While it had been on my radar for a while, it took some time before I made the trip to Midland from Detroit. With only a few days left before the kids returned to school for the fall I had to be decisive, or postpone my dream for possibly another year.
Even though the Whiting Forest Canopy Walk was my whole reason for the trip, I parked on the Dow Gardens side to ensure we didn’t skip out on the other half.
Dow Gardens boasts beautiful gardens, natural beauty, and art. I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for public art. Bonus points if it’s origami!
The Dow Gardens connect with Whiting Forest by a footbridge. (They’re also unified by the same modest entrance fee.)
Although the Canopy Walk is literally up in the canopy of the forest, it is surprisingly accessible to all mobilities. The slope is pretty gradual and before you know it you’re up in the trees. I loved the net corner and we lingered there a while. It felt rather hammock-like.
We loved the corner of the forest we dubbed the Ewok Village.
Naturally. I mean, come on! How cool is this?
One of my sons has had some anxiety with heights since we got stuck in an elevator in a museum in Dallas many years ago. However he forced himself to get out on the net with us. He also made the even braver choice to join us on the rope bridge. (The only thing I found which wasn’t universally accessible.) What a payoff! Not only is the rope bridge less scary than it looks, but the little ewok house is totally worth the trek.
I could live up in those trees forever.
Even the littlest one walked up the rope bridge!
I didn’t think the boys would ever tire of exploring, and I certainly didn’t rush them. Eventually, however, we wound our way down and set off for the playground.
Friends. I have seen a lot of playgrounds in my fifteen years of parenting. I have seen some great ones and some mediocre ones. The playground in Whiting Forest entertained all three of my boys (ages 14 down to 3.) We had a wonderful time! If I wasn’t getting hungry, didn’t have another stop in Midland, and didn’t also plan to do some back to school shopping on our way back down to Detroit we probably would have stayed until closing time.
Side note: I bet this place is magical at dusk. Also in the fall. I’m so glad my youngest said, “I like it here. Mummy, let’s come back again” because we are definitely returning.
We made a quick stop at The Tridge for a snack and some philosophizing on the three-way bridge before heading south.
I found the whole city of Midland to be charming, clean, and beautiful. I loved seeing main drag of Eastman Avenue flanked for miles with flowers. It’s a little detail, but it made a big impact on me. (No photos. I do crazy things for photos but I don’t take photos while I’m driving.)
I’m really going to try to return in October for peak fall leaves. Cross your fingers for me and I’ll return the favour with lots of photos!