Imagine it: Colonial Michilimackinac, in Mackinaw City, is emptying out at the end of another big day and you have the place to yourself. You make your way to the artillery platforms because it’s time to fire all four of the black powder weapons used at Michilimackinac—the Short Land Musket, Wall Gun (a BIG musket), Coehorn Mortar and, as the finale, the cannon. And you are the one doing the firing.
This dream can become reality for the first time ever during the 2021 season. Every day, starting June 1 through October 7, guests can purchase the opportunity to fire all Michilimackinac’s weapons over the Straits of Mackinac.
“Guns Across the Straits lets us provide a hands-on history experience for guests,” says Mackinac State Historic Parks Chief Curator Craig Wilson. “As historical interpreters, we get to fire these weapons every day, but hopefully this program will allow visitors to better understand what life was like for British soldiers at Michilimackinac in the 1770s.”
The cost of the experience is $150 ($115 for Mackinac Associates members), and up to 10 guests can be present. The program will take place after Colonial Michilimackinac closes for regular business—7 p.m. in June, July and August; 5 p.m. in September and October. Guests will need to arrive at the Colonial Michilimackinac Visitor’s Center (under the Mackinac Bridge) a half-hour prior to the experience start time (6:30 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. depending on the season) to check-in and be met by your interpretive guide, who will take you to the artillery platforms.
Reservations for ‘Guns Across the Straits’ can be made by calling the Mackinac State Historic Parks administrative office Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m., at 231-436-4100. Reservations must be made at least 48 hours in advance. Participants are required to sign a waiver prior to firing any weapons. This experience is limited to guests 13 years and older.
More information on this experience, as well as opportunities to fire the Fort Mackinac cannon, can be found online at mackinacparks.com.