Interpretive Park Programs:
1. Are Fun!
2. Enhance Classroom Studies!
3. Reveal the Park’s Unique Resources!
Call the Ludington State Park Interpreters Office at 231- 843-9261 (Monday through Friday) to make your reservation. If you get the answering system, please, leave your name, phone number and the best time to call you back. Or, send an email to the park interpreter for him to get back with you. Email is: WERNETTA@michigan.gov.
Before calling, we suggest you select two or three calendar dates that work best for your group. This way we have a better chance to find an available date that will be open for your visit. We’re sorry, makeup or rainout dates cannot be scheduled in advance. School programs are offered only from September through mid-June.
**Most programs are reserved in two-hour blocks. Groups of more than 40 students may be asked to divide into two separate groups and/or program blocks.
** The Lighthouse in the Dunes is a three-hour block.
* No interpretive program fee.
* A Michigan State Park motor vehicle permit is required
for all vehicles entering Ludington State Park.
Ludington State Park offers:
Several picnic areas, plus, an enclosed shelter and an open shelter;
Several miles of hiking trails and a canoe trail;
Fishing at the Hamlin Lake Dam, Big Sable River, Hamlin Lake;
Big Sable Point Lighthouse (tours and gift shop);
Year-round camping (tent, camper, large group camp);
Boats, canoes, kayaks rental;
Sandy beaches with restrooms.
“A Great Lake”
Spring and Fall Programs
(3rd through 12th grades)
Bring your students out to Ludington State Park to discover how the Great Lakes play an important part in their lives and are truly one of nature’s treasures. Students will learn how the lakes were formed, how the lakes have and are changing, and what is being done today to manage these unique water resources.
We will cover the sciences (geology, ecology, meteorology, hydrologic cycle) and the impact of human history on the Great Lakes.
The Great Lakes Visitor Center is wheel chair A.D.A. accessible and a portion of the guided walk is wheel chair A.D.A. accessible.
Michigan Curriculum Framework: SOC. I. 1. LE.1 * SOC. II. 2. MS.4, HS.1 * SOC. II. 3. MS.3, HS.2
SCI. V. 1. E.1, MS.1, HS.1 * SCI. V. 2. E.3, MS.2&3, HS.2&3 * SCI. V. 3. HS.3&4
“The Lighthouse in the Sand Dunes”
Spring and Fall Programs
(3rd through 12th grades)
Two of the most unique features of Ludington State Park are its freshwater sand dunes and the historic Big Sable Point Lighthouse. For almost a 150 years Big Sable Lighthouse has warned ships of this dangerous sand dune coastline. This program ties together the sand dune ecology on which this lighthouse sets and the lighthouse’s role in Michigan’s maritime history.
The Park Interpreter will meet your students upon arrival and lead them on a guided sand dunes walk on their way to the lighthouse. The walking distance to the lighthouse is approximately 2 miles. Students will discover the fascinating world of sand dunes: “how they are formed, the diversity of environments within the dunes, plants and animals that make the dunes their home, and why the dunes are protected.”
Lighthouse guides will interpret the history of this unique Lighthouse. Students are shown equipment used in lighthouse operations and given a tour through the lighthouse. Everyone gets to climb the 130 steps to the top of one of the tallest light towers on Lake Michigan.
Groups are welcome to picnic on the grounds around the lighthouse. There is, also, a lighthouse gift shop. Group Leaders have to allow a minimum of 3 hours for this program.
We will cover the sciences (geology, biology, botany, ecology) and Michigan maritime history. The lighthouse and trail are not wheel chair A.D.A. accessible.
Michigan Curriculum Framework: SOC. I. 2. LE.1, MS.1, HS.3 * SCI. V. 1. E.1, MS.4, HS.1&3 SCI. V. 2. MS.1
(1st through 3rd grades)
Promote your young student’s sense of wonder and discovery by having them examine the abundance of aquatic micro life in one of the Park’s ponds. Students will visually discover what lives in the pond by using dipping nets and magnifiers. This is a great way for young children to have fun while learning about the world around them.
The Park Interpreter will meet your students upon arrival and lead them to the pond.
Students will discover the fascinating aquatic life of a fresh water pond and how the surrounding environment affects their habitat. The Pond Discovery is a hands-on activity that gets every child and adult involved.
We require you bring chaperons to help supervise and lead small breakout groups. We encourage that classes be kept small to help keep breakout groups small for the children to get the maximum experience and involvement. The Visitor Center will be opened to use the restrooms.
We will cover the basic early elementary science of aquatic ecology. The pond and trail are somewhat wheel chair A.D.A. accessible with help due to the sandy soils and uneven ground.
