Battle Creek is a charismatic riverside city nestled on the banks of rivers Battle Creek and Kalamazoo. It is known for its rich history and culture, diverse wildlife, and incredible natural beauty. Popularly known as “Cereal City”, this is where cornflakes was invented by W.K. Kellogg in the late 1800s.  

Battle Creek also played a significant role in the Seventh-day Adventist history. With numerous parks, mesmerising rivers, tranquil lakes, and sprawling greenery, this city offers plenty opportunities for a wide array of outdoor recreation, such as hiking, biking, swimming, kayaking, camping, wildlife viewing, and more. Tour the outstanding museums, enjoy the electrifying nightlife, attend the vibrant festivals, and explore nature at this amazing city that offers something for everyone. Battle Creek is the ideal destination to plan your next vacation. Here’s a list of the best things to do while vacationing here:

Encounter exotic animals at Binder Park Zoo

Binder Park Zoo
DragonFae Art / Shutterstock.com

Encompassing over 400 acres, this zoo is one of the prime attractions of Michigan. It includes award-winning exhibits and a broad array of exotic flora and fauna from all over the globe. It features trams, carousels, and a train journey that winds along picturesque greenery. View the majestic African Lion, African Painted Dog, giant tortoises, Australian Dingo, Black Crested Mangabey, Canada Lynx, Blue Poison Dart Frog, Zebras, Tarantulas, Red Kangaroos, Ring-tailed Lemurs, Peafowls, Red Pandas, and plenty more. You can get close to the giraffes and feed them a snack. This place is a must-visit in Battle Creek. Tour the zoo and encounter magnificent diverse animals. Admission fee ranges from USD 12.50 to USD 14.50 depending on your age. Children below 2 years can enter for free.

Enjoy nightlife at FireKeepers Casino Hotel

With several thousands of fruit machines, over 75 table games, and six restaurants, this is one of the most amazing places to enjoy the electrifying nightlife. You can play poker, craps, roulette, blackjack, Mississippi stud, baccarat, ultimate Texas hold ‘em, and more. In case you don’t know how to play, you can attend their free tutorials that are offered from Mondays to Thursdays. Gorge on scrumptious meals and drink exquisite wine at their award-winning Nibi restaurant. Dacey’s taphouse is known for its wide range of delicious craft beers. Sink your fork into delectable American cusine at Smoke ‘N Fire.

Explore Leila Arboretum

 Leila Arboretum
Battle Creek CVB / CC BY

This renowned tourist attraction features picturesque manicured gardens and sprawling greenery. Nearly 25,000 plants are spread across this 72-acre arboretum. Take a refreshing stroll here and explore the grand fountain, outstanding sculptures, vegetable garden, kaleidoscopic flowers, perennial garden, labyrinth, butterfly garden, and plenty more. You can view daisies, tulips, daffodils, lilacs, magenta coneflowers, chrysanthemums, and several others. Check out their native flower garden that features incredible displays of the regional flowers of Michigan. Enjoy a game at the disc golf course here. A multitude of events are organised in the arboretum all year round including music festivals, sled races, trick-or-treat events, science fairs, and more. Admission is free but an entry fee might be applicable during special events.

Treat yourself to irresistible desserts at Station 66

Located in the building of a former gas station, this place is renowned for selling local produce of Michigan and mouth-watering desserts. Pay a visit to this popular store and shop a broad array of farm fresh vegetables, fruits, jams, syrups, honey, and more. Don’t miss out on their incredible doughnuts and flavoursome ice-creams. Also try their apple cider and cakes. The various events that take place here include car shows, musical performances, vintage tractor exhibits, hayrides, reindeer encounters, and more.

Check out mounted animals at Kingman Museum

Located in Leila Arboretum, this museum features numerous mounted animals, animal skeletons, preserved human embryos, and American Indian artifacts. Additionally, the museum includes a planetarium which offers fascinating short films about space, planets, and more. Admission to the museum is absolutely free but tickets to a show costs USD 2. Tour the museum, learn about the native animals, and catch an exciting show at the planetarium.

