Travel Adventures Sponsors Annual Hands-on Michigan History Program

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Unique "Time Travelers Program" is specifically designed for the Michigan history 4th and 5th grade curricula.

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The Time Travelers Program provides an outstanding hands-on educational experience for students

Travel Adventures is sponsoring the 2008 "Time Travelers Program" specifically designed for the Michigan history 4th and 5th grade curricula. The program takes place each May when teachers take their 4th and 5th graders to northern Michigan to visit historic state parks and engage in "experiential learning sessions" that reinforce the lessons taught in their classrooms

"The Time Travelers Program provides an outstanding hands-on educational experience for students," commented Dr. Dave Thompson of Travel Adventures, Inc., a student group tour provider which sponsors the popular program.

Student groups begin their adventure upon arriving in Mackinac City (pronounced MACK-in-awe), located at the tip of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. Fort Michilimackinac on the shoreline of the Straits of Mackinac is a 1770's era fur trading village and palisaded fort. Upon arriving at Fort Michilimackinac, students watch a 15-minute orientation video in the Visitor's Center. Then, they take a walking tour through twelve reconstructed buildings which feature period settings and museum exhibits. Along the way they experience the fort's multi-cultural living history program which includes cannon firings, musket firings, marching demonstrations, and re-enactments.

The next stop is a 600 acre history and nature park, Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park, just five minutes south of Mackinac City. Student groups stop at the Sawpit, where volunteers can assist the sawyer (in period costume) demonstrating how laborious cutting heavy timber used to be.

From there they proceed to The Mill and watch a mill operator explain the basics of the mill as he puts it into operation. After the demonstration, groups cross the creek to the observation platform and watch the mill operate from the outside.

Depending on the size of the group and their itinerary students can complete their visit by walking the nature trails, viewing a "Creatures of the Forest" presentation by the Park Naturalist, or engaging in the parks newest features: The Eagles' Flight Zip Line, Forest Canopy Bridge, Climbing Wall, and Treetop Observation Tower.

The adventure continues as student groups board a ferry in Mackinac City and are transported to Mackinac Island. Once students disembark on the island, they discover a world that seems to have been frozen in time. Mackinac Island prohibits the use of personal motorized vehicles. Instead, visitors and residents alike get around the island by horse-drawn carriage, bicycle, or on foot.

Their first stop on the island is Fort Mackinac one of the few surviving revolutionary war forts in the United States. Fort Mackinac is comprised of 14 original buildings and Interpreters dressed in 1880s military uniforms welcome student groups, fire their rifles on the parade ground, and deliver a cannon salute over the harbor. Students may also observe a court-martial re-enactment or explore the area where prisoners were housed.

The first day of the program concludes with a delightful and humorous magic show presented by Baffling Bill, one of Michigan's most famous student entertainers.

The next day student groups rotate through Experiential Learning Sessions that reinforce the Michigan History curricula:

  •     Great Lakes Native People - Students interact with Potawatomi Indians while learning about Great Lakes culture.
  •     Arrival and Era of Fur Traders - Students experience a fur trader's life and gain an understanding of the relationships among Native Americans, Frenchmen, and Englishmen.
  •     Logging Michigan's Forests - Students learn about the impact of the lumbering era on Michigan's development as a state.
  •     Guided Hike to Arch Rock - Students hike to Arch Rock while learning about Mackinac Island legends and geology.

Before departing for home, student groups explore the island by renting a bicycle or one of the guided carriage tours. Any visit to Mackinac Island wouldn't be complete without a stop at the Grand Hotel. The hotel, open since 1887, has welcomed five U.S. presidents, and was the setting for two movies, including Somewhere In Time with Jane Seymour and Christopher Reeves. Lunch is served in the hotel's main dining room, and includes a variety of salads, hot and cold selections, as well as a dessert table offering more than 20 freshly baked pastries. Afterward, students can enjoy the remarkable views from the hotel's famous front porch. At 660 feet, it is the longest porch in the world.

Travel Adventures is a student tour provider staffed by educators who understand the needs of teachers. It has served over one half million students since 1987 and its mission is to "empower teachers to create change by expanding the classroom to the world." To discover more about Travel Adventures and its many educational programs, visit

CONTACT: Dr. David Thompson, Educational Coordinator, Travel Adventures, Inc., 1175 S. Lapeer Road, Lapeer, MI, 48446, Phone: 810-538-1229, dthompson @


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