The Cascades, also known as the Cascade Falls, are one of Jackson’s most unique and spectacular attractions. Visitors may gaze at the twinkling lights while enjoying a variety of music, cooled by a fine mist from the powerful fountains. Regularly scheduled live music nights, known as Family Fun Nights, occur throughout the summer on Wednesday nights. Live music can also be enjoyed every Saturday in the summer in the Rotary Bandshell at Sparks Park (aka Cascades Park).
The Spectacular Fireworks at The Cascades
Three times a year, fireworks displays burst in the air above The Cascades , to the delight of hundreds or thousands of viewers. Since its creation, millions of people have enjoyed the beauty of The Cascades.
The Cascades Fast Facts
- 6 immense fountains
- 3 reflecting pools
- 16 falls
- 90 LED rope lights
- 500 feet long
- 64 feet wide
- 60 feet deep
A landmark springs to life
William Sparks was a prominent Jackson citizen who dreamed of giving something back to the community he loved. Sparks began a non-profit organization in 1929 in order to develop the swampy land near his home into a recreation spot. Not content to simply create a few picnic areas, Sparks’ dream grew to include a championship golf course, landscaped grounds, The Cascades and much more.
A fountain in Barcelona, Spain served as Sparks’ inspiration for The Cascades. After extensive planning and testing, this amazing creation was unveiled on May 9, 1932 amidst elaborate celebrations. Within a few years, The Cascades were known around the world. Today, the visitor logbooks include entries from every state and from 33 countries.
The legacy of the Falls
Following his death in 1943, Sparks’ widow donated the entire park and The Cascades to Jackson County. For more than 75 years, The Cascades have captivated local residents and visitors from around the world. Jackson’s most famous landmark promises to amaze and delight for generations to come.
The Cascades are operated by the Jackson County Parks Department. Historic photos courtesy of the Jackson District Library and fireworks photo courtesy of Tom Steele.
Group Tour Information
Groups are encouraged to contact the Jackson County Parks Department at 517-788-7320 for a special behind the scenes tour and pricing information. Guided historic tours of this man-made illuminated waterfall usually last about a half hour and take place before evening light shows in the summer. Groups should plan to spend 1.5 to 2 hours on site.
Renovations and Restoration
As with any over 80 year old monument, restorations are an ongoing process. There have been several “Save the Cascades” campaigns but none of the magnitude currently being mounted. In the 70s, a 150 foot wall was built to keep out vandals, but this blocked the view of the beautiful falls from the street. In December of 2014 work began to tear down the wall and replace it with a decorative fence as Phase One of a six phase multi-million dollar restoration project. The renovations were revealed during the Start of Summer (Memorial Day) Fireworks on Saturday, May 23, 2015. This is only the beginning as Phase Two is set to begin next year to repair the “heart” of the falls which include the electrical and mechanical systems, some original to 1932. Subsequent phases include:
- Phase Three: renovation of the outside including the 126 steps to the top of the structure and the concrete fencing around the stairway
- Phase Four: maintenance work on the falls' fountains
- Phase Five: maintenance work on the falls' plaza
- Phase Six: building a new visitors' center in five years
If you feel passionately about the beauty and importance of The Cascades to Jackson and to Michigan consider donating to the campaign. Visit Jackson Community Foundation, click on donate now and choose "The Cascades Non Endowed Special Project Fund".
Or send a check marked with the note "The Cascades Renovation" to:
Jackson County Parks
1992 Warren Avenue
Jackson MI 49203
Jackson Community Foundation
One Jackson Square, Suite 308
Jackson MI 49201
Related Calendar Events
Sparks Park & The Cascades a.k.a. The Cascades Park & The Cascade Falls The best known attraction of this 457 acre park is The Cascades, a man-made, illuminated... » More Information
Sparks Park & The Cascades a.k.a. The Cascades Park & The Cascade Falls
The best known attraction of this 457 acre park is The Cascades, a man-made, illuminated waterfall with musical accompaniment enjoyed by all since 1932. Some prefer to watch the dancing lights and listen to the beautiful music from comfortable seats, while the more energetic climb to the top of the 500 foot hill alongside the six giant fountains while dodging the spraying water. The falls are illuminated every night in season, 8:00 p.m. - 11:00 p.m. with an admission charge. Children 10 years and under are free with paid adult. Call for special group rates.
