6 things to see on your road trip to Northern Michigan

Some places to stop on your way Up North

NASA satellite image

So you’re heading Up North this weekend -- nice!

On your way to Traverse City, Leelanau, Alpena or Mackinac -- there are plenty of smaller attractions to check out on your way.

Here are some things to see on your way Up North:

Wilderness Trails Animal Park - Birch Run (Off I-75)

There's a giant giraffe out front that folks like to stop and take photos with. The Wilderness Trail Zoo is great, too. Wilderness Trails Zoo opened in 1991. The trails take visitors through 56 acres of natural surroundings to see exotic animals such as primates, zebras, lions, reptiles, and parrots.

Castle Museum: Postal Inspector Peep Holes - Saginaw (Off I-75/675)

The Castle Museum of Saginaw County History is run by the Historical Society of Saginaw County. Constructed as a post office and dedicated on July 3, 1898, the French Renaissance Revival architecture of the building was an unusual - if not unique - choice for a post office. The building's architect, William Martin Aiken, claimed that his design was inspired by the early French settlement of the Saginaw Valley.

In 1970, a new federal office building was dedicated and the building was again threatened with demolition. Once more, the community advocated for the preservation of the building and it was transferred to the County of Saginaw to become the home of the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History.

Stevie Wonder Rock - Saginaw (Off I-75)

Motown legend Stevie Wonder has a rock with a plaque on it honoring him in his hometown of Saginaw. It sits about three miles from the hospital he was born. 1314 N. 5th Ave., Saginaw, MI.

Big Cheese Mouse - Pinconning (Highway 13)

Michigan's oldest cheese shop, Wilson's Cheese Shoppe in Pinconning has two giant mice on the building - eating cheese, of course.

Oh, yeah, there's also delicious cheese inside. This is a no brainer.

Call of the Wild Museum - Gaylord (Off I-75)

Call of the Wild was opened in May of 1965 by Carl and Hattie Johnson and is now run by their three children. There you can find over 150 woodland creatures, stuffed and positioned.

It's essentially a shrine to dead animals native to the area.

Deadman's Hill Scenic Overlook - Mencelona (Highway 131)

Here's a preview from Kate on Roadside America:

A beautiful vista and something of a memorial to a young logger named Stanley Graczyk. On May 20, 1910, Stan was to marry his childhood sweetheart, and on that morning he was working the steep ridges of the Jordan River Valley with his crew. Poor Stanley never made it to the altar. He was driving a team of horses and a "big wheel" loaded with timber down the ridge, when the huge cart slipped out of control and ran over him, killing him instantly.

It’s been called Dead Man’s Hill ever since. Today it’s a scenic spot with views of much of the Jordan River Watershed. Also over 18 miles of hiking trails.

Bonus: Pere Cheney Cemetery: All that’s left of a Michigan town wiped out by disease and fire is a beautiful cemetery, tucked in the woods near Beaver Creek Township. Here’s the story of the ghost town. I stopped here last summer and it was a road trip highlight.

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About the Author:

Ken Haddad has proudly been with WDIV/ClickOnDetroit since 2013. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters, and helps lead the WDIV Insider team. He's a big sports fan and is constantly sipping Lions Kool-Aid.