat.org. Call (989) 845-3056 for tickets.

7. Birch Run Premium Outlets

Stroll through this outdoor center and discover savings every day at 145 designer and name brand outlet stores.  Located in Section F, the Information Center offers a VIP Coupon Book worth hundreds of dollars in additional savings.  Directions and a list of stores can be found at premiumoutlets.com.

8. Celebration Square, Saginaw

There is something for all ages when you visit The Children’s Zoo, Mid-Michigan Children’s Museum, Celebration Skate Park, Hoyt Park, The Dow Event Center, Saginaw Art Museum, Castle Museum, Anderson Enrichment Center, Old Town Saginaw and Japanese Cultural Center and Tea House, all part of Saginaw’s Celebration Square.

The Temple Theatre stage. Photo courtesy of Ryan Collier.

9. Temple Theatre, Saginaw

Celebration Square in downtown Saginaw is the home of the beautiful restored Temple Theatre known as “The Showplace of Northeastern Michigan”.  It has seating for 1,750 and houses the only Barton Butterfield Special organ in original condition.  Events are found on their webpage, as well as tour information, at templetheatre.com or call (877) 754-SHOW (7469).

10. Wilderness Trails Zoo, Birch Run

This unique zoo experience with a mile long trail that winds past trees, ponds and over 50 species of exotic and native animals will be one that you won’t soon forget.  Open daily from May through October, the hours and admission prices can be found at www.wildernesstrailszoo.org.

Lindsay Gilbert became the Digital & Print Marketing Manager for the Great Lakes Bay Regional Convention & Visitors Bureau following her internship with the bureau in the summer of 2011.  As a graduate of Western Michigan University with degrees in both Graphic Design and Business marketing, she utilizes her education and experience to promote the region through digital, print, and social media platforms.  With her hometown also being located in the Great Lakes Bay Region, there’s no better place to live, work, and play!

For more things to do in Bay City and the Great Lakes Bay Region, visit michigan.org.

You’re Invited: Pure Michigan Chat with Bronner’s

On Tuesday at 3 p.m. ET, please join for a live Web chat with Wayne Bronner, the president and CEO of Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, the world’s largest Christmas store. Wayne’s father, Wally Bronner, was the recipient of the first Pure Michigan Outstanding Achievement in Tourism Award.  The chat is open to everybody and you can submit your questions in the chat box below which we’ll open up a few minutes before 3 p.m. on Tuesday.

For more on Bronner’s, check out this guest post on our blog from last week. We hope you can join us!

A Pure Michigan Christmas All Year Long at Bronner’s

On today’s blog, Lori Libka from Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland gives an overview of the World’s Largest Christmas Store.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year” 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 all year long.

Bronner’s late originator, Wally Bronner, a sign painter and window dresser in the mid to late 1940s, began providing cities and businesses with Christmas decorations upon request in the early 1950s. Requests for home holiday décor soon followed, and the year-round Christmas decorations business was born.

Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland’s first year-round location, a downtown structure built by Wally’s father, quickly expanded to two additional buildings. In 1977, Bronner’s moved to its current location, 25 Christmas Lane, where it continued to expand.

Bronner’s features over 50,000 trims and gifts for all seasons, reasons and budgets. Half of Bronner’s items sell for under $10, and two thirds sell for under $20. Guests to Bronner’s can find an ornament to commemorate most any occasion from over 6,000 ornament styles available. Many ornaments can be personalized at no additional cost. Customer service can put together a beautiful ornament gift box in celebration of a wedding, anniversary, birthday, retirement, new baby, or other special occasion. Friends unable to make a visit to the Frankenmuth store can shop Bronner’s online at www.bronners.com, where Christmas lights, trees, wreaths, ornaments, stockings, tree skirts, collectibles, Nativity scenes, home décor, outdoor décor and more are available.

Nearly two million guests visit Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland annually from around the world. Bronner’s and Frankenmuth  make a popular summer vacation destination and a must-see attraction during the months leading up to Christmas. Bronner’s salesroom, the size of 1.7 football fields (2.2 acres), is filled with displays featuring over 300 decorated trees and more than 700 animated and fiberglass figurines. Approximately 100,000 lights illuminate Bronner’s half-mile long Christmas Lane every evening for guests’ enjoyment.

A visit to Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland isn’t complete without a stop by the Silent Night Memorial Chapel. A replica of the original chapel in Oberndorf, Austria, where “Silent Night” was first sung in 1818, Bronner’s chapel was dedicated in 1992. A tribute of thankfulness to God from Wally and Irene Bronner and family, the memorial chapel is open daily for visitation and meditation. The Bronner family will host a Christmas-carol sing-along Thursday and Friday, December 22 and 23, from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. in Bronner’s program center in section 2. On Saturday, December 24, from 3 p.m. to 3:15 p.m., a member of the Bronner family and guest guitarist will lead the singing of “Silent Night” in Bronner’s Silent Night Memorial Chapel. The public is invited to attend.