The park, also known as the Sparks Foundation County Park, features the Cascades 18-hole Championship Golf Course, Cascades Short Course and driving range. Other features of this park, operated by the Jackson County Parks Department, include outdoor basketball court, baseball and softball fields, a very popular walking path, playground area, and a picnic shelter. The Cascades Park is also the home of many special events such as the midwest's largest Cascades Civil War Muster and spectacular fireworks shows every year. Don't forget to stop by the Cascades Ice Cream Co, featuring "Frozen Dome Malts", open March through September.
The Sparks Park newest feature is the urban fishery. The fishery was first stocked with 500 Blue Gill and 100 Large Mouth Bass. The urban fishery was completed in June 2012 and was open for fishing on July 1, 2012. The area includes a fishing pier, walking path, informative signs and a large picnic gazebo.
Group Tour Information
Groups are encouraged to contact the Jackson County Parks Department at 517-788-4320 for a special behind the scenes tour and pricing information. Guided historic tours of this man-made illuminated waterfall usually last about a half hour and take place before evening light shows in the summer. Groups should plan to spend 1.5 to 2 hours on site.
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The Cascades course, located in the southern part of the City of Jackson, is a course that a golfer must play if he or she wants to play one of... » More Information
The Cascades course, located in the southern part of the City of Jackson, is a course that a golfer must play if he or she wants to play one of the best public courses in Michigan. The course was established in 1929 and is operated by the Jackson County Parks Department. For golfers convenience, in 2008, state of the art GPS was added to their fleet of golf carts. We also have been working on expanding the merchandise in our proshop to offer a variety of accessories, apparel, and golf balls. We will be serving alcohol by the end of the summer.
Cascades is challenging, long by most standards, and features water and beautiful scenery. The signature hole on #17 is a par four measuring 383 yards from the white tees. A creek runs across the fairway 240 yards out and the approach is played to a severely sloped green guarded by trees and bunkers.
Received a 4 Star rating from Golf Digest's Places to Play.
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Cascades Ice Cream Co. is a place that is always open and ready to serve only the finest ice cream there is to offer. The staff is wonderful and will... » More Information
Cascades Ice Cream Co. is a place that is always open and ready to serve only the finest ice cream there is to offer. The staff is wonderful and will treat you like a friend. They really want you to have the best experience when you come and visit.
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Winner of the 2014 Jackson Magazine Reader's Choice for Best Banquet Facility They specialize in Showers, Corporate Meetings, On-site Weddings and Wedding Receptions, Service Clubs, Memorials and Special Events.... » More Information
Winner of the 2014 Jackson Magazine Reader's Choice for Best Banquet Facility
They specialize in Showers, Corporate Meetings, On-site Weddings and Wedding Receptions, Service Clubs, Memorials and Special Events. Nestled in beautiful Sparks Park and The Cascades (aka Cascades Falls Park) of Jackson, Michigan, you'll find the elegant Cascades Manor House. The perfect setting for your next occasion, the Cascades Manor house will impress your guests with stunning surroundings, impeccable service and delicious cuisine. They cordially invite you to relax and enjoy the charming atmosphere of the Cascades Manor House while their experienced, professional staff plan and coordinate your special event. Our scenic grounds and unique bridges create the perfect setting for any occasion. Your guests will enjoy a large dance floor and ample parking. The Cascades Manor House has a long-term agreement with Jackson County Parks. We are a nonprofit facility and our proceeds are directed to local parks improvement. We have seating for up to 300 and three private rooms to choose from. We offer a full bar and equipment rentals to complete your event. Corporate events, showers, wedding receptions, memorial luncheons, retirement parties, your event will shine at Jackson's Original "Community Gathering Place." Call today to schedule your next event. 517-784-1500.
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