Day 1 You'll See: Culture
Day 2 You'll See: Regional History
Day 3 You'll See: Science
Day 4 You'll See: Fun
There is no better way to get to know Detroit, inside and out, than with our 4-Day Educational Stay. This exciting adventure through Corktown will show you regional history, science, culture, and of course, tons of fun! So get ready to do Detroit, AST style!
Detroit Institute of Art - ‘One of the largest and most significant art collections in the United States’ makes up your next Midtown Michigan stop, the Detroit Institute of Arts, or DIA. Founded in 1927, this Beaux-Arts and Renaissance Revival building is considered to be a ‘beacon of culture for the Detroit area’, a Woodward Avenue complex that holds over 100 different galleries, a stunning 1,500 seat auditorium, a 350 seat lecture hall, an art reference library, and a state of the art ‘conservation services lab’ all within it's 658,000 square feet. Inside the DIA you will find a ‘multicultural and multinational survey of human creativity from prehistoric times to the 21st century’. This spans across so many different art forms and time periods that it is certain you will find some type of artistic expression you will appreciate inside! If you work up an appetite after touring/browsing the galleries head over to CafeDIA or Kresge Court Coffee Stop for some mid-day snacks and refreshments!
Motown Records - Of course you’ve heard by now (or you already knew) that this is the city where Motown Magic started, a cultural mecca for musicians across the U.S (and the world) holding some of the most historic and meaningful musical tidbits from America’s past. The Motown Record Museum, otherwise known as ‘Hitsville USA’, was first founded in 1985. Hitsville USA is the nickname that easily formed for this spot, the first headquarters for Motown Records in history. Inside you will see a collection of the labels most popular artifacts, memorabilia, costumes, and photos, not to mention the onsite extras like Studio A and the upstairs flat in which this museum's (and labels) founder, Berry Gordy, lived with his family for so long. Before you go definitely make time to stop at the Motown Museum Store, a hip little shop full of Motown apparel, CDs, DVDs, and tons of educational and historic information. You can also pick up authentic Motown sheet music and songbooks here!
Fox Theater - Of course you have heard of the Fox Theater chain, but have you heard about what makes the one in Detroit so special? The Detroit Fox Theater is a highly popular performing arts center on Woodward Avenue near Grand Circus Park in the Detroit Historic District. This gorgeous and grandiose theater can hold 5,174 guests in any of its popular nightly acts, those hosted here including theater productions, musicians, and comedians. Currently, for example, you can see such popular performers as Chris Tucker, Kings of Leon, and Sesame Street Live within the Asian-inspired and gilded designed theater. First opened in 1928, this theater quickly became what it was intended for; the flagship movie palace in the Fox Theater chain. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1985 to help honor it’s living legacy, and the surrounding area has even been nicknamed ‘Foxtown’!
2 Regional History
The Henry Ford - This iconic, historic, and culturally impressive local landmark may be one of the most fun places to visit in Detroit, the sprawling complex located on Oakwood Boulevard. This tourism and education hotspot is located in one of the Detroit suburbs of Dearborn technically, first founded here in 1929. Guests typically spend 2.5 to 3 hours total here exploring the life and ideas of Henry Ford, and of Americans in general. The sprawling space takes up a total of 250 acres, a seriously impressive Detroit education complex. Inside you can see the Rosa Parks bus, JFK limo, and Henry Ford’s favorite personal autos, the entire complex broken into four different, and very distinct, sections: Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour, and Giant Screen. There will be so much for you to do, learn, and see while here, you may even want to plan a second visit during your Detroit stay!
Lunch at Lamy’s - There will be several different places to eat while visiting The Henry Ford, three full-service eateries in the Henry Ford Museum alone! Try Michigan Cafe (11 am - 4 pm) for your classic lunchtime fare (soups, salads, sandwiches), or Lamy’s Diner for a more retro diner style meal. At Lamy’s the soda fountain and dessert refreshments are probably more popular than the food. There is also the American Dog House, serving up, well, great hot dogs! In Greenfield Village you can choose to eat at the Eagle Tavern, a living history stagecoach stops for hungry, weary travelers, or Sir John Bennett Sweet Shop, the onsite store with the winning ‘cornucopia of classic confections’. These two eateries are highly historical and meant to be enjoyed in the ‘step back in time’ sort of way, authentic artifacts and historic architecture abound!
Detroit Historical Museum - Welcome to one of the best places to learn all about Detroit’s past, the Detroit Historical Museum. This Detroit Cultural Center star is located along Woodward Avenue, within the Historical District of Midtown. The museum features interactive and revolving exhibits on Detroit city history and offers one of our personal favorite features: free admission. You and your group will see such essential Detroit exhibits as the recreated streets of Detroit, an extensive Underground Railroad exhibit, a Kid Rock exhibit, Gallery of Innovation, Arsenal of Democracy, and one of the most unique and beloved local exhibits, American Motor City. There are several different ‘engaging Field Trip experiences’ here offered to grades 2-12, each experience meeting the state social studies standards very nicely. Take a tour, enjoy a program, or get busy in a workshop, just make sure you give the museum a 2 week in advance notice before planning any further!
