Raven Hill Discovery Center - East Jordan, Michigan


My wife's family has property up in the hills not too far from Boyne Falls (Michigan).  Located on Hughes Rd off from Chandler Hill Rd, it is a remnant of their family heritage.  The Hughes (my wife's mother's maiden name) were some of the first white settlers to arrive in this part of Michigan.  Donna's aunt and uncle, Karen and Doug, live there year round.  One of their closer neighbors, a mile or two up the road, is Nancy (and Glenn).  She volunteers at a place called Raven Hill Discovery Center located between East Jordan and Boyne City.  That is how I ended up there.  Uncle Doug (actually, I am a year older than he is, so I usually just call him Doug) thought I would enjoy taking a few pictures at the place and took me out there on May 29, 2010.  He was right.  Even though we stayed for a few hours, there is so much to see (and photograph), I ended up going back on the 30th to finish photographing a couple of the parts I had missed. 



It is a little difficult to discern in the above (left) image, but the rocks in front of the museum are a labyrinth.  If you visited my Sholom Park photo pages you likely got spoiled by that labyrinth, however, most of the labyrinths I have come across in my travels are of the simple circular variety, like this one.  I found it quite encouraging to find it welcoming us. 



It turned out that Doug and I arrived before the museum opened (which was noon on Saturdays).  So, while we waited, he started showing me some of the outside exhibits like the horse skeleton and something I took to be a sundial of sorts.  



Next we walked over to the Earth Tones Music Garden (below).  I was really impressed by this area.  Everything from cut lumber (2x4s) to granite gave off beautiful tones in what, to my untrained ear, seemed like perfect notes.  The picture below is a clickable link to more images of the ETMG, or you may use the link at the bottom of this first page.  But before moving on you might want to note the building in the upper left of the photo.  It is the Energy House.  Obviously solar powered, I did not get a chance to explore this exhibit, and this is the only picture it appears in. 



Doug's knee was bothering him, so I suggested he rest at a picnic table while I set out on the Taxi Trail he recommended as the next area to explore.  Seen on the map at right, it begins by the Earth Tones Music Garden and is the outer loop heading north.  The trail sign below is a clickable link to a separate page of photos I took along the trail.  As before, there is also a link at the bottom of this page if you prefer to wait, then move from page to page. 


When I had almost finished the Taxi Trail, I came to a path leading off into the woods which brought me to the Tree House.  Since quite a bit of time had already passed I was at first hesitant to take the new trail, not knowing where it went or how long such a side trip would take.  I am glad I did though.  Doug had not mentioned the Tree House.  He told me later that he had not yet visited it.  Like the other pages, the photo below is a clickable link to the Tree House page. 


After returning from the Tree House, I continued along the remainder of the Taxi Trail, arriving at a sign which read, Ancient World.  Instead of following that new trail, I headed in a crisscross direction back up toward the School, which would at least be taking me closer to returning to Doug and the Museum (by now it was most certainly open). 



The photo (right)

is a clickable link

to the School page.


As I left the Schoolhouse, I passed by the Print Shop.  I did not stop, other than to take a couple of pictures (seen on the School page) of the exterior.  Next was the Exploring Beyond Jurassic Park walkway/exhibit which would bring me back toward the Earth Tones Music Garden and closer to the museum.  Doug likely had been expecting me for some time. 



The above picture is a clickable link to the Jurassic Park page.  One is at the bottom of this page too.  Doug met me about three quarters of the way up the path and took me over through the medicinal (herb) and turtle gardens on our way to the museum.  The photo of Doug at the door is a clickable link to the Museum page.  In the museum I was introduced to Cheri Leach, founder of the Raven Hill Discovery Center.  She was probably beginning to wonder if I was a figment of Doug's imagination, since I was already out of sight on the Taxi Trail when she arrived, and had been gone for so long. 





The museum actually wrapped up our visit on Saturday.  But, having noticed there was a whole other section on the map, as large as what I had already seen, I decided to return alone briefly on Sunday to visit the Ancient World displays. 

Sunday turned out to be another beautiful day.  Although I had a limited time frame to work within (needed to get back for a grandson's birthday party), I took the time to admire (and photograph) many of the flowers in bloom.  Once again, I arrived before the museum was open, so after checking the map Cheri had given me, I simply headed down the trail toward the Ancient World sign I had seen the day before.  That sign is a clickable link to the Ancient World page. 




I left The Ancient World area using the Fuller Road exit.  Walking up the road to the museum, I went in to see if Cheri was there.  She was.  I checked to see if she had a computer available, into which I could copy the images from my camera.  She had requested some for RHDC use, and I had indicated I would be happy to share with her whatever I had taken.  Cheri did have a laptop there, so I took the time to do that then, rather than try to get them to her later. 


I also asked about the pond, and several buildings, I saw on the map on the other side of Fuller Road from where I had been wandering.  As it turns out, they are part of Raven Hill also.  I decided since my van was parked on the road, and I was going to be walking in that direction anyway, I would give myself an extra few minutes to walk over to the pond. 






I am glad I took those few extra minutes, but the time came to leave Raven Hill Discovery Center.  If you have not already done so, you should visit the seven other pages in this series, before your departure.  And, of course, if you are ever in the East Jordan area in northern Michigan, you should make it a point to see Raven Hill Discovery Center for yourself. 




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Raven Hill in SP Links


  Main Page   Music
  Taxi Trail   Tree House   School   Jurassic
  Museum   Ancient