University of Michigan#1 in Best Things To Do in Ann Arbor
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As the crown jewel of Ann Arbor, the University of Michigan boasts many of the city's top attractions. Start your visit by touring the manicured grounds of the campus, which was opened in Ann Arbor in 1837 (though the school got its start in Detroit in 1817). U-M has a total enrollment of about 48,000 students and stretches across a massive 3,207 acres. You'll find University of Michigan properties dispersed throughout Ann Arbor, though the main campus is centrally located within the city near parks, museums, bars and dining establishments.
When it comes to things to do on campus, you won't be left scratching your head. The university is home to 30 stunning libraries and more than 16 museums, including the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Art, the Kelsey Museum of Archeology, Matthaei Botanical Gardens, Nichols Arboretum, the Herbarium and the Sindecuse Museum of Dentistry. Other points of interest include the William W. Cook Law Quadrangle (a 10-acre compound comprising pristine green space and impressive gothic-style buildings), the Gerald R. Ford Library and Hill Auditorium (a classical music concert hall). You'll even find a hotel and restaurants on the premises. Campus visitors praised the gorgeous architecture and were wowed by the sheer size of the university. They also enjoyed the many museums on-site.
Of course, no visit to U-M would be complete without a glimpse at Michigan Stadium. Built in 1927, the stadium is home of the University of Michigan Wolverines, the school's football team. The atmosphere in "The Big House" on game day is said to be loud, rowdy and electric, no doubt in part to the stadium's ability to hold nearly 110,000 spectators. The stadium is equipped with concession stands, water fountains, 14 elevators, family restrooms, baby changing stations, a lactation room for nursing mothers, a lost and found and emergency medical technicians. Despite sometimes brutal weather conditions toward the end of the season (think: snow, sleet and hail), fans turn out in high numbers to watch the team play.
To learn more about the University of Michigan, visit its website.
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#2 University of Michigan Museum of Natural History
The Museum of Natural History was founded in 1956, though the university began collecting and storing artifacts and specimens as early as 1837. Then called the Exhibit Museum, it was officially renamed the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History in 2011, and in 2019 it moved into a brand-new facility on campus.
Popular exhibits include "Dynamic Space," "On the Trail of the Mastodons" (where male and female mastodon skeletons stand side by side), and "Under the Microscope," which explores life at the cellular level. There is also an on-site planetarium. Visitors to the museum were impressed by the detailed exhibits and huge amount of information in the new facility. They extolled the nicely designed space and said their children loved the hands-on activities dispersed throughout.
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