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!

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. 

7 Reasons to be Thankful for Michigan

Today, guest blogger Joanna Dueweke of the Awesome Mitten brings us 7 reasons to be thankful for the state of Michigan.

With winter just around the corner, November is the perfect time to reflect on just what it is about Michigan that is so grand. Thanksgiving reminds us to be thankful for what we have, and we have so much to be thankful for in this dynamic state.

Seasons – Depending on who you’re talking to (namely the staunch summer or winter lovers), the changing of the seasons is one of the most magical aspects of living in the Mitten. We have so much opportunity to diversify in hobbies, wardrobes, moods, and scenery with the passing of the each season. No one can deny that when the heat of an Indian Summer gives way to a crisp fall wind that there isn’t some sense of relief. Similarly, we all jump the gun to break out our flip flops and shorts on the first day the weather returns to the high 50s, knowing full well it could still snow the following week.

Water – You can’t drive for more than 20 minutes anywhere in the state without running into a body of fresh water, whether it be a great lake, regular lake, river, creek or pond. We are blessed to be positioned in harmony with so many fresh water resources. Whether you like to fish, kayak, swim, sail, you name it, we musn’t forget that, “Four out of five Great Lakes prefer Michigan.”

Variety – Just like Goldilocks, Michiganders are privileged to be able to find a town that is just right for them. We have them in all sizes; from the booming large metropolises to those dainty and quaint villages, there’s a city for everyone in the Mitten. That variety lends itself to so many aspects of the state, right down to the diversity of people. We have a conglomeration of beliefs, backgrounds and passions that come together to create a community dedicated to taking care our home.

LibationsBeer, wine, liquor – the folks in Michigan are doing it all and most likely just down the street from you with ingredients found in our collective backyards. The innovation and enthusiasm coming out of the state’s alcohol industry is nothing short of a marvel. We may be relatively young in our development in these industries, but we are making a name for ourselves with haste that tastes fantastic.

SportsLions and Tigers and Wings and Pistons, oh my! Our professional sports teams are a point of pride, not to mention the countless high performing college teams showing up every week giving us hope. Michigan is host to some of the most voracious fans which should not be taken lightly. Whether we steal the World Series or take home the Stanley Cup, we are out there (or behind the TV) watching, wishing, and winning.

People – Michiganders are just plain great. We should be grateful for one another. Without that, we wouldn’t have a state that is coming back strong from a devastating economic downturn, or creative artists making a name for our state on a global scale, or musicians showing up on awards ceremony stages. No, the people pointing out where they’re from and where they’ve lived with an open palm are the reason this state is flourishing and making noise on a national scale.

Adventure – Finally, the Mitten is full of adventure. Whether you’re looking for an urban experience steeped in rich cultural heritage, or looking to escape it all and camp beneath the stars, Michigan is the place to be. Not only is there variety in what can be found in the state, but it is supported by quality folks making sure that adventure is not one to be forgotten.

The list could go on and on. Why are you thankful for the state of Michigan?

Joanna Dueweke writes for the Awesome Mitten and is the Interactive Marketing Coordinator for the Detroit Regional Chamber. Born and raised in Traverse City, she is enjoying new adventures in the Detroit area, but also values her roots in Northern Michigan. Exploring the outdoors, sailing, travel, and enjoying the Mitten’s beer industry consume her time when she is not pursuing her Master’s in Library and Information Science at Wayne State University.