GAYLORD – The city of Gaylord and Otsego County has for many years attracted visitors to enjoy northern Michigan’s four seasons.
Here is a list of attractions for visitors to explore:
1. Gaylord Moose Park
Gaylord is one of the few towns that actively maintains a herd of moose and provides public areas for the public to view these animals, which are one of the largest species within the deer family. Under the care of the city, about 40 elk can be seen near Elk’s Lodge on Grandview Boulevard.
The herd is contained on 108 acres. City employees feed the animals corn, hay, and sugar beets, as well as vitamins. The herd started with three moose when a local nature center closed in the late 1980s.
2. Otsego Lake State Park
Located at 7136 Old US Highway 27 S., the 62-acre park is home to large oak, maple and pine trees and contains campsites near the lake. The easily accessible swimming beach and day area includes picnic tables, grills, a floating fishing dock and water volleyball. The popular boat launch provides access for both motorized and non-motorized watercraft.
3. Aspen Park
Aspen Park is a year-round wonder at 239 Commerce Blvd. The park has 100 acres of forest, paved and dirt trails, and tennis courts. In winter you can enjoy the groomed cross-country ski trails or set off with a pair of snowshoes. If you are more into mountain biking, you can do the same at Aspen Park. Last year, a Gaylord High School student, Gage Philippy, led a community effort to build a COVID-19 memorial here.
4th Alpine Festival
Held every summer except 2020 due to the coronavirus, this festival showcases the city’s alpine architecture and its twinning with Pontresina in Switzerland.
The Alpine Festival takes over Main Street in downtown Gaylord for four days in July, featuring food, a parade, rides, entertainment, and arts and crafts on display and for sale. It also serves as Gaylord’s unofficial annual homecoming weekend, when former residents return to enjoy the celebrations and meet up with family and friends.
5. Historical Museum of Otsego County
Located at 320 W. Main St., the museum is operated by the Otsego County Historical Society, which was founded in 1963 with the goal of bringing together people with an interest in history, particularly the history of Otsego County.
The museum documents the history of Otsego County since the 19th century. Rotating displays feature artifacts, photos, and memorabilia from the county’s history.
6. Call of the wildlife museum
Gaylord features an Alaskan brown bear and a polar bear who look big, confident, and a little aggressive at the Call of the Wild Museum at 850 S. Wisconsin Ave., which has over 100 stuffed animals on display.
Other features include the Wildlife Theatre, a hands-on discovery room and a window display of antique fishing and hunting items. In addition to the museum, Call of the Wild also has a gift shop and adjacent miniature golf course and go-kart track.
7.Louis M. Groen Preserve
Upon his death in 2011, businessman Louis Groen bequeathed Otsego County, comprising nearly 800 hectares of pristine forest in Johannesburg at 2043 Gingell Road, now designated the Louis M. Groen Preserve. The estate encompasses the lakes of Kujawa and Johannesburg as well as reminders that it was once home to the Johannesburg Manufacturing Company and Echo Valley Resort.
The public can use the reserve for activities such as hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and horseback riding.
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8. Gaylord Gulf Mecca
Home to 17 of northern Michigan’s premier golf courses, Gaylord bills itself as America’s premier summer golf mecca. Treetops Resort at 3962 Wilkinson Road includes The Masterpiece designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr. The signature sixth hole offers 120 feet of elevation gain and panoramic views of the Pigeon River Valley. The Premier Course at Treetops is Michigan’s only course designed by Tom Fazio.
9. The Gaylord car
Over 100 years ago, a group of people in Otsego County pooled their funds to form the Gaylord Motor Car Company. The company’s Gaylord Car debuted at the 1911 New York Automobile Show. After three years of production, the Gaylord Car Company went bankrupt in 1913. Only one Gaylord Car is known to be on display at the Gaylord Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center at 319 W. Main St.
10. Otsego resort
Founded in 1939, the Otsego Resort is a preeminent facility in northern Michigan and the oldest continuously operating private ski club in America. The resort, located at 696 M-32, features ski slopes and a 36-hole championship golf course fronted by the Tribute Course. It also offers a variety of rooms, suites, and condos, as well as more than 24,000 square feet of meeting space.