Dow Gardens | @calvinmarteen

Take a curated walking tour, self-guided, at Dow Gardens! Find yourself immersed in more than 20,000 blooms as you stroll through glorious acres including the Color and Rose Gardens, Stream Walk, and Boulder Pass waterfall. Experience Whiting Forest, too, with its unique canopy walk above the trees — including a glass-floor viewing platform 40 feet high!

Refresh at Chippewa Nature Center this spring. Enjoy a guided bike ride on the Chippewa Trail — or an evening kayak trip with a naturalist, spotting herons, hawks, and eagles as you paddle. With 19 miles of trails to explore, join a Spring Wildflower Walk or Full Moon Stroll!

Climb to new heights, test your limits, and feel like you're flying at Frankenmuth Aerial Park! A sky-high obstacle course with adventures for all skill levels, this wooded park is woven with ladders, rope bridges, and ziplines for a one-of-a-kind experience in the trees.

Put your toes in the sand along the shoreline at Bay City State Park. With a boat launch, picnic areas, and volleyball and basketball courts, stop into the on-site Saginaw Bay Visitors Center for even more nature exploration!

Climb two observation towers inside Tobico Marsh! Accessible through Bay City State Park, Tobico Marsh is a scenic, 2,000-acre wetland that’s home to migratory birds, wildlife, plants, walking trails, a beautiful boardwalk, and two 32-foot observation towers with panoramic views.

Go exploring to see where four rivers converge at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge! Located in the Saginaw Bay watershed, it’s one of the largest wetland ecosystems in Michigan and a scenic home to egrets, geese, warblers, and more.

The Tridge | @mi_playground
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Outdoor Adventures
Boat Tours in Frankenmuth | @michiganaddicts

Experience the iconic Bavarian Belle Riverboat. Docked at the waterfalls of Frankenmuth River Place Shops, relax on the canopied upper deck or in the fully-enclosed lower salon of this authentic paddlewheel riverboat. Discover fascinating facts about Frankenmuth and enjoy scenic views of the Cass River on the one-hour narrated tour.

Attend a wine tasting on the water! Book a Wine & Chocolate River Tour with Frankenmuth FunShips to enjoy five wines expertly paired with five handmade chocolates, a full glass of your favorite selection, two additional wine samples, and a stemless souvenir glass. Salud!

Ride a shallow-draft, custom-built boat through 18,000 acres of pristine nature on a personally guided tour of Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge with Johnny Panther Quests Adventure Trips. Rated a GEM ‘Great Experience for Members’ Attraction of Michigan by AAA, discover the “Everglades of Michigan” with a one-of-a-kind, expert guide.

Yell, “Fish on!” Spend the day catching big ones on Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay with the pros of a Saginaw Bay walleye fishing charter! After spring spawning in tributary rivers, walleye enter the Bay — fueling hot springtime fisheries. Study these tips for targeting spring walleye before you go!

Float into a radiant sunset this spring when you book a Sunset Paddle Tour with Ike’s Mobile Kayak Rentals. Choose the launch and pick-up sites you prefer, and decide between sit-on or sit-in 12-foot kayaks. Paddle yourself along the Cass River's calm waters on a self-guided tour with Frankenmuth Kayak Adventures, pick a two- to four-hour outing from Nor’East Outdoors’ offerings, drop in rentals from Float Paddle Center, or venture onto Saginaw Bay with Cattail Kayak Rental.

Midland City Forest | @diaryofamadplantlady

Take on the Mountain Biking Trail, or eight miles of winding bike trails that twist and turn over flat land and steep hills within Midland City Forest! A 520-acre mecca for bikers, runners, hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, City Forest is home to Ray’s Bike Shop where thrill-seekers can test out Specialized, Salso, Surly, Trek, and other mountain bikes on the trail.

Take a horse-drawn carriage ride! Enjoy a guided tour through the streets of “Little Bavaria” with Fantasy Carriage Company, located next to Zehnder’s, or The New Frankenmuth Carriage Company, located beneath the Glockenspiel Tower at Bavarian Inn. With beautifully carved carriages and extraordinary horses, your leisurely ride with either carriage company will include history, lore, intriguing scenery, and insider gems about Frankenmuth.

Spot a peregrine falcon this spring! Bring your binoculars to the Saginaw Bay Birding Trail, a birder’s paradise of sprawling shoreline that is a natural habitat for more than 200 species of birds. Covering a total of 142 miles, the Saginaw Bay Birding Trail is home to all from tundra swans and great egrets to American white pelicans — and the best time to witness birds is often early morning.

Ride through fields of wildflowers on the 21-mile Bay City Area Riverwalk/Railtrail! Part of the Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail — which also includes the 30-mile Pere Marquette Rail Trail and 11-mile Saginaw Valley Rail Trail — this interconnected system offers varying scenery and even some spectacular waterfront views! Look to local Ray’s Bike Shop in Midland or Bay City to rent rides for your time on the trails!

Feet on the Street in Bay City | @miles2gobeforeisleep

Pedal below the 3rd Street Star Bridge with Sunrise Pedal Trolley! Experience illuminating lights strung between rooftops, and partake in a mobile party on a 16-person, pedal-powered trolley bike. Guests choose drinks, festivities, and music, and each two-hour trolley tour includes architecture, ambiance, shops, and local pubs (if you like) of Bay City!

