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Out and About in Ann Arbor

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If you looked at the heart of Ann Arbor, Michigan—located about 40 miles from downtown Detroit—you’d find that one of its life-pumping ventricles is the downtown area.

The other “chamber” in this boutique town with a population of about 114,000, is the very youthful and vibrant ambiance created in part by the close to 43,000 students attending the University of Michigan (and 19,000+ at nearby Eastern Michigan University).

Perhaps one of the most unexpected entities here is the University of Michigan Museum of Art Encompassing 94,000 square feet of exhibit space, the museum was originally constructed in 1909 as a memorial to honor those from the University who served in the Civil War.

Today it is home to an astounding collection of 19,000 ancient, modern and contemporary sculptures, photographs, paintings, textiles, prints, and other works of art representing African, Middle Eastern, Asian, European, American and other cultures, including works created by some of the world masters such as Monet, Delacroix and Picasso, just to name a few.

It really is one of the best museums in the country, and so unexpected given that it is situated right on the main University campus, it size making it one of the largest university art museums.

Outdoor campus attractions include the Matthaei Botanical Gardens and Nichols Arboretum, together featuring 475 acres of trails—some running along the Huron River riverfront—a 123-acre living museum with a wealth of themed display gardens, several collections of historic and native plant habitats, a conservatory, and more.

The coveted cherry on top of the University cake is definitely the University of Michigan Stadium—home to the University of Michigan Wolverines football team—and affectionately known as “The Big House.”

With seating for almost 110,000 people, it is the largest football stadium in the U.S., and boasts a running record of 258 games at 100,000-plus capacity going back to 1975. Whether or not you follow football, or sports, embarking upon the incredible behind-the-scenes tour of the facility, which includes the skyboxes, suites, press boxes, home team locker room, and a walk through the tunnel onto the massive playing field is a must.

Lots to See and Do

Residents and visitors alike enjoy a wealth of cultural entities here, including the Kelsey Museum of Archaeology featuring a collection of Mediterranean and Near Eastern ancient and medieval artifacts; the Detroit Observatory, built in 1854 and still possessing and operating with its original astronomical instruments; and the Museum of Natural History and Planetarium focusing on prehistoric people and animals, geology, anthropology, Michigan wildlife, plus a 360-degree domed planetarium.

Those with melodious interests will enjoy the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments, reportedly one of the largest collections of musical instruments (over 2,500) from around the globe housed in a North American university, as well as the wide array of theater, music and dance performances presented at the University Musical Society, one of the oldest U.S. performing arts organizations. 

Other interesting sites and attractions in town include The Burton Memorial Tower and the Charles Baird Carillon The tower, featuring an observation deck offering spectacular bird’s eye views of Ann Arbor, is home to the University of Michigan School of Music classes, as well as the Charles Baird Carillon. Comprised of 55 bells weighing between 31 pounds and 12 tons, and consisting of at least two octaves of bells in a series and played from a keyboard, the Carillon is the third heaviest in the world.

Attractions suitable for the entire family within the county include both indoor and outdoor entities. Zap Zone Laser Tag is billed as “the most advanced laser game entertainment system in the world,” while the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum features 250 hands-on, interactive exhibits.

The Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center delves into the natural animal habitats found in the Waterloo Recreation Area which spans over 20,000 acres and offers a wealth of year-round activities including swimming, boating, ice and warm weather fishing, cross-country skiing, hiking and biking.

Speaking of al fresco adventures, there’s also the Leslie Science and Nature Center, with 50 acres of wild Michigan forest and fields and their respective creatures, golfers will find over a dozen public golf courses within a 25-mile radius of the city, and auto racing fans will enjoy all of the action at the Michigan International Speedway.

This is just the beginning of all the area has to offer.

Check out these great things to see, do and eat in and around Ann Arbor!

Welcome to Ann Arbor

A Taste of Ann Arbor

Charming Ypsilanti

 

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