For kids, there is a time to learn. (That’s called school.) And there’s a time for fun. (That’s called vacation.)
But us parents know better. Taking a trip is often a learning experience, even for adults. Going different places and seeing different things exposes us to new experiences, broadening our horizons and opening our minds to new ways of understanding the world.
That’s even more true for kids, who are constantly processing new information with each and every daily encounter. And it’s especially true on Mackinac Island. That’s because out of all the words to describe Mackinac Island, perhaps the best one is “unique.”
What you see and do on Mackinac Island is just different from anywhere else. In other words, Mackinac Island is full of one-of-a-kind interactions that are both educational and fun at the same time – whatever your age.
That’s why Mackinac Island makes a fantastic field trip for science. And Mackinac Island is a great place to learn history, too. Even more than that, a visit to Mackinac Island is an eye-opening cultural experience.
Here are just a few ways to expose your kids (and yourself!) to the wider world on Mackinac Island:
Food on Mackinac Island
Yes, you can find pizza, mac-n-cheese and all the staples your kids love while visiting Mackinac Island. You can also browse the shelves at Doud’s Market on Mackinac Island and find a wide selection of foods from all over the world. Did you know about 1,000 foreign guest workers come to Mackinac Island each year? Doud’s supplies those Mackinac Island workers with foods from Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and beyond. Why not pack a few of those ingredients for a Mackinac Island picnic? Of course, Mackinac Island is home to a diverse collection of restaurants, too. Get Jamaican fare at Kingston Kitchen, for example, or dishes from south of the border at Amigo Burrito Mexican Grill. And no Mackinac Island visit is complete without enjoying a dinner of northern Michigan whitefish straight out of the Great Lakes!
Art on Mackinac Island
Perhaps nothing expresses the culture of a place better than its art. And Mackinac Island has no shortage of beautiful works! In addition to the Richard & Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum, there are several intriguing art galleries on Mackinac Island. You’ll also find exhibits in some of the places to stay on Mackinac Island including Murray Hotel, Mission Point Resort and Grand Hotel. And there are several permanent sculptures dispersed throughout Mackinac Island. Plus, the Mackinac Arts Council organizes weekly Music in the Park concerts and other live performances throughout the year.
Transportation on Mackinac Island
There’s something captivating about how people get around on Mackinac Island. A place without cars has a historic feel, for sure. But it’s more than that. The horse-drawn carriages and bicycles of Mackinac Island have a big impact on how people live. Life just moves at a slower pace on Mackinac Island. People walk more. They spend more time outdoors. They take time to stop and smell the lilacs! For a fascinating lesson in how transportation has shaped Mackinac Island through the generations, visit the Grand Hotel Stables and Carriage Museum or the Surrey Hills Carriage Museum.
Native American Culture on Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island gets its name from a Native American word for “great turtle,” because the island looks a bit like a turtle shell rising out of the water. That’s just one of many Native American influences on Mackinac Island. You can learn all about the relationship between Mackinac Island and native peoples on Mackinac Island’s Native American Cultural History Trail, which has six free turnouts along M-185 with markers detailing the history and impact of Native Americans on the Great Lakes. For a small admission fee, you can also check out the Biddle House Mackinac Island Native American Museum.
Fudge on Mackinac Island
Of course, the economy of a place is a major contributing factor to its culture. And the best illustration of the tourism economy on Mackinac Island may be the many fudge shops in town. You can watch Mackinac Island fudge makers demonstrate their craft and enjoy free samples of their labors, too.
Come experience a different time and place this year. After immersing yourself in the culture of Mackinac Island, you just might not ever want to go back home!