Explore history at Kimball House Museum

Constructed in the late 19th century, this was formerly the home of three generations of doctors of the Kimball family. It has been maintained to exactly represent how the home would look like if the family was still residing here. It displays the original furniture, paintings, china, home décor, woodwork, pump organ, bathtubs, documents, and more belonging to the Kimballs. Sojourner Truth was a renowned women’s rights activist in the 19th century. She lived in Battle Creek for around 25 years. The Kimball house museum’s exhibits also include significant historical collections relating to her. Additionally, one of the rooms here is dedicated to temporary displays. Tour the house and learn about the fascinating lifestyle of the elite during the Victorian era in this region. It is open from April to December between 1p.m. and 4p.m. on the first and third Sundays. Book an appointment prior to your visit by calling 269-660-9072.

Camping at Fort Custer Recreation Area

Fort Custer Recreation Area
Dean Pennala / Shutterstock.com

Encompassing over 3000 acres, this site was formerly a US military base in the 20th century. Today, it is a popular area for hiking, biking, kayaking, swimming, fishing, camping, wildlife viewing, and exploring wilderness. The site features large enchanting lakes, a scenic river, and several miles of invigorating hiking trails. The Kalamazoo River meanders through the densely forested landscapes of this region. Enjoy a refreshing riverside hike, try fishing in the lakes, dive in for a swim in the cool waters, view the diverse wildlife, and camp here at night to experience nature. You can spot various water fowls and other animals, such as turtles, hawks, warblers, sparrows, wild turkeys, frogs, and plenty more. The campground features cabins, a bonfire area and picnic tables. In winters, visitors frequent this place for cross-country skiing. Located 9 miles from Battle Creek, Fort Custer area offers heavenly views through all four seasons.

Hiking at Ott Biological Preserve

Ott Biological Preserve features miles of nature trails, multiple serene lakes, sprawling forests, quaint bridges, and gorgeous wild flowers. Explore the greenery and appreciate nature’s astounding beauty at this preserve. Enjoy an invigorating hike in the tranquil atmosphere and view the diverse wildlife. This is an ideal place for your morning workout and for watching the sunrise. The winter landscapes are equally stunning. You can also walk your pet here. The preserve is open from 8 am to 9 pm and admission is absolutely free.

Check out the Cereal History Exhibit

Corn flakes was invented by W.K. Kellogg in 1894 in Battle Creek. This city is famously known as “Cereal City” and the Kellogg company is headquartered here. Visit the Battle Creek Welcome Centre and check out the cool cereal exhibits. The place features preserved cereals belonging to past decades that are displayed in glass jars, old advertisements of Post Consumer Brands and Kellogg’s, old posters, vintage toys, and more. The various exhibits aim to educate patrons about the history of breakfast cereals and its connection with Battle Creek.

Tour the W.K. Kellogg Estate

W.K. Kellogg Estate
Battle Creek CVB / CC BY

Constructed in the early 20th century, this historic estate was the summer home of the founder of the Kellogg Company. It features a magnificent manor, a bird sanctuary, boathouse, a windmill, enchanting lake overlook, manicured gardens, a greenhouse, chauffeur’s residence, lake access, housekeeper’s cottage, swimming area, soccer field, and plenty more. Additionally, the place offers lodging. Stay here, appreciate the incredible views, enjoy watching the birds, hike and explore the estate, dive in for a swim in the cool waters of Gull Lake, indulge in a game of volleyball or soccer, and have an amazing time. Owing to the scenic vistas and tranquil atmosphere, this happens to be a very popular wedding venue. Apart from weddings, various events and workshops are organised here all year round.