Michigan Science Center - Located in the same building that used to house the Detroit Science Center, you will find your next fun stop, the Michigan Science Center. This science and technology museum is a fantastic place to take the kids to learn and play, the complex holding several interactive exhibits, a planetarium, regularly scheduled live shows, and even an onsite cafe and store. Located on John R Street in Detroit, this center is open daily from 10 am to 3 pm. If you are traveling to this museum as a large group or school group you’ll definitely want to take advantage of the MiSci (Michigan Science Center) Group Guide, a downloadable information packet featuring shows for groups, special group rates, and discounts, and specific curriculum standards met within the museum. The museum has kept well up to date with the CGLC, or Current Grade Level Content, expectations and takes much pride in its educational benefits for visiting students.
Belle Isle Park - Belle Isle Park is a 982-acre island park located in the Detroit River, right in between the U.S and Canada borders. This spot is ‘rich with history and natural beauty’, a true Detroit gem that was made into Michigan's 102nd state park in 2014. There is so much to do on this island, you could certainly spend all day here if you wanted to. Besides the natural beauty of the isle itself, you and your group can also visit the Belle Isle Conservatory, James Scott Memorial Fountain, and even the Belle Isle Aquarium. The ‘wide assortment of educational and recreational opportunities’ found on this island are actually open year-round, regardless of the season (unless it is the beach), sun up to sundown! In the summer months you can take advantage of watersport and beach chair rentals on the beach, and anytime you visit you can see the Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse on the north end of the island, the only one in the nation made of marble (1929).
Dossin Great Lakes Museum - The Dossin Great Lakes Museum is located on Belle Isle, at 100 the Strand. This sprawling facility holds various artifacts and exhibits detailing the great lakes and local maritime history, a great way to further get to know Detroit. Open daily from 10 am to 4 pm, this is the perfect mid-day education center, allowing you and your group to be immersed in local and regional history in a completely unique way: by water. The knowledgeable staff here ensures that this is an ‘engaging educational, fun experience for everyone,’ offering several different tours, programs, workshops, and exhibits throughout. If you choose to take a tour while here be sure to note that tours must be scheduled at least 2 weeks in advance, however, the curriculum standards that are met during are worth it. Take the Maritime History tour and see how the waterways developed through such major events as WWII and the War of 1812.
Great Lakes Crossing Outlets - Welcome to Michigan’s largest indoor outlet mall, the regionally exclusive shopping experience that will certainly not disappoint, the Great Lakes Crossing Outlets. Within this massive enclosed mall, you will find over 185 stores and eateries, 35 of them ones you won’t find anywhere else in the region! The mall itself is located in Auburn Hills, a northern suburb of Detroit about 30 to 40 minutes away. It opened in 1998 and soon became the premier center of the area, both for its convenient location and exclusive shopping opportunity. The mall has a full mile of visible frontage from the freeway, impossible to miss and nearly impossible to not stop at. Besides all the great shopping opportunities inside you will also find the highly beloved and educational SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium, 1000 seat food court, 5 full-service restaurants, a theater, bowling lanes, and fun indoor carnival-style rides like the carousel!
SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium - Inside the Great Lakes Crossing Outlet, you will find a sort of hidden Detroit gem, a marine science educational center known as SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium. This interactive aquarium holds thousands of aquatic creatures, various interactive touch pools, and even an impressive 180-degree ocean tunnel. Open from 10 am to 8 pm each day, this family-friendly museum stop provides exhibits that allow guests to interact with a variety of sea creatures they normally wouldn't, many of the areas inside offering play areas, feeding times, and group discounts.The variety of sea creatures inside is kept with the best conservation practices in mind, this aquarium known well for its successful Breed Rescue Program. This dedication to conservation follows the motto ‘Breed. Rescue. Protect’, the center working to actively practice their motto by breeding Potbelly Seahorses and Banggai Cardinalfish, rescuing Benson the Green Sea Turtle, and protecting local watersheds with regularly scheduled clean-ups. You can learn all about this further in a 20-minute Behind the Scenes Tour!
Renaissance Center - It is arguably the most jaw-dropping sight in all of Detroit, Henry Ford’s 1973 GM dream vision, the Renaissance Center. This stunning, sky-scraping spot is actually a total of seven interconnected skyscrapers in downtown Detroit, located right along the city's international riverfront. This fantastic spot serves as GM’s riverfront headquarters, the 727’ complex holding eateries, shops, concept showrooms, a 4-screen theater, high-profile meeting areas, and even a 73-story hotel! Over 17,000 tenants and visitors pass through the GM RENCEN each year, an understandable statistic once you know a few more, like that there are a total of 1,300 hotel rooms inside, 29 restaurants, a 1,100 seat food court, 73 stories, 3 miles of riverfront walkways, and even its very own zip code! Talk about some impressive numbers! This is a place to ‘dine, shop, play, stay, and meet’, the epicenter of the Detroit Business District, so you can do almost anything while here!