With a long and storied history, Ann Arbor is one of Michigan's most fascinating cities and a super spot to live and visit. The city is the state's sixth largest, with a population of over 120,000, and is famously the home to the University of Michigan. The city was founded back in 1824 and named after the wives of its two founders, both of whom were named Ann. Boasting a beautiful skyline and various impressive man-made monuments, Ann Arbor is a beautiful city simply to walk around, and one of the best and most original ways to appreciate the scenery of the city is by kayak. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


© Olga Lyubkin/stock.adobe.com

Indeed, Ann Arbor is one of the top spots in the entire US for urban kayaking, with the long Huron River flowing right through the middle of the city and allowing kayakers to paddle along and take in the skyline from a completely unique angle. Kayaking in Ann Arbor offers some incredible views and unique experience that will stay with you forever, and there are various different kayaking tours and rental opportunities to enjoy throughout the city.Things to Do in Ann Arbor

Kayaking Trips at Ann Arbor

The City of Ann Arbor runs various scheduled kayaking tours along the Huron River on a regular basis, with groups of like-minded people getting together in order to appreciate the beauty of the city and its surrounding area from the water. Two different tours start off at the Argo Canoe Livery and Gallup Canoe Livery.

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2.Argo to Gallup River Trip

Argo to Gallup River Trip
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The most popular kayaking trip in Ann Arbor, the Argo to Gallup trip lasts for around one and a half hours and covers a distance of almost four miles. The trip starts off with a little rafting along the Argo Cascades and becomes easier and more relaxing as it continues, finishing up with a gentle glide along the calmer waters of the Huron River. Tours run from May through to October and run all day long. Van rides are provided to take kayakers from Gallup Park back to Argo Park for your convenience.

This is a very popular trip, especially with groups of friends and families, and there is the option to skip out the rapids section for novice or younger kayakers who prefer to paddle exclusively along calmer waters. It can get quite busy around weekends and sunny days, so it's wise to arrive early. There are no reservations, with the tours running on a first come, first served basis and all minors need to be accompanied by an adult.

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3.Barton to Gallup River Trip

Barton to Gallup River Trip
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If you're looking for a longer and more intense kayaking experience, the Barton to Gallup kayaking trip could be the ideal one for you. This Ann Arbor kayaking trip runs for around 5.7 miles and lasts between two and three hours in general. It involves a 2-mile paddle session through Argo Pond, past the Argo Cascades and ending up along the calm, tranquil waters of the Huron River. Like the Argo to Gallup kayaking trip, this trip runs from May through to October throughout most of the day and is available on a first come, first served basis.

Participants need to have a certain level of physical fitness to complete the trip and negotiate the Argo Cascades section, which involves several small rapids and chutes. Lifejackets must be worn by all participants and everyone needs to sign a risk waiver before setting off on this kayaking trip. Weekends and sunny days are the busiest periods, and the trip actually starts at Gallup Livery, with van drives taking everyone up to Barton Park for the initial stage of the trip.

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4.Kayak Rentals at Ann Arbor

Kayak Rentals at Ann Arbor
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If you’re looking to do some kayaking in Ann Arbor along the Huron River, there are several great spots to rent kayaks around the city. Here are the addresses and contact details of the three main kayak rental sites along the river.

· Argo Park Canoe & Kayak Livery - 1055 Longshore Dr, Ann Arbor, MI 48105 (734 794-6241)

· Gallup Park Canoe & Kayak Livery - 3000 Fuller Rd, Ann Arbor, MI 48105 (734 794-6240)

· Skip's Huron River Canoe Livery - East Delhi Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48103 (734 769-8686)

All three of these Ann Arbor kayak rental sites are situated in picturesque parks bordering the Huron River, allowing easy access into the river itself to start your kayaking journey. The three locations are spaced out at different stages of the Huron River, providing the perfect starting points for different kayaking routes.

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Best Kayaking in Ann Arbor, Michigan

More Ideas: University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

The Museum of Natural History in Ann Arbor provides students at the University of Michigan and the public a look inside the Natural Sciences research conducted at the school from prehistoric life through present day through educational programming and exhibits.


Joseph Beal Steere, alumni of the University and world traveler, donated 60,000 specimens to the university in 1870 and thus began the Natural History Collection at the University of Michigan. The current museum building was constructed in 1928 while the Museum was exclusively devoted to exhibit development and educational programs it was not officially created until 1956, even though public displays had been available for a century. The museum was named “Exhibit Museum of Natural History” until 2011, when the current name was incorporated.

The museum welcomes over 150,000 visitors each year including nearly 20,000 school children. The Museum is open 7 days a week and closed on major holidays. Admission is always free to all visitors to the galleries. The museum is 19,000 square feet and shares space with three other research museums on campus.


