Explore the Dark Sky Park Discovery Trail Near Mackinaw City
The Headlands, an Emmet County park located 2 miles west of downtown Mackinaw City in Northern Michigan, is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week at no charge. The signs are not lighted so plan accordingly.
Each Discovery Station features a cultural docent or representational artwork; an interpretive display board with text about each planet; and a sign indicating how visitors can access audio components (either via dialing a phone number with your cell phone or using the QR code). The audio is different than the written board text.
The opening sign sets the stage for what visitors will experience when they arrive at the Headlands to participate in the Discovery Trail: "The dark wilderness of endless sky has held wonder for humanity as long as there have been sky and man. Along this 1-mile Dark Sky Discovery Trail, visitors will encounter inspiring people and figures--'cultural docents'--and art representations which will explore humanity’s relationship with the cosmos. They will demonstrate how this relationship has impacted the evolution of our culture, from ceremonial and agricultural practices of indigenous tribes to the navigational instruments used by the first Europeans to arrive here.
"Indeed, humanity’s striving to understand its place in the cosmos has motivated the highest achievements in architecture, literature, science and the arts."
Each Discovery Station represents one of the planets, plus Pluto, Moon and Sun and is a path that leads visitors through cultural understanding and the interconnectedness of people from around the Earth both in ancient times and today.