The carefree days of your youth are alive and well in Alpena. Catching fireflies on warm summer evenings, searching for minnows with a net, reading a book under a shade tree, and watching the sunset while crickets provide background music are nostalgic experiences that we often wish we could relive. Alpena is that place where summer memories come alive as an everyday way of life, and stress floats away with the river current. Visit a downtown coffee shop to catch up on email, or disconnect to reconnect in the Sanctuary of the Great Lakes.
The Great Lakes are a gift from prehistoric glacier movement, and treasures have been left behind along the shores of Lake Huron and the many inland lakes and rivers. Hunt for fossils dating back 400 million years to the Devonian Period. Rocky edges along the shorelines, Rockport State Park Recreation Area, and the Lafarge Fossil Park at Besser Museum are perfect locations for an afternoon of prehistoric adventure. Follow it up with a trip to Dinosaur Gardens to see life-size prehistoric recreations.
Use our Adventure Checklist to find your explorer’s spirit: Sanctuary of the Great Lakes Adventure Checklist
Just north of Rogers City is the 40 Mile Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was built in 1896 to assist ships through the dangerous shoreline where open water, hidden shoals and false bays had claimed a number of vessels. Follow “Shipwreck Trail” to see what’s left of the Joseph S. Fay, one of 27 wooden ships that sank during a fierce storm in 1905. You can see about 150′ of her side wall resting on the beach. Other features include the steamer Calcite pilot house, a picnic area, swimming beach and hiking trails.
For more information visit their website at http://www.40milepointlighthouse.org
Special collections: Genealogy, Best-Sellers, Large-Print, Audios, Videos, CD-Roms, Internet, Word Processors, 12 Newspapers/ 242 Magazines. Largest collection of 19th century Great Lakes ship photographs and records in the entire world! Authors in the Fall and Children’s Book Club.
Northeast Michigan’s only indoor recreation facility that features 4 indoor tennis courts that play host to USTA Legue Tournaments and offers adult and junior lessons. Gymnasium, Alpena Health and Racquet Club (North), conference room, spa & sauna. Home to the Northern Tiger Karate Club & Alpena Spirit Tumble & Cheer. Open gym time, table tennis, massage therapy and dance classes available. See schedule for details. With banquet/meeting rooms and open floor space, the recreation center can host a variety of gatherings and events. Call for more information.
While the Alpena Light may not be a typical lighthouse, it does meet the criteria to be called one. Located at the mouth of the Thunder Bay River, the 80-foot skeletal tower is best viewed from the transient docks at the City of Alpena’s Marina. Called “Sputnik” (resembles the Russian space satellite) and “Little Red” by locals, it is said this oft dismissed light is “Long on duty, short on beauty.”
Believed to be the only lighthouse of this type in the U.S., the station was built of wood in 1877, rebuilt of wood in 1888 and finally constructed of steel in 1914. An automated active aid to navigation, the Alpena Light originally housed a Fourth Order Fresnel lens.
Explore the shipwrecks of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary on the 65-foot glass-bottomed Lady Michigan! Two large viewing wells on the main deck give passengers a front row view of historical shipwrecks on the bottom of Lake Huron. Departing from the warm & friendly port of Alpena, the 65 ft. Lady Michigan will take you on a comfortable adventure into the heart of Lake Huron’s Shipwreck Alley. A memorable experience for passengers of all ages! Daily tours begin in June and continue through the color season. Individual tickets can be purchased daily at the Sanctuary Gift Store at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center at 888-469-4696, located at 500 W. Fletcher Street in Alpena. The Lady Michigan docks just behind the Heritage Center in the Thunder Bay River. Group tours are available.
The A.S.O. is North East Michigan’s only orchestra. It was founded in 2004 to give both players and listeners in the area a chance to appreciate, participate, and enjoy classical music. The priority of the Alpena Symphony Orchestra is to share the beauty of orchestral music with the residents of Alpena and the surrounding communities. The ASO season runs from May – December, and includes three full orchestral concerts and two small ensemble concerts. For concert dates or more information, see their web site.
Art in the Loft at Gallery 109 is a fine arts gallery featuring the work of local, regional and nationally recognized artists. Reasonably priced artwork is available in a wide range of media. Artists staff the gallery and apply their techniques in demonstrations and workshops. Visitors are welcome to observe and participate and a variety of special events are featured. Art In The Loft is open for two primary exhibit seasons, Summerview Season, which runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day and Winterview Season, which runs from mid-November until the end of January. A month-long Young Artists exhibit is held during the months of April and May. Call ahead or see web site for firm dates. Art in the Loft at Gallery 109 is located in the Center Building, 109 North Second Ave.
All new family fun center featuring Michigan’s Longest Go-Kart Track, State Of The Art Bumper Cars, beautiful 18 holes Mini Golf, breath taking Driving Range, 5 multi-speed Batting Cages, the Amazing Ferris Wheel, latest Arcades and more… Open May 1 through mid-October (weather depending), 7 days a week. Special Package price for Groups and Birthday Parties. ARZO…Making All Your Sports and FUN More Enjoyable!
Alpena’s newest fitness club is dedicated to improving health and inspiring life. Located in Alpena Regional Medical Center’s new HealthPlex, Bay Athletic Club (BAC), offers group exercise classes, Women’s Express (30-minute circuit), personal training, massage therapy and more! BAC also offers member day care services and the Sunprint Café – their own juice and coffee bar. For more information, call or visit web site.
Northeast Michigan’s Center for Art, History, and Science.
ART: The Museum has an extensive collection of art that cannot be found any where else in Northeast Michigan, with works of art from Michigan artists such as Tom Moran to world renowned artists like Cezanne, Renoir, Dali, Picasso and Chihuly.
HISTORY: Dig for Devonian fossils in the Lafarge Fossil Park and keep all the fossils you find. Stroll through the Museum’s replica of an 1890’s Avenue of Shops. Explore the lumbering and farming history of Northeast Michigan. Visit the Peoples of Lakes and Forest Gallery, which houses a variety of Prehistoric and Native American artifacts unique to this region. Take time to explore the historic buildings on the Museum’s campus.
Science: See the Foucault Pendulum which gives visual proof the the Earth is rotating while demonstrating Newton’s Law of Motion. The only Planetarium in Northeast Michigan, the Besser Museum Sky Theater, is open every Saturday at 2 p.m. Visit and Shop the Museum Gift Store.
HOURS: Monday – Saturday 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. ADMISSION: Adults $5.00, Senior & Child $3.00.
Brush Creek Mill was constructed on a site where previous mills once stood. Built on the banks of the Thunder Bay River, it was named for Brush Creek, which meets the river, flowing from Atlanta to Alpena. The mill demonstrates the power of moving water with a 22’ stainless steel water wheel, capable of grinding corn and wheat. The mill features a museum, meeting room/classroom and gift store featuring handmade crafts made by local artists and crafters. A wide variety of classes are offered including jewelry making, acrylic painting, fly tying, computer classes and more. The mill is open Memorial Day through mid-October. Hours are Tuesdays through Saturdays 11 am – 3 pm and Sundays noon until 3 pm. Closed on Mondays. Tours are available for groups.