The Museum of Natural History holds the most extensive collection of prehistoric life in the state. The first three floors of the museum are dedicated to permanent exhibits with 17,000 square feet of galleries while the fourth flour is reserved for temporary exhibitions.

The Hall of Evolution- These galleries are where guests will see the largest prehistoric display in the state while journeying through the history of life on earth. Visitors are immersed in evolution through dioramas, fossils, and models of dinosaurs, whales and other prehistoric creatures.

The Michigan Wildlife Gallery- This space holds records for the largest collections in many fields from the largest mastodon trackway in the world to taxidermy mounts, habitats and many other displays. All specimens in this gallery are or were once native to Michigan and the Great Lakes.

The Geology Displays- Visitors are immersed in color and wonder in the space where rocks and minerals are displayed.

The Anthropology Galleries- University of Michigan archaeological research is featured in these halls where visitors can view artifacts from cultures all over the world.

Butterfly and Pollinator Garden- This garden provides for all four stages of a butterfly’s life from egg to adult. The garden is full of nectar rich flowers that butterflies thrive on. Planted in the spring of 2004, the garden is now cultivated by Mary Duff-Silverman and dedicated volunteer group.

The Planetarium

The Planetarium is not included in the free general admission to the museum. Planetarium shows are ticketed with the show schedule and details available on the UM Museum of Natural History website.

The planetarium was established in 1958 and always provided public and community group tours while also serving as a classroom space for astronomy classes at the university. Many rennovations have been completed in the last two decades including the replacement of all original analog instruments. The canvas dome is now equipped with all-dome projection equipment.

The Planetarium offers programming for school groups. These programs are divided by grade levels and include live and prerecorded shows and programs with time for students to ask questions to the astronomers. Full dome experiences are also offered which allow students to explore different environments through full dome movies. Most programs are 45 minutes in length.

Special Events

There are many events that happen throughout the week at the Museum of Natural History. Special events at the Museum are developed to immerse the community in Natural Sciences in fun and engaging learning environments. There are many annual programs and events, with other events detailed on the website events calendar.

Science Spotlight Days- University scientists invite visitors to participate in their research on the second floor of the museum. Participants will be able to do experiments and engage in many other hands on activities. These events are free for the public with no advance registration required. Dates can be found online.

Science Cafes- Discussions on current scientific topics and news events are held at Conor ONeill’s Traditional Irish Pub in Ann Arbor. Appetizers are available before the hour and a half long program lead by experts from the museum.

Family Fun Night- This annual night allows visitors to stay late at the museum and experience hands on exploration and activities for the entire family.

ID Day- Anyone can come to the museum today with the weird rocks from their backyard or arrow heads they found on vacation and have them identified by field experts. Appraisals are not given but other collections are on display.

Family Halloween Party- This annual party at the museum is one of the most popular Halloween related activities in the community. Visitors are engaged in hands on activities related to science and Halloween. This is a program for all ages.

Butterfly Festival- This event happens every spring and allows visitors to encounter butterflies in an enclosed habitat. Monarch butterflies are the focus on the festival and visitors each get to make and take their own set of butterfly wings.

Ruthven Museums Building, 1109 Geddes avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48109, Phone: 734-764-0478

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More Ideas: Kelsey Museum of Archaeology University of Michigan

The Kelsey Museum is found on the campus of University of Michigan in Newberry Hall and William Upjohn Exhibit Wing in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The museum is free and open the public Tuesday through Sunday.


The Kelsey Museum was inspired by Professor Francis W. Kelsey who taught Latin at the University of Michigan from 1889-1927 and wanted to develop a program for collecting antiques to be used in teaching. He also began the first university-sponsored archaeological excavations in 1924 which took place in the Mediterranean and Near Eastern regions including Egypt and Iraq.

The Museum of Classical Archaeology was established in 1928, shortly after the professor’s death. In 1953, the museum was renamed to honor Professor Kelsey. The Museum’s location in Newberry Hall began as the Student Christian Association with construction beginning in 1888. One of the library windows is a Tiffany Window, one of two left in the area. The building has been renovated several times including 1993 and 2003 for expansion and the addition of the William E Upjohn Wing where the museum’s collection is stored in a climate controlled environment. Newberry Hall was sold to the University in 1937 and is one of the oldest buildings on campus.

The Collection

The Collection at the Kelsey Museum is comprised of more than 100,000 artifacts from prehistoric through medieval times, that have been mostly acquired through university sponsored excavations. However, around 1/3 of the collection were gifts or purchases, including a donation of 3,338 objects from Peter Ruthven. There is also an archive of photographs from the fine arts and archaeological fields that contains more than 25,000 prints.

