Growing up in the area, I consider many things to be overlooked by students from time to time on what is actually available to them out in the community versus on what they think is out there. A lot of the time, people think they need to visit tourist spots to get the best views of the fall color, but I personally say otherwise. Here are a few of my spots I recommend going to check out the last of the fall color before it’s gone for the season.
Kanzler Memorial Arboretum
A hidden gem in Bay City across from the community center, the Kantzler Memorial Arboretum, or what I grew up calling the “Bay City Gardens” is considered a hidden gem of the area, hosting parts of the city’s history and the Arboretum.
This wonderfully kept garden is 12 acres that are hosted and maintained by many organizations of the City. On the farther side towards the bridge is the Davidson Dry Dock, which had once been used for ship building, and connects to the riverwalk which shows much of the old ships and shipyard parts that once dominated the city back in the early to mid 1800s.
Beyond its history, the garden hosts a wonderful array of seasonal plants in the spring, summer, and fall. Entry is free and is a great place to get some fresh air.
Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens
I highly recommend waiting after halloween for the last little bit of color to beat the crowds! This area hosts 54 acres of land, is wheelchair accessible, and includes a playground, apple orchard, cafe and two pedestrian bridges.
The Forest of Dow Garden is considered to be one of the longest canopy walks in the nation, and go up to forty feet high in the air, using steel, bolts, and other materials to keep the walk and the people who visit safe. The land was originally owned by the Dow family, originally opening the forest in 2004, but reopening it to the canopy walk in October of 2018. College students get into the forest for 2 dollars with a valid ID.
Tobico Marsh/Frank N. Anderson Nature Trail
Another good one, only if you know where to find it! Though Tobico used to be in my (almost) backyard, I feel like a lot of people don’t visit unless they know about it.
Being so near to the mouth of the Saginaw Bay, the natural creation of the lagoon, and the unique history of the area, the park is highly coveted by the locals and is often seen as an important area for many folks in the Bay City area.
There is a vehicle fee for those who go to the Marsh, but overall, the walkable area and the nature you’ll see when on the trails is definitely worth it.
Though these areas can be considered common knowledge for many locals, for those who may not be from the area, these are great opportunities to become familiar with your local area and to learn more about what opportunities are around you.
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