State Park, Historic Sites, Museums and Interactive Activities on Mackinac Island
Mackinac Island State Park (906) 847-3328
For sheer, intense beauty and grandeur, the Mackinac State Park is one of Mother Nature’s most awe-inspiring treasures. Encompassing over 80% of Mackinac Island, the park offers the following attractions.
Founded during the American Revolution, the British captured the Fort in the very first engagement on American soil in the War of 1812. Inside, 14 original buildings, cannon salutes, bugle music, daily reenactments, and interactive displays speak of America’s infancy. Located on a bluff that overlooks the entrancing Straits of Mackinac. Tours, exhibits and demonstrations.
After the British and their allies captured Fort Mackinac during the War of 1812, they quickly built a small outpost and called it Fort George. When the Americans regained the Fort by treaty at the end of the War of 1812, it was renamed Fort Holmes after the American Major Andrew Hunter Holmes who succumbed to wounds during a futile attempt to retake the Fort from the British in 1814.
During the night of July 16-17, 1812, a small force of British regulars and several hundred voyageurs and Indian allies landed and occupied a height that overlooked Fort Mackinac and demanded its surrender. Lt. Porter Hanks, commander of the American garrison of 57 soldiers, had not known that war had been declared. Realizing that resistance was hopeless, Hanks capitulated without a fight.
Some days, it’s as if some heavenly painter accidentally tipped an easel and buckets of colors fell upon the Island. Here you’ll experience the deepest reds, oranges, and illuminating yellows. It’s a four-season sensory event: the greenest greens, purest snows, and waters as blue as blue can be. It’s only appropriate that this Island, being a work of art sculpted and painted from the hands of Mother Nature, boasts several prestigious art museums.
Horse in History Museum
Mackinac Horsemen’s Association is excited to showcase this compilation of photographs at the entrance of the Mackinac Community Equestrian Center (MCEC) showing Mackinac Island’s unique horse culture. From photos selected from the State Park Archives to personal photos of Islanders and their horses, it is exciting to bring to life the daily interaction between the horse and their humans. The Museum also contains information the barn site which was the location of the historic Dousman farm. Located at 3800 British Landing Road across from Wawashkamo Golf Club.
Original Butterfly House and Insect World
This 1800 sq ft tropical garden is filled with hundreds of live butterflies from four continents and is the 3rd oldest live butterfly exhibit in the United States.
The Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Art Museum
The newest museum on the Island comes by the generous contributions of Richard and Jane Manoogian and showcases Native American baskets to present-day paintings. It’s a three-level structure that focuses upon fine and decorative arts throughout the years. Interactive displays, hands-on activities, exhibitions, and a Kids’ Art Studio. A must see on your visit to Mackinac State Park.
St. Anne’s Church Museum
A museum that highlights the religious history of the Island goes back to the late 1600’s when the Island and America was in their infancy. It reflects upon the dedicated Jesuits and Catholic immigrants that helped form the Island’s culture.
Stuart House Museum
It illuminates the Island’s history and is where John Jacob Astor made his living as a fur trader during the 1800s.
Surrey Hills Carriage Museum
An antique carriage museum that features a working blacksmith shop, Surrey Hills lets you explore and learn about carriages. Three shops offer food, gifts, and souvenirs. There is a picnic ground for a reflective time
Wings of Mackinac
All ages can enjoy seeing hundreds of tropical and native butterflies beautifully dancing among lush plants, water fountains while sitting and taking in the gorgeous scenery around you and witnessing this display of butterflies flying all around you. Located at Surrey Hills.
There are several playgrounds to while away the hours in at Mackinac State Park. Behind the Richard and Jane Manoogian Mackinac Island Art Museum is a cute playground with a jungle gym for children to have fun. The Mackinac Island Public School is at the foothills of Grand Hotel and offers a large jungle gym, swing sets overlooking the straits of Mackinac, and other fun stuff. In the middle of the Island is Great Turtle Park. The park has a baseball diamond, skateboard park, swings, monkey bars, and a BBQ area complete with picnic tables.