Battle Creek Art Centre

Dating back to the mid-20th century, this renowned visual arts gallery aims to promote art and make it accessible to all. It has three galleries and hosts numerous remarkable exhibitions during the year. They provide educational programs and organise fundraisers. Regional school students are also offered the opportunity to display their art at the galleries every year. The annual Michigan Artist Competition features works by famous regional artists. Children can try their hand at art through the interactive exhibits. Visit this art centre and look at outstanding pieces of artistic works.

Air shows at Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival

Battle Creek Field of Flight Air Show and Balloon Festival
Darren Brode / Shutterstock.com

This annual summer festival features stunt flying air shows, numerous outrageously coloured hot air balloons, entertaining activities, mouth-watering food, magnificent fireworks, musical performances, amusement rides, and so much more. Bring along your loved ones and have an incredible time here. Catch a glimpse of southwest Michigan’s vibrant culture at this lively event.

Water Adventures at Flash Flood Water Park

This park features enormous water slides, a water playground, multiple pools, bucket dumps, bouncy house and slide, and plenty more. It is a perfect place to beat the summer’s heat and take a break from the monotonous daily routine. Spend quality time here with your loved ones and enjoy a relaxing day.

Watch a show at Kellogg Arena

Established in 1980, this arena can accommodate over 6000 patrons. It is the home ground of the Battle Creek Cereal Killers roller derby team and Battle Creek Flight basketball team. The arena hosts a multitude of diverse events all year round, such as sporting events, theatre, musical concerts, circuses, trade shows, and so much more. Catch a show here and have a great time.

Watch the parade at National Cereal Festival

The National Cereal Festival is a tradition in Battle Creek that dates back to the mid-20th century. It features free breakfast for all which is served between 8 am to 11am, health runs, amusement rides, bouncy castles, delicious beer, musical performances, animal encounters, a magnificent cereal-themed parade, and so much more. Be a part of the festivities and catch a glimpse of the vibrant local culture here.

Swimming at Willard Beach Park

This park features a swimming beach, picnic areas, nature trails, grills, and spectacular views. Take a refreshing swim in the cool waters of Goguac Lake, explore the nature trails, appreciate the scenic views, indulge in a game of volleyball, and enjoy a lovely picnic. This is the ideal place to take a break from the everyday routine and escape into nature.

Historic Bridge Park

Located on the banks of Kalamazoo River, this park is known for its multiple historic metal and stone bridges. In addition to the quaint bridges, it features a railroad, nature trails, playground, grills, picnic areas, kayak launch, river access, and more. It is popular for a wide range of outdoor recreation, such as hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, kayaking. Admission to the park is free. It is open from 8 am to 8pm through all seasons.

Travel back in time at Historic Adventist Village

This historic site features replicated or restored buildings of a 19th century village. It emphasises on the history of the Seventh-day Adventist pioneers. Many historical artifacts belonging to the 1800s are displayed at these buildings. Visit the church and tour the home of James and Ellen White. James White was one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and his wife was a renowned author and Adventist leader. Other significant displays include a school house, barns, meeting room, carriage house, and more. The Dr. John Harvey Kellogg Discovery Centre is also located here. Admission to the site is absolutely free for all.

Shop fresh at Horrock’s Farm Market

Established in 2002, this is one of the most popular spots in Battle Creek. It offers a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, cheese, plants, nuts, snacks, honey, syrups, olive oil, wine, bakery goods, candy, and plenty more. All the products are sourced from local farmers and small-scale local businesses. Try out the delicious craft beer at the bar or gorge on mouth-watering sushi. They also offer a variety fresh and tasty soups and salads.

Picnicking at Irving Park

This park features a picturesque Japanese garden, a playground, a mesmerising pond, towering trees, a disc golf course, picnic areas, barbeque grills, and nature trails. Enjoy an invigorating hike on the verdant trails that traverse the scenic landscapes of the park, try your hand at fishing, admire the sight of the beautiful geese by the waters, test your skills at the disc golf course, make some delicious burgers on the grills, and relax at the park. It is a perfect place to get away from the mundane daily routine and appreciate nature.

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