Power through Little Bavaria on a City River Tour with PedAle Trolley. Two-hour daily City River Tours on this 16-person, pedal-powered trolley include three to five stops at Frankenmuth shops, restaurants, pubs, and attractions. PedAle Trolley sells single seats, too, on its Thursday & Saturday pub crawl tours, and offers a five- to seven-person bike option: its unique Circle Cruiser.

Catch a game ball! Grab your lucky baseball and softball mitts, and head out to a Great Lakes Loons game. Watch riveting Minor League Baseball with 5,200 stadium seats to choose from and 12 suites available for private viewing, or bring a blanket to cheer from the lawn!

Get a hole-in-one this spring, or have fun trying! Set your tee time at Apple Mountain to golf an 18-hole championship course with four sets of tee boxes, generous fairways, true greens — and breathtaking views of the surrounding resort. Or, tee off on greens inspired by golf's early Scottish origins at The Fortress, an 18-hole, par 72 course that’s been noted as one of the top golf courses in Michigan.

The Fortress | @thefortressgolf
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Public Golf Courses
Art Seen Festival Mural | @megsymarie13

Take a riveting route through public art with the Great Lakes Bay Region Public Art Passport. Uncover intriguing details about outdoor art on display throughout the region — from the Madonna Mural in Downtown Bay City to the enormous Matisse Mural in Old Town Saginaw — with photos, Google map locations, and aerial viewing opportunities!

Find 50 pieces of public art with Art Around the City, an outdoor exhibition featuring 50 Artists of the Great Lakes Bay Region! Find this project displayed throughout Downtown Bay City, Uptown Bay City, Veterans Park, and Bigelow Park around the Bay City Area Riverwalk/Railtrail. Look for each piece of artwork, reproduced on a metal plate and with an accompanying informational plaque of the artist.

Snap a photo by the wall-sized butterfly at Old Town Saginaw Street Art Park. Explore a mecca of murals and an impressive array of street art including mini-murals with bright flowers, a larger-than-life bright orange butterfly, and the colorful Court Street Bridge Mural.

Stroll through a garden of sculptures. Visit the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum and the outdoor Jo Anne & Donald Petersen Sculpture Garden to enjoy beautiful bronze sculptures, botanical beds, and the sounds of water created by the Day and Night Fountain.

Riverfront Saginaw | @with_hayes
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Places to See Public Art
Bringing the kids along on your spring adventure? These outdoor attractions are local favorites, families!
Saginaw Children's Zoo | @shineonsunfish

Ride the Iberschoff Special train at the Saginaw Children’s Zoo! Swing like a capuchin in “Monkey Jungle”, climb “Kilimanjaro Mountain”, dive into an “Underwater Viewing Cave”, and spin around on the carousel’s hand-carved figurines. Enjoy lunch right on-site at the Train Whistle Café, and don’t leave without pictures of the peacocks!

See “lions and tigers and bears, oh my” at Wilderness Trails Zoo in Birch Run! With a “Petting Area”, “Picnic Area”, “Parakeet Encounter” and “Rainforest Experience”, this 56-acre zoo is home to more than 200 exotic animals including a bird-eating spider, red-tailed boa constrictor, lions, reptiles, bears, bobcats, and zebras.

Grandpa Tiny's Farm | @consistently_curious

Pet Rosie the Donkey and meet Mr. Nibbles (the very soft bunny who doesn’t nibble) at Grandpa Tiny’s Farm, a working historical farm in Frankenmuth. Enjoy hands-on, family-friendly learning experiences, hayrides, and a place where petting and holding the farm animals is welcomed!

Hit the batting cages, race go-karts together, or team up for laser tag at Kokomo’s Family Fun Center! With an 18-hole miniature golf course, bumper boats, arcade games, and the “Family Kombo” of pizza and pop available (ice-cold beer, too, parents), this place has something for everyone this spring!

Try bank-shot basketball before deciding between two mini golf courses at Alpine Mountain, or play both! Ride single & double bumper boats and go-karts, and enjoy time together at the small arcade — and the on-site ice cream!

Race on a slick track at Dutch Village Adventure Park! Slap high fives in batting cages and on bumper boats, and golf your way up and around a massive waterfall while playing 18 holes of miniature golf!

Enjoy a free waffle cone on Wednesdays at Buoy 18 Miniature Golf, Arcade & Ice Cream Shop! Serving up Michigan-made Ashby's Sterling ice cream, complete with vegan and gluten-free flavors, spend a delicious day putt-putting your way through 18 holes, overlooking the scenic Liberty Harbor Marina on the Saginaw River, and enjoying the game room — free every day with your golf purchase!

Zehnder's Splash Village
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Spring Fun for Families
Jen W. O'Deay

Jen is a Saginaw native and owner of Feel These Words, an independent copywriting studio & home to the free "5 Day Website MiniBoost". Jen specializes in writing that connects, delivered through website copy, branded content articles, and WingWoman writing services. You'll find Jen camping with her family, laughing, and at

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