Fall Crane and Color Bus Tour
For the past five years the Haehnle Sanctuary Committee, in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, The Waterloo Historical Society, and the Sandhill Crane Vineyard, has offered a crane and color bus tour that has been especially attractive to senior touring groups.
If you are not part of a bus tour you can still follow a similar itinerary as a self-guided tour.
The Sanctuary Committee supplies a step-on guide for buses to provide a narrated trip through the 20,000 acre Waterloo Recreation Area, following scenic back roads for fall color and featuring stops to view, some of the thousands of Sandhill Cranes that visit the area every fall. The tour route is as follows:
Stop # 1 Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center: Buses usually arrive about 9:00 a.m.(Stop takes 60-90 minutes) The Discovery Center is the center for information and education for the Waterloo Recreation Area. It includes an exhibit room, auditorium, a pavilion, restrooms and 5 miles of walking trails. Participants are given the opportunity to view the exhibits, use the restrooms, and visit the gift shop. They will meet their step on guide who will introduce and narrate the program “Journey of the Cranes” in the Center’s auditorium. From there participants will return to the bus and begin the tour. There is no charge to visit the Discovery Center, but a state park motor vehicle permit would be required for the bus.
The guide will direct the bus driver over a pre-planned route to view fall colors and see cranes feeding in the fields. The guide will narrate while the bus travels from point to point. Stops will be made to view the cranes from the bus.
Stop # 2 The Sandhill Crane Vineyards: (Approximately 1 hour) Staff at the Vineyard provide lunch and conduct a wine tasting activity.
Stop # 3 Phyllis Haehnle Sanctuary: (20 minutes) This will be a brief stop to view the sanctuary from the observation hill. Participants will leave the bus and walk a short distance to benches on the observation hill, or in bad weather, will remain on the bus. The guide will present a brief narrative about the sanctuary and answer questions.
Stop # 4 The Waterloo Farm Museum and Dewey School: (2 hours) Participants will be divided into two groups. One will tour the farm and the other will visit the one room school house. Then the two groups will switch. Members of the Waterloo Historical Society dressed in period costumes would interpret the site including guiding participants through the house, various out buildings and the one room school.
The tour ends at approximately 4:00 p.m. leaving time to schedule dinner at a local restaurant and/or an evening activity.
Website 17030 Bush Rd.
Chelsea, MI 48118
The Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center, at the Waterloo Recreation Area, introduces visitors to the fascinating world of geology and to the diverse natural habitats that are found today within... » More Information
The Gerald E. Eddy Discovery Center, at the Waterloo Recreation Area, introduces visitors to the fascinating world of geology and to the diverse natural habitats that are found today within Waterloo's 20,000-plus acres. It features Michigan rocks, minerals, fossils, crystals, and glacial information. A variety of programs are offered for school groups as well as the general public. See the website for Weekly Nature Program Schedule.
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Sandhill Crane Vineyards is an award-winning winery and tasting room featuring a wide range of wines made onsite using only local ingredients. The café at Sandhill Crane Vineyards... » More Information
Sandhill Crane Vineyards is an award-winning winery and tasting room featuring a wide range of wines made onsite using only local ingredients.
The café at Sandhill Crane Vineyards features farm-to-table comfort food – soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. Many of the foods are locally sourced from area farms and food producers. The café is open late on Thursday nights for “Thirsty Thursdays” from 6 to 9 pm with live music and an extended menu.
Winner of the 2014 Jackson Magazine Reader's Choice for Best Winery
The beautiful banquet room at Sandhill Crane Vineyards features high ceilings, lots of light, and a beautiful copper-topped bar. We’d love to host your next party or meeting. The room will seat up to 72 with additional seating on the stage. The stage can also be used for a DJ, live music, presentation, or silent auction. The facility features estate-produced wines and on-site catering.
*In the summer be sure to check out the Dexter Cider Mill Tasting Room located in the Dexter Cider Mill at 3685 Central Street, DEXTER. Call 734-424-2760 for more information or click here.
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The Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary is well-known as THE staging area for Sandhill Cranes. Every autumn, thousands of these birds gather here in preparation for their southern migration. The 963-acre... » More Information
The Phyllis Haehnle Memorial Sanctuary is well-known as THE staging area for Sandhill Cranes. Every autumn, thousands of these birds gather here in preparation for their southern migration. The 963-acre Michigan Audubon Society sanctuary has a variety of habitats, making it possible to see over 200 species of birds and plants, including the Rough-legged Hawk and the Northern Shrike during the winter months.
The Sanctuary is open to visitors year-round, and during the fall on weekends, sanctuary greeters may be available to answer questions. You can also see many Cranes feeding in the fields in the area in the spring and summer, but especially the fall (September to mid-November). Late afternoon visitors during that time of year can see well over 2,000 Sandhill Cranes landing in the sanctuary during that time. We have even been fortunate to have an elusive Whooping Crane visit the sanctuary as well.
The Jackson Audubon Society is the steward of this sanctuary. They ask that you please stay on trails or the observation areas and treat the land, plants and wildlife with respect.
The Phyllis Haehnle Sanctuary is located 6 miles northeast of Jackson, Michigan on Seymour Road. For GPS, you can use the coordinates of 42.322, -84.289.
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These museums offer a vivid look into 19th century pioneer life. Costumed tour guides take visitors through a 10-room farmhouse built by a German immigrant and seven additional outbuildings. Then... » More Information
These museums offer a vivid look into 19th century pioneer life. Costumed tour guides take visitors through a 10-room farmhouse built by a German immigrant and seven additional outbuildings. Then groups are encouraged to continue their visit at the Dewey School Museum where pupils will experience a typical school day in the mid-1800s.
The Waterloo Farm Museum, listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Siebold Farm/Ruehle (Realy) farm since 1973, is a complex of farm buildings nestled in the curve of a scenic rural road. Highlights include a farmhouse built in 1850s, a rare restored wooden Perkins windmill, a log house with stone fireplace, a woodworking and blacksmith's workshop with working forge, the granary which now serves as a gift shop, and many other buildings that supported 1880s farm life.
The Dewey School Museum, located three miles north of the Farm, is a one-room schoolhouse that was built in the mid-1800s and held classes until 1956. At Dewey, the schoolmarm teaches her pupils (the visitors) about a one-room schoolhouse and guides them through a typical day.
The Waterloo Farm Museum and Dewey School Museum are run by the Waterloo Area Historical Society. The mission of the WAHA is to foster an understanding and appreciation in children and adults of the pioneer farmers of Michigan, their family life and their children's schooling. The WAHS was formed in 1962 to acquire and restore the Realy Family Farm as a tribute to Michigan's pioneer farmers.
Special events include:
- Blacksmith, Soldiers and Log Cabin Weekend
- Antique Tractor, Truck and Farm Equipment Show
- Pioneer Day
- Christmas on the Farm
Group Tour Information
For more group tour information click here. Waterloo Farm Museum provides guided tours of the ten-room farmhouse, log cabin, barns, blacksmith and woodworking workshop, bake house, ice house, milk cellar and windmill. These tours are lead by knowledgeable guides in period dress and are usually combined with the Dewey School museum visit lasting between 3 to 3.5 hours. The gift shop will also be open at this time as well, to browse and purchase books, crafts, toys, collectables and clothing. Please call for group pricing.
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