DNR Events: Say Yes to Michigan Day, state parks centennial fun and more

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DNR Events - May 2019

Birdwatcher looks through binoculars at wetland area with bicycle nearby

Here are a few ways to get out and enjoy Michigan’s natural resources in May. For a full list of events, see the Department of Natural Resources calendar at Michigan.gov/DNRCalendar

Say Yes to Michigan Day at Michigan History Museum May 11

docent dressed as 20th-century motorist smiles at boy in goggles

Join the Michigan History Center for a free, family-friendly event that celebrates the real stories of Michigan with Say Yes to Michigan Day at the Michigan History Museum in Lansing Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Celebrate the Michigan state parks centennial, mingle with suffragettes, have a laugh with Michigan-themed puppets by Mullin Entertainment, make a May basket for Mom, participate in scavenger hunts and hourly giveaways, and much more. What are you waiting for? Say “YES!” and bring the whole family to this unforgettable celebration of all things Michigan.

Free admission to this event is made possible by Michiganology. Each purchase from Michiganology.com supports free public event days like this one at the Michigan History Center.

Celebrate 100 years of state parks with events across the state

Group gathered outside of Ludington State Park lighthouse

May 12 marks the official 100th birthday of Michigan state parks. On this date in 1919, the Michigan Legislature established the Michigan State Park Commission, paving the way for Michigan's state parks system. The DNR is marking this 100-year milestone with the Michigan state parks centennial celebration throughout the entire year. Centennial events coming up in May, in addition to Say Yes To Michigan Day (see above), include:

See the full centennial event calendar for more fun events taking place across the state throughout the year or find other ways to join in the celebration at Michigan.gov/StateParks100.

Get kids outdoors for National Kids to Parks Day May 18

DNR staffer leads kids on a sand dune walk at Hoffmaster State Park

State parks and visitor centers around Michigan will celebrate National Kids to Parks Day – a nationwide day of outdoor play the third Saturday of May – with a variety of fun events.

Bring the kids out to these events Saturday, May 18:

  • Bay City State Park – Wetland Wake-Up Field Day (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.). This event will include several ongoing lab stations, inside and outside, to investigate different parts of nature with hands-on projects and experiments.
  • Interlochen State Park – Centennial Summer Fun Open House (noon to 4 p.m.). Get hands-on with the DNR trucks, participate in a scavenger hunt, get a selfie with Smokey Bear, try your hand at archery and casting, and much more.
  • Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling – The Art of Nature (sessions starting at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.). Learn how to draw things in nature, then head outside to practice what you’ve learned.
  • Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon – Dune Discovery Hike (10-10:30 a.m.). On this short hike along the Lake Michigan Trail, children will get to conduct an experiment with sand and climb the “big” dune.
  • Ludington State Park – Sun Day Saturday (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.). Bring the family out for some fun activities that center around learning about our sun, the power plant for Earth.
  • Oden Fish Hatchery Visitor Center – Explore Aquatic Invertebrates (10-11 a.m.). Actively sample what lives in the stream year-round and see the hidden life cycle of common insects.
  • Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise – National Kids to Parks Day Hike (1-2 p.m.). Take part in hands-on activities during a short hike around the Lower Falls. Make track books, and participate in a scavenger hunt!
  • Waterloo Recreation Area in Chelsea – Nature-based Obstacle Course (1-3 p.m.). Visit the new nature play area and join in the fun learning the basic jumping techniques of Parkour.
  • Wolf Lake State Fish Hatchery in Mattawan – Family Nature Hike (1-2 p.m.). Enjoy the sights and sounds of spring on a family friendly hike on the hatchery’s nature trails.

State Parks Centennial GeoTour kicks off May 24

The State Parks Centennial GeoTour, a partnership with the Michigan Geocaching Organization kicking off May 24, is your opportunity to seek out 100 new caches while tipping your hat to 100 years of state parks. It's a fun way to explore, and you will join one of 3 million geocachers looking for millions of caches located all over the world. Once you find a certain number of caches, you can earn rewards.

Explore Michigan's Wetland Wonders and win

During the DNR's new Wetland Wonders Challenge (now through July 14), visitors are invited to visit one of Michigan's Wetland Wonders, snap a photo by the official challenge sign and then submit it for a chance to win a gift card. Scattered across the state, these areas provide great year-round recreation opportunities like birding, boating, fishing, hiking and hunting, not to mention capturing great photos.

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