LUDINGTON, MI – Vacations to West Michigan beach towns like Ludington are always full of fun things to see, from lighthouses and beaches to maritime history and walking tours.
With more students – and grown-ups – doing their work remotely these days, some of Ludington’s favorite tourist spots have pulled together a large lineup of remote learning and entertainment options. This includes things like lesson plans oriented around Michigan’s lighthouses, at-home craft projects, history-based scavenger hunts and even remote music concerts.
“Our Ludington community has created a variety of remote educational opportunities, plus put together some fun virtual events for plenty of family-friendly options to experience Ludington from home,” said Brandy Miller, executive director of the Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We are excited to share more about our beautiful lakeshore community even when people aren’t visiting in person.”
Here’s the information being shared by the Visitors Bureau and these popular tourist sites, broken out into easily-searchable topics:
Educational Resources / Lesson Plans / Home Projects
- Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association (SPLKA) lighthouse education – SPLKA’s education committee of two former university professors, one former school superintendent and six teachers assembled a variety of educational resources that meet 2020 Michigan Educational Standards, including: Big Sable Lighthouse Educational Packet (30 pages of fun activities for grade school children to learn about Big Sable), The Properties of the Light (Lesson Plans on the Fresnel Lens), Lighthouse presentation plus related handout, video of author Pamela Cameron reading her book “Sport Ship Dog of the Great Lakes,” virtual tour of Big Sable Point Light, and Big Sable Point Lighthouse Virtual Escape Room. For more information, go to splka.org/education.html
- Mason County Historical Society virtual experiences – The Mason County Historical Society, which manages Historic White Pine Village and the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, provides a bevy of online resources and interactive experiences on its virtual education page, including Historical Photo Detective (answer questions while viewing historic photos), Mason Memories Essay (discover the past as you read memories and write an essay on what you learned), Virtual History Hunts (learn about the exhibits at each museum and how early settlers lived and worked), Outdoor Scavenger Hunts (look for trees, flowers, and insects in your backyard or at a park), and Journaling Ideas (keep a diary and record what it is like to live through these times). For more information, check out masoncountyhistoricalsociety.com/online-programming
- Sandcastles Children’s Museum at home – From do-at-home craft projects and Wacky Wednesday Science, to virtual puppet shows and concerts, Sandcastles offers online activities to keep kids busy at home. Check the Sandcastles Facebook page for free weekly events. The museum also has a YouTube channel; subscribe and get instant access to tutorials and musical performances. For more details, check out sandcastleschildrensmuseum.com/have-fun-at-home
- Mason County District Library – The library offers a variety of virtual stories through its Facebook page, such as Babytime Mondays at 10 a.m. with songs and rhyme reading, and Storytime Tuesdays through Thursdays at 10 a.m. with music, rhythm, dance, and a story (focusing on STEM Storytimes the first week of each month). More details are available at masoncounty.lib.mi.us/
- Ludington Area Center for the Arts (LACA) “Workshops in a Box” – The LACA converted its usual in-person art workshops to “workshops in a box” to do from home. In addition to holiday-themed boxes like Ceramic Holiday Ornaments and Santa’s Workshop, LACA offers a collage box, clay mug box, clay vase box, EZ mug box, and a “chaotic fish” box. Each box includes materials and supplies to complete the project plus instructions and a link to an online tutorial. Pottery projects need to be returned to LACA to be fired. Boxes cost between $15 and $50 and are available for pick up at the LACA three business days after purchase. Purchase online at ludingtonartscenter.square.site/workshops.
For those who wish to visit, but are looking for socially-distant learning activities, consider the following:
- Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) Inside|Out program, various locations in downtown, extended through November 2021. See Van Gogh and Whistler painting reproductions up close and in nature in Ludington, one of six northern Michigan communities participating in the DIA’s Inside|Out program that brings high-quality reproductions from its permanent art collection of 65,000 works to outdoor venues throughout Michigan. In its 11th year, this program comes to Ludington for the first time, in partnership with the Ludington Area Center for the Arts (LACA). Visitors can share their favorite artwork on social media with #LACAInsideOut. The eight pieces and their respective venues are listed on a walking map on the LACA’s website. Locations include Rotary and Waterfront Parks, Ludington Municipal and Harbor View Marinas, Ludington Area Center for the Arts, Mason County District Library, and the S.S. Badger – which has the first traveling piece from the Inside|Out program, and the first to travel outside of Michigan.
- Mason County Cultural Tours – Six self-guided cultural trails – Agriculture, Barn Quilt, Lumber Heritage, Music Heritage, Maritime and Sculpture – offer audio narration via smart phone about Mason County’s rich history. Visitors can navigate these tours from the privacy of their vehicles, or listen to the narratives from home while learning about Mason County’s heritage. Some tours, such as the Maritime Heritage and Sculpture Trails, are walkable. Tour stop descriptions also can be accessed online for a remote learning/armchair travel opportunity. Check out masoncountyculture.com/trails for more details.
Need a study break? Attend a virtual concert or try a virtual escape room.
- West Shore Community College “Living Room Series” – The West Shore Community College Performing Arts Series kicked off this fall with a new format and name. From the comfort of your living room, attend livestream performances of favorite regional and national artists via westshore.edu/performingarts. The lineup includes Michigan jazz artist of the year Fred Knapp, nationally renowned mandolinist and country/bluegrass artist Sierra Hull, guitarist sensation Frank Vignola, WSCC’s own Chloe Kimes, and more. Visit westshore.edu/community/performing-arts/ for artist and ticket information.
- Ludington Area Center for the Arts “Home for the Holidays” Concert – The art center hosts its 6th annual Home for the Holidays concert Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. – this time as a virtual performance streaming on its website and Facebook page via YouTube and airing locally on 97.7 and 98.7 FM. The program will feature performances by Edgar Struble, Taylor Makowicki, the Pentwater High School Jazz Band, Carlos Adan Ortega, Brian Oberlin, Fremont John, Ed Santarelli, and more, plus a special reading for the family from the Mason County District Library. ludingtonartscenter.org
- Big Sable Point Lighthouse Virtual Escape Room – A virtual escape room allows elementary school children to solve riddles to escape Big Sable Point lighthouse. Don’t worry grown-ups: An adult version will be coming out soon.
Ludington-Themed Video Backgrounds
Spice up your next video call or remote classroom with a view of a Lake Michigan sunset, historic lighthouse or woods of Ludington State Park. The Ludington Area Convention & Visitors Bureau created six Ludington-themed video conference backgrounds free to download and use with video conferencing programs like Zoom. The backgrounds showcase some of the area’s most iconic attractions – from the S.S. Badger and historic lighthouses, to Ludington State Park, to the Lake Michigan shoreline and its beaches. pureludington.com/virtualbackgrounds
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