Great Things to Do in Midland, Michigan

by Jodi
(Midland, Michigan)

Visitor Midland Michigan Tips: Bring a bicycle to this two-wheel-friendly town and get ready for some affordable family fun.

Start on a Saturday morning at the Farmers Market, near Midland's iconic Tridge near downtown. Bring your bike and basket for fresh produce, flowers, bread and honey at the market. Then check out the Tridge, a unique three-footed pedestrian bridge over the juncture of the Tittabawassee and Chippewa rivers, with parks and a free sprayground nearby. The Tridge is newly spruced in honor of its 30th birthday in 2011.

Stop for a picnic or save the snacks and pedal on, taking the adjacent Pere Marquette RailTrail, a former rail line now home to bikers, walkers, in-line skaters and more along the riverside, with plenty of shady spots. The ambitious can take this smooth path for the next 28 miles. Those with less legs for the journey can trek about a mile from the Farmers Market and then head up the road to Dow Gardens.

The 110-acre Dow Gardens, at Eastman and West St. Andrews, is a horticultural landscape featuring unique sculptures, blooms in all seasons, a children's garden and more. Winding paths allow visitors the sensation that they alone have discovered its glades and glens, hills and trails. Admission is an affordable $5 for adults, $1 for children 6 and older, or a season pass for $10 that will quickly pay for itself. It's the perfect place to let the kids stretch their legs, away from the motoring sounds of city life. This botanical oasis is filled with picturesque vistas -- don't be surprised if you happen upon a family posing in front of a pint-sized waterfall, high school seniors having their portraits taken, wedding parties gathering for photos before their reception. It's a great place to spread out a picnic blanket.

Ready to head inside? Next door to Dow Gardens, you'll find the Midland Center for the Arts, with its mastodon skeleton on the main floor and exhibits ranging from a hands-on science center sure to entertain the tykes to renowned seasonal guest exhibitions of fine art.

All that cruising surely has earned you an appetite. The locals know Great Lakes Ice Cream Co., 901 E. Ashman, is the perfect place to cool off. Delicious flavors are made on-site, and the friendly and colorful shoppe features a veranda with plenty of seating outside and converted canoe-booths inside. For the dairy intolerant or the calorie conscious, there are an assortment of sorbets.

At Dow Diamond, Midland's minor league Dodgers affiliate, the Great Lakes Loons, there's on-the-cheap family fun in the form of baseball, a fenced children's play area, super deals on hotdogs on family nights, and more. It's easy to get spoiled by the proximity to the action on-field, even from the easy-on-the-wallet lawn seats, and Lou E. Loon is sure to pose for pictures with the kids.

It's easy to spend lazy days in Midland, Michigan, working up an appetite, relaxing and enjoying a friendly community in the heart of the state.

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