Michigan Curriculum Framework: SCI. I. 1. E.1&4 * SCI. III. 2. E.1&3&4 * SCI. V. I. E.2
(6th through high school grades)
This is a more advanced aquatic study of Ludington State Park’s natural water resources. It is setup for students to discovery through hands-on activities the aquatic life and changes that occur over time. Students will visually discover what lives in the river by using testing equipment. This is a great way for older kids to have fun while learning about the aquatic world around them.
The Park Interpreter will meet your students upon arrival and give an introduction of what students will be doing. Afterwards students will be taken to the river to perform the river study tests.
Students will gain a better understanding of how the environment affects the aquatic habitat. The three objectives emphases are: 1.) Aquatic areas and niches; 2.) Characteristics and adaptations of aquatic life; 3.) Use research and resources to obtain information about aquatic life and habitat.
We encourage that classes be kept to a manageable number due to the limited amount of test equipment and student participation. The Visitor Center will be opened for your group to use the restrooms and cleanup afterwards.
We will cover the advance science of aquatic ecology. The river and trails used are wheel chair A.D.A. accessible.
Michigan Curriculum Framework: SOC. II. 2. MS.4, HS.1 * SOC. II. 3. MS.3, HS.2 * SCI. III. 2. MS.1 SCI. III. 5. MS.1,2,3,4,5,6, HS.1,3,4,6 * SCI. IV. 1. MS.1, HS.6
“Autumn: Preparing for Winter”
(Kindergarten through 2nd grade)
It happens every autumn! Animals and plants are busy preparing for the upcoming cold winter temperatures and snow. Squirrels burying acorns, tree leaves changing into a rainbow of colors, big salmon swimming up the river are just some of the autumn changes your students will see and learn about. Your young students are lead on a guided walk through the wooded sand dunes and along the Big Sable River to search out the seasonal changes. This is a great way for young children to have fun while learning about the world around them.
Starting at the Great Lakes Visitor Center the Park Interpreter will meet your students upon arrival and lead them on this autumn nature walk. Students will have the opportunity to tour the Visitor Center.
This program has an option of going on the road to your school and using your school grounds or a local park for the walk.
We will cover the basic early elementary science objectives through their observations. The trail and Visitor Center are wheel chair A.D.A. accessible.
Michigan Curriculum Framework: SCI. I. 1. E.1 * SCI. II. 1. E.4 * SCI. III. 2. E.1,3,4, *
SCI. III. 3. E.1 * SCI. III. 4. E.2 * SCI. III. 5. E.1,2,3
“Winter Walk on Snowshoes”
(4th grade through College Classes)
Snowshoeing is a unique way for students to be out and learn about nature during the winter months. Students will strap on a pair of park snowshoes and be guided through the snow covered countryside to learn about the winter habitat of animals and plants. This program can be geared to match a topic of study your class is focusing on.
Students will be given an introduction to the history of snowshoes and instructions on using them. This snowshoe program has an option of going on the road to your school and using your school grounds for the walk. The guided walk when done at Ludington State Park is approximately one mile. Class size per program is limited to 40 people due to the limited number of snowshoes we have available to loan out.
The Park Interpreter will meet your students in the Park’s warming shelter upon your arrival. Students need to dress warm and wear good fitting foot wear.
We will cover the sciences (geology, biology, botany, ecology) and a bit of North American snowshoe history. The snowshoes and trail are not wheel chair A.D.A. accessible.
Michigan Curriculum Framework: SOC. I. 2. LE.1, MS.1, HS.3 * SOC. II. 2. EE.1&2, MS.4&5, HS.1&2 * SCI. I. 1. E.1, MS.1, HS.1 * SCI. V. 1. E.1, MS.1, HS.1 * SCI. V. 2. E.1
“Geology, Michigan’s Rock Story”
(1st grade through 6th grade)
Children finally get to see rocks from their back yard and from around our great state in a fascinating way! Rocks are not lifeless objects but history books waiting for someone to open them and tell their stories of decades and centuries long gone. “Why rocks are the oldest antiques we have in our history!”
Students are introduced to common rocks from around our State through fun hands-on activities. Students will look for clues in the rocks that tell the stories when these rocks were being formed, “A time when a large warm ocean teaming with sharks and coral reefs existed or the volcanoes of the Upper Peninsula spitting out hot lava or when the ice ages dug and moved rocks around shaping our State!” Geology at its greatest!
This outreach program is designed for your classroom setting and last approximately 45 minutes. The Park Interpreter will travel to your school and provide the program materials.
Basic elementary geology and the geological history of Michigan are the focus of this interpretive program.
This program is wheel chair A.D.A. accessible depending on the educational facility being used.
Michigan Curriculum Framework: SOC. II. 2. LE.3, MS.2, HS.2 * SCI. V. 1. E.1, MS.4 * SCI. V. 2. MS.1