Inside the new Detroit Outdoor Adventure Center

If you take a second -- and stay away from the windows -- you just might be able to trick yourself into thinking you are up north, downtown.

- There's nothing like going up north. But if you can't make it out of the city, you can check out the Detroit Outdoor Adventure Center. That's where they bring up north, downtown.

The idea is to take all the natural resources of Michigan and squeeze them into a 4,100 square foot building downtown.

"We try to inspire, to educate and to connect," says director Linda Walter. 

Now the irony here is that in order to connect us to the outdoors, Linda says to come inside.

"In order to go outside you need to know what you wanna do, what you need to do it and where you're going to go to do it. And we inspire that and we help with that process," she says. "So people come here and learn things."

All kinds of things.

You'll learn about sustainable living, trees and the sturgeon and the muskie. The fish are part of the Underwater Michigan exhibit which features a 3,000 square foot aquarium filled with native freshwater fish. They're trying to create the feeling of actually being in the water with these massive fish.

"These are the big fish of Michigan. They are enormous and the scale is correct," she says, pointing to the lifesize models in the exhibit. "Both of these fish can be found in the Detroit River." Linda has assured us, though, that the creatures will keep to themselves.

Another big feature of the center is a 38-foot tall pine oak replica.

"We want to get people excited about this tree and excited about going out and finding other places to be marveled by the big trees of Michigan," says Linda.

The hope is that representing what big trees across the state look like will inspire us to get out and explore.

"We want people to come and visit us ,and find out they care about things that they didn't even know existed," Linda adds.

So, if you're up to the task give them a visit. And while you're there, if you take a second  -- and stay away from the windows -- you just might be able to trick yourself into thinking you are up north, downtown.

You can learn more about the Detroit Outdoor Adventure Center at www.michigan.gov/oac


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