Sleeping Bear Dunes Events: Park Rangers Lead Summertime Programs

Sleeping Bear Dunes Events: The educational programs held on Saturdays at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore are the perfect way to spend your summertime weekends in Northern Michigan. Continuing their "Saturdays at the Lakeshore" series, Sleeping Bear Dunes Park Rangers will be leading programs that introduce visitors to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore's natural history and background. Additionally, the Park has partnered with Families United with Nature (FUN), and will be leading hikes which tie into the topic of that day's program.

Every Saturday afternoon, a Park Ranger will meet you at the Visitor Center in Empire to introduce the weekly subject, before leading a car caravan to the hiking location. Hikes generally last 1-1.5 hours, and never cover more than 1.5 miles. Each week both the topic and the hike change, so you will have a fresh experience every time. And of course, as every Northern Michigan local knows, it is imperative that you dress for the weather!

June 2 (1:00 p.m.) – Saturdays at the Lakeshore: The Town That Vanished

Once a big logging area, now there is only a few foundations remaining and your imagination!  Explore this area with a Park Ranger and learn about this once lively logging town.

June 2 (9:00 p.m.) – Almost Full Moon Party

Observe the nearly full moon as well as Venus, Mars, and Saturn from Dune Overlook #3 on the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive with Park Rangers and the Grand Traverse Astronomical Society (GTAS).  Park at Picnic Mountain; the first right-hand turn after the #2 stop.  This program is from 9:00-11:00 p.m.  Bring a flashlight for the walk back to your car and bug spray if needed.  Park Rangers and GTAS staff will be wearing red glow bracelets at the event.  The monthly Star Parties will be cancelled during inclement weather.  The decision is usually made three hours in advance.  Please call 231-326-5134, ext. 331, for a voicemail message with the decision.

June 9 (1:00 p.m.) – Saturdays at the Lakeshore: Butterfly Watching

Bird watching has become a popular activity, but what about butterfly watching?  Grab your binoculars and learn to identify these colorful insects.  Binoculars will be provided if you don’t have your own.

June 9 (3:00 p.m.) – Families United with Nature (FUN) National Park Fun 

Join Sleeping Bear Dunes Park Rangers for the afternoon to learn about some of America's 397 national parks and create a “flat” animal (just like the famous “Flat Stanley”) that will visit some of these special places.  FUN is a free outdoor activity club for families of all shapes and sizes that is hosted by Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  Park Rangers lead programs for families to get outdoors together and try their hand at something new, breathe a little fresh air, and meet other families who enjoy being outside.

Park Ranger-led programs will be provided daily at no charge.  Participants need only purchase a Sleeping Bear Dunes Park Entrance Pass or have an Annual Pass displayed in their vehicle to join in the fun.

Please call 231.326.5135, ext. 328, to make reservations or ask questions, or visit their website at

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