School & Motorcoach Tours for Kids


Mackinac Bridge for Kids  45 – 60 Minutes

Your guide, author Mike Fornes, has written two books on this topic and will give you, first and foremost, an outstanding talk about the Mackinac Bridge, Michigan’s crown jewel.

The presentation is in student-friendly language that encourages questions about Michigan history and why the bridge was necessary. The talk combines engineering, geology, tasteful humor and of course Michigan history in a way that students and adults will enjoy.

At one time it was the longest suspension bridge in the world – find out where there are bigger bridges today and why the “Big Mac” may still be a greater engineering feat! Hear the dramatic tales of the brave iron workers who built this massive structure, how several of them lost their lives in the process, and what safety procedures today are in place to protect motorists, workmen, and boaters. How many cars have gone off this span? The bridge is the safest five miles of Interstate 75, yet you will hear the stories of how it has been struck by a ship, an airplane, and how an Air Force bomber once flew under the bridge’s center span. Your guide will provide more than hearsay – in many cases these are eyewitness accounts of local history!

Many students may have walked the bridge during the annual bridgewalk, and will relate to the height of the span, weather conditions aloft and the distance across the Straits of Mackinac. If they haven’t walked it – they’ll want to after this presentation.

The program is presented in Mackinaw City at Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, or in St. Ignace at Bridgeview Park. Students and adults should dress appropriately for weather conditions.

This is a static shoreside tour and does not cross the bridge, permitting more fascinating detail from the guide and questions from students.


Student Science-Nature Scavenger Hunts  60 – 90 Minutes

Available at locations in Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island and St. Ignace, our guide takes your 3rd-8th grade Michigan History group to places they have only read about in their textbook, and has them search for items that Native Americans would have collected hundreds of years ago! By identifying certain trees, rocks, and other items common to the Straits Area, your students will forge an in-person link to their studies, their Michigan heritage, and team-oriented concepts which are needed in this exercise.

Students are easily within hearing range of a callback by the guide’s whistle. The guide carries 2-way radios for use by teachers or parent/chaperones. We supply all materials needed, students need only to dress appropriately for the day’s weather; the program is run on a “rain or shine” basis. Locales for this activity are close to town, yet “wilderness” in their settings.

The guide explains each item to be found, and provides each group with a list for reference, complete with illustrations and a map of the areas to be searched and guidelines for “out of bounds” borders.

Upon returning, each student group will have found a variety of plant and geologic species common to this region, as well as fossils, driftwood, and other collectibles which chronicle Michigan’s evolution from the wild to areas populated by humans.

Your students will not be bored! This is a great way to take the classroom outdoors to really bring Michigan History home.


Native American Encounter  45 – 60 Minutes

Your school’s 3rd through 8th-graders will be awed by their interaction with authentic Ojibway, Odawa and Chippewa descendants, clothed in colorful and traditional tribal wear.

Much of the hand-made jewelry, clothing, and accessories will be available for a hands-on inspection by students. A variety of animal skins are displayed, representing the bounty of the fur-trading era in the Straits of Mackinac.
The message of this popular program impresses upon youth many basic attributes of American Indian culture – the giving of gifts and respect for animals, nature and elders.

Available outdoors at Old Mackinac Point, or indoors at your hotel’s breakfast room.


“Straits Area Legends and Mysteries”  45 – 60 Minutes

A student-oriented storytelling session that highlights Native American Culture, lighthouse and shipwreck lore, and historic facts about the Straits of Mackinac and its eras of fur traders, voyageurs and lumber camps. Presented in an entertaining, kid-friendly dialogue. Evening presentations preferred, but can be added onto morning trips to Colonial Michilimackinac or Fort Mackinac.

Colorful historic backdrops for this 45-minute interactive class are Marquette Park on Mackinac Island, the Marquette Memorial in St. Ignace, and Alexander Henry Park in Mackinaw City at the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse.

A perfect primer for the 4th grade Michigan History student, but an eye-opener for all!


Mackinac Island Tour  2 – 4 HOURS

Who needs a tour guide on Mackinac Island? YOU DO!

Let us help you avoid the lines, the indecisions, and the gaps that can occur when you head to the Island thinking your bases are covered. If you’ve been there, you know what we mean!

