DNR Events: Summer camp-like fun, Michigan history experiences and more

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DNR Events - August 2022

boardwalk through the forest at RAM Center

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

‘Lodge and Learn’ on Higgins Lake for a summer camp-like experience

three people sitting in wooden chairs on shore of Higgins Lake

Find your favorite people and come explore the great outdoors, learn new skills and make memories that will last a lifetime with Lodge and Learn at the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center, on the northern shore of Higgins Lake in Roscommon.

Designed for multiple generations to enjoy, this all-inclusive package for up to 12 people – offered Aug. 12-14, Aug. 19-21 and Aug. 29-31 – is like a private summer camp for your friends and family. Your group can lodge at the RAM Center and learn about local wildlife, Michigan ecosystems and outdoor skills.

The package includes three days filled with your choice of summer-camp style programs provided by your own nature educator, two nights of lodging for your group, an evening bonfire with s'mores, use of kayaks for those over 16, and all your meals for one rate of $2,200 for the stay!

Select your favorite Lodge and Learn programs when you register.

Offerings for adults are Birdwatching 101, RAM Center Escape Room, Tour Historic Higgins Lake Tree Nursery and CCC Museum, Compassing and Navigation 101, and Fishing Knot Jewelry.

Programs for families are Leaf Impressions: Looking at Shapes, Water Bug Investigation, Mini Biodiversity Investigation, Parent-Guided Scavenger Hunt, Invasive Species “Among Us”: A Naturalist’s Version, Signs Animals Leave Behind and Sensing like a Wild Animal – Sight, Sound, Touch, Smell.

Registration is available through the Lodge and Learn event registration form. Call the RAM Center at 989-821-6200 for more details.

Have fun with Michigan history at museum sites across the state

Men playing baseball in vintage uniforms

As you travel around the state this summer, don’t miss out on experiencing our state’s past at the Michigan History Center’s 12 museums and historic sites. The Michigan History Museum System will host a variety of fun and educational events around the state in August.

Cambridge Junction Historic State Park in Brooklyn

  • Walker Wheels Historic Base Ball Invitational, Aug. 27
    Cheer on the home-team Walker Wheels as they compete against other historic base ball clubs in this annual invitational tournament. They all play the game by 1860s rules – no gloves, no swearing! – when the sport was so new, it was spelled as two words.

Fort Wilkins in Copper Harbor

Higgins Lake Nursery and CCC Museum in Roscommon

  • A Tree Party!, Aug. 6
    Celebrate forests and the hard work the Civilian Conservation Corps did in Michigan! You can cool off with an ice-cold, local root beer and meet Smokey Bear, tour Michigan’s first tree nursery, watch as a shortwave radio operator shows how CCC members communicated between camps and learn about the life of a CCC boy from reenactors. Make your weekend even more fun – stay overnight with event cohost, the Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center, where you'll enjoy a special CCC dinner and the enchanting songs and stories of Bill Jamerson’s CCC Boy program – register using MobileCause.com.

Michigan History Museum in Lansing

  • Mathias J. Alten: An American Artist at the Turn of the Century, through Nov. 6
    This special exhibition highlights the life and work of noted Michigan artist Mathias J. Alten, who was born in what is now Germany in 1871, came to the United States at age 17 and settled in Grand Rapids. The exhibition features more than 45 works and artifacts, from Alten's naturalization papers as a U.S. citizen to his impressionist oil paintings – some that celebrate Michigan’s compelling natural landscapes.

Michigan Iron Industry Museum in Negaunee

For more details about everything going on at the Michigan History Center, see the MHC events calendar.

Find family fun at Outdoor Adventure Center

two people riding bicycles on paved, tree-lined path

Looking for something fun for the family to do – or a chance to learn more about Michigan’s outdoors – in Detroit? Check out some of these upcoming events at the DNR Outdoor Adventure Center.

Get hooked on fishing

Aug. 6, learn more about the fish found in the Detroit River, how to fish, the parts of a fish and how to identify fish with Get Hooked on Fishing, a catch-and-release fishing program. Equipment, bait and instruction will be provided; beginners are welcome! Included with the price of admission, but preregistration required to ensure the availability of supplies.

Adults interested in fishing for the first time and seasoned anglers alike, grab your fishing license for Fishing With Friends Aug. 12. We’ll fish near the harbor at Milliken State Park and offer prizes for the most fish, biggest fish and smallest fish caught. Don’t let this one get away! Beer, wine and snacks provided. For age 21 and over only. Cost is $20 per person.

Relax and see what you can reel in during an evening of fishing on the Detroit River Aug. 25, with a Thrilling Thursday that’s all about fishing. For these monthly, family-friendly, free evenings of fun, we offer free admission from 6 to 8 p.m. for all our visitors. Equipment, bait and instruction will be provided, and beginners are welcome.

Get to know nocturnal animals

Join us for Nighttime Animals on Belle Isle, a series of outdoor nighttime animal explorations, Aug. 11. We’ll take a hike to look for resident bats, listen to the calls of summer insects, attract moths to observe up close and more. Taking place at the Belle Isle Nature Center, the hike is recommended for ages 8 and up. An adult must accompany children under the age of 18. The event is free, but registration is required.

Aug. 27, find out what happens after the sun goes down with Nature's Night Life, an exciting exploration into the world of nocturnal animals presented by Leslie Science and Nature Center. Meet live animals such as bats, owls and arachnids to learn why they choose to work in the dark and how they are adapted for life at night. Included with the price of OAC admission.

Get on your bike and ride

Bring your bikes and join us for our Dequindre Cut Bike Ride Aug. 13. During this leisurely, 4-mile-roundtrip ride along the Dequindre Cut to Eastern Market, we’ll learn about the history of the area and explore the market. Upon our return to the Outdoor Adventure Center, we'll cool down with lemonade and a snack. Suggested for ages 7 and up. This is a free outdoor event. Regular admission fees apply for building access.

Get the lowdown on all the August fun

Learn more about everything that’s coming up – including opportunities to try archery, nature education programs for kids and more – on the Outdoor Adventure Center events calendar.

Don’t miss out on floating fitness at state parks

If you’re looking for a fun outdoor fitness experience, there’s still plenty of opportunity to check out stand-up paddleboard yoga or PaddleFit – combining intervals of paddling and various types of exercises for a great nonimpact core muscle workout – at Pinckney Recreation Area in Pinckney or Island Lake Recreation Area in Brighton.

Learn how to get started with turkey hunting

Join us as we team up with the National Wild Turkey Federation for an Intro to Turkey Hunting clinic – an "A to Z" class covering everything you need to know to get started, including how to find a location, scouting, calling and gear – at Hoffmaster State Park in Muskegon Aug. 9. The clinic also includes an intro to BB gun shooting.

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