Most of the artifacts are from Greece, Rome, Egypt, and the Near East and are displayed in the Upjohn Wing and Kelsey Museum. The special exhibitions are curated by Kelsey Museum staff and artifacts that are not on display are kept in climate controlled storage. The Collection contains the most artifacts from Graeco-Roman Egypt with 45,000 objects, second only to the Cairo Museum. They also have one of the largest collection of Parthian pottery in the world, over 40,000 ancient coins, the largest western collection of Latin inscriptions, and an extension collection of Egyptian Mummy Masks. A database of the artifacts in the collection is available online.


The permanent exhibition is a broad representation of the museum holdings and was reinstalled in the William E. Upjohn Exhibit Wing in 2009. The museum is dedicated to special exhibitions curated from the archival collection or feature museum initiatives and field work. A schedule of special exhibitions with details on artifacts can be found on the Kelsey Museum website. More recent past exhibitions have included:

· The Art and Science of Healing: From Antiquity to the Renaissance

· Course Display Case: Women of Etruria

· 2016-2017 Less Than Perfect

· Leisure and Luxury in the Age of Nero: The Villas of Oplontis near Pompeii

· Passionate Curiosities: Collecting in Egypt and The Near East

· Death Dogs: The Jackal Gods of Ancient Egypt

· Discovery! Excavating the Ancient World

· Karanis Revealed: The Past and Present of a Michigan Excavation in Egypt

After a special exhibition, the artifacts are preserved in an online catalogue and kept in climate controlled storage facilities.

Education and Events

The Kelsey Museum offers educational tours for Universities and K-12 programs. Tours, programs and workshops do have fees that directly benefit the education department at the museum.

University Programs- The Kelsey Museum has many programs for University of Michigan and other institutions including University class tours, Experiential Learning activities, and a student volunteer group. Kelsey Staff also provides outreach services to groups that cannot come to the museum and sponsors the Jackier Prize—an undergraduate essay competition for students taking courses related to the ancient world including archaeology and anthropology.

K-12 Programs- These programs include self-guided tours, School outreach for classes not able to visit the museum in person, traveling education kits for educators to use in their classrooms, and an annual teacher open house held in October. Guided tours of the museum are tailored to specific grade level and curriculum based on either archaeology, Egypt, Greece, Rome, or the Near East.

Public Programs- There are many ways for the community to enjoy the Kelsey Museum. An online calendar of events and programming can be found on the Kelsey Museum website. Programs include lectures and discussions, workshops relating to special exhibitions, and a Family Day in the spring and fall where docents lead activities for families based on current exhibitions. The Kelsey Museum is also available for community outreach to local groups.

434 South State Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 48109, Phone: 734-764-9304

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More Ideas: Giant Rubik’s Cube

Everyone has heard of the infamous Rubik’s Cube. This six-sided mathematical puzzle, originally invented in 1974, is the world’s best-selling puzzle. Now, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor has a giant Rubik’s Cube. Conceived and built by two mechanical engineering teams consisting of undergraduate students, this was a completely student-run capstone senior design project. It was Kelsey Hockstad, Dan Hiemstra, Martin Harris, and Samuelina Wright, the first team, who came up with the idea and started the design and construction of the cube. The idea to make a giant version of the puzzle was inspired by a sculpture on the central campus at the university.

When it was time for the students to graduate in 2016, the project was passed on to a second team consisting of Jason Hoving, Ryan Kuhn, and Doug Nordman, and it was their task to iron out any kinks as well as design and build a stand for the piece to be exhibited on.

The project took 3 years to complete and was unveiled at the university as part of a mechanical engineering exhibition in 2017. The cube was constructed to be a fully functional replica; however, the students have made some key modifications to the original. Aside from the obvious upscaling proportion, the team has added a complex series of rollers and transfer bearings to drastically reduce friction when rotating the puzzle; this type of mechanism is called a kinematic mechanism. These design modifications were necessary due to the problems discovered by the students when enlarging something designed to be handheld. The changes make the giant cube much more user friendly and able to be solved by hand. Another alteration made to the original design is the exclusion of the white side of the cube. The students instead chose to replace the color with purple to make the cube all the more colorful.

The cube is often falsely claimed to be the world’s largest Rubik’s Cube, although these claims are generally made engage audiences and encourage publicity. The cube is, however, recognized by the World Record Academy as the largest free-standing Rubik's Cube.

Currently, according to the Guinness World Records, the world’s largest Rubik’s Cube belongs to British puzzle designer Tony Fisher; his cube measures in at 1.57 m by 1.57 m by 1.57 m long. Better luck next time, Michigan, I guess you’ll have to build one a bit bigger if you want to beat that record.

Not to take away from the achievement of developing such an impressive feat of engineering, though. The location of the piece at the University of Michigan couldn’t be more fitting, as it serves both students and visitors as a learning resource. The cube is fully interactive, and available for anyone to solve, although it may take them quite some time as the cube was primarily constructed out of aluminum, so as you can imagine it is very heavy.

Michigan’s cube weighs in at whopping 1,500 pounds, making one of the heaviest Rubik’s Cubes in the world.

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