Public and Family Programs

Our public programs provide an opportunity for individuals to experience and learn about the Great Lakes through a variety options. From science to music, astronomy to history, and wetlands to art, these experiences will bring you closer to understanding the importance of protecting and preserving our freshwater resources.

Great Lakes Discovery Sail


Get up-close with the Great Lakes in this hands-on experience for the entire family. The adventure takes place aboard our 77′ schooner Inland Seas and begins as soon as we leave the dock. You will help us trawl for fish, collect plankton, and sample the lake bottom so we can take a look at all parts of the lake. The discovery begins when you hold fish in your hand, gasp at the miniature world contained in a drop of water, uncover animals in bottom samples, and conduct chemical tests on the water.

Plus, participants work together to raise the anchor and hoist the sails, and everyone gets to try their hand at the wheel of the ship while we are under sail. This program will show you new aspects of the Great Lakes, and help you feel more connected to these great waters. There is something in it for everyone!

Each sail is three (3) hours in length. Arrive 20−30 minutes before the scheduled start of the trip. To ensure that passengers receive their full sail time and we stay on schedule, the ship leaves at stated departure times and cannot be held for late arrivals.

General Admission: $35; Children (10 and under): $25

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Exploring Microplastics Sail

Microplastics (plastic particles less than 5mm in diameter) are a problem in the oceans, but did you know that they are present in the Great Lakes too? On this sail, you will gain a personal understanding of micoplastics, where they come from, potential impacts to the Great Lakes ecosystem, and how you can play a part in protecting our Great Lakes.

In this two-hour Exploring Microplastics sail, participants collect plankton from the lake to observe under a microscope, identify live fish, and discover how microplastics enter and move through the food chain. Participants also use a unique device, called the manta trawl, to collect a microplastics sample and examine the contents. Everyone is invited to help raise the sails on our 77’ schooner and has time to enjoy the experience of sailing.

Each sail is two (2) hours in length. Please arrive 20−30 minutes before the scheduled start of the trip.

General Admission: $25; Children (10 and under): $20

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Astronomy Under Sail

Astronomy Under Sail Image

The open water is an ideal place to experience the brilliance of the stars in a Northern Michigan dark sky, and there is no more informative place to view them than from the deck of our schooner. During the Astronomy Under Sail program, Astronomer Dick Cookman orients you to the vastness of the night sky, points out constellations, and shares his extensive knowledge of galaxies, stars, observational astronomy, and history. Come with all of your questions and prepare to be amazed. This summer, take advantage of this unique opportunity to experience the Great Lakes in a whole new way.

This sail is two (2) hours in length. Please dress for cooler temperatures and arrive 20-30 minutes before the scheduled start time.

General Admission (all ages): $45.00

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