Our Mackinac Island assistance begins at the ferry dock or at your hotel doorstep, and can take you to places unseen by other visitors to the Island. We can get you the fastest assistance on the dock to your Mackinac Island Carriage Tour*, plus when we accompany you on the ride the carriage drivers are delighted. They all know us, and often provide more interesting insights at our suggestion, as well as ask us to give our version of certain vantage points. The typical carriage driver is a college student from a small farm town in Canada. The smart ones find out in a hurry that discriminating groups want the “real story” of the Island, not the script they get in drivers training each spring. We can answer the questions your group will have that only a true “local” will know! Skull Cave, Arch Rock, the Governor’s Mansion, the Biddle House, the Beaumont Museum, and Lilac Lane will come alive with our stories and first-hand knowledge of the area.

Get the “cook’s” tour of the Grand Hotel* and its grounds. See the behind-the-scenes areas of Fort Mackinac* that get missed by the average visitor. If you saw the movies “Somewhere In Time” or “This Time For Keeps” we can take you to filming locations that you’ll instantly recognize.

Let us advise your group on shopping locales and tiny specialty shops that have what your visitors are looking for, so you can save time without walking the Island looking for that perfect keepsake.  Walking tours are available for those desiring a relaxing tour with more time at some stops. The Island can be a tough place for convenient restroom stops or handicapped assistance, but not with our help! Let us personalize your Island visit with comfort, information, and entertainment. We carry two-way radios to assist when needed on the Island.

Many tour operators tell us our services on the Island “doubled” their enjoyment of experiences they’ve had in the past, and saved them money overall thanks to our advice and packaging with Island businesses.

Separate entrance or admission price for these attractions*


Straits of Mackinac Cruise  1 – 1.5 Hours

Available on any of the three ferry services serving Mackinac Island. Your group can charter a ferryboat for a cruise of an hour or so.

Your guide, author Mike Fornes, has written two books about the Mackinac Bridge and will present an outstanding talk about the Mackinac Bridge, Michigan’s crown jewel. At one time it was the longest suspension bridge in the world – find out where there are bigger bridges today and why the “Big Mac” may still be a greater engineering feat! Hear the dramatic tales of the brave iron workers who built this massive structure, how several of them lost their lives in the process, and what safety procedures today are in place to protect motorists, workmen, and boaters. How many cars have gone off this span? The bridge is the safest five miles of Interstate 75, yet you will hear the stories of how it has been struck by a ship, an airplane, and how an Air Force bomber once flew under the bridge’s center span. Mike will provide more than hearsay – in many cases these are eyewitness accounts of local history!

The Straits of Mackinac has documented evidence of about 200 shipwrecks beneath its icy waves, and local divers have discovered 49 of them. Your guide has actually visited many of these wrecks, and will tell the stories of these ships’ demise in shrieking winds, foggy calms, and frozen darkness. Hear the mysteries of the wondrous sights of schooners unseen but by a select few since the day they slipped below the waves, and the hidden dangers still below.

Shipping today in the Straits still forms a busy highway to world ports of commerce. Your guide often contacts the captains of these vessels by radio, and your group can listen and hear facts about their cargo, ports of call, and the crews that work aboard. We often “chase” ships for an up-close view, and many times capture a breathtaking sunset that will be everyone’s favorite photo memory.

Mackinac Island can been seen on this journey, with the Grand Hotel, elegant West Bluff Victorian cottages, Devils Kitchen, and Fort Mackinac all visible with informative narrative provided.

A typical Straits cruise provides views of four of the area’s lighthouses, with two more visible in the distance. Some of their lights still burn brightly today, reminiscent of an age without radio electronics, navigation equipment, or satellite mapping technology. Their stories are told as you see first-hand the images once hailed by the lookouts of sailing ships!

School & Motorcoach Tours for Kids View of the Mackiac Bridge from Mackinaw City. Downtown Mackinac Island Mackinac Island Carriage Student Tours

Our Listing of Student Tours

Contact Us Today for
Tour Pricing & Availability!

Mackinaw's ORIGINAL Step-On Tour Guide — serving motorcoach groups since 1992