Interpretive Programs

The following programs are offered to school groups. Once you have made your program selection and chosen 2 or 3 dates that will work for your group, please call us at 231-843-9261 to make your reservation. All programs are reserved in two-hour blocks. We suggest that groups of more than 45 students be divided into two separate groups.


Michigan Rocks (4th grade - adult)

handful of rocks

Michigan Rocks is a fun program that gets students to think about what a stone or rock means to them when they are outdoors. That rock they pick up or look at in their schoolyard or anywhere else holds a wealth of information. It is a science lesson and history lesson wrapped in this hard natural form.

Rocks tell us stories just like science and history books tell stories. Students will learn how to unlock these stories by observing and feeling rocks. They'll discover that our Great Lakes State has not always looked as it does today. This program can be done either in the park or as an outreach program in the classroom.


Sand Dunes (3rd grade - adult)

sand dunes

Get set to discover the fascinating world of sand dunes at Ludington State Park! Ludington is home to one of the largest areas of freshwater sand dunes. Your students will learn firsthand how the dunes were formed, the diversity of environments in the dunes, and why the dunes are protected. See some of the unusual plant and animal life that call the dunes home.

Great Lakes (4th grade - adult)

great lakes

Come out to Ludington State Park and discover how Lake Michigan, one of our Great Lakes, plays an important part in our lives. WE search out geological evidence to show us how these magnificent lakes were formed. We will look at the changing lake levels and our impact on the lakes. Students will leave with a better understanding of lake ecology.

Park History (3rd grade - adult)

park history

Ludington State Park has a rich history dating back to the Ice Age. In this program, students are shown locations and artifacts that tell the story of what this park was like before it was a state park. From those who built and lived in the logging village called Hamlin, up to the time where the men of the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp built this park during the Great Depression. The story unfold in front of the students during this historic walk back in time.

Lighthouse in the Dunes (3rd - 12th grades)


This program ties together the sand dune ecology on which this lighthouse sets, and the lighthouse's role in Michigan's maritime history.

The park interpreter lead students on a guided sand dunes walk on their way to the lighthouse. The walking distance to the lighthouse is approximately two miles. Students will discover the fascinating world of sand dunes, how they are formed, the diversity of environments within the dunes, plants and animals that make the dunes their home, and why the dunes are protected.

Students are shown equipment used in lighthouse operations and given a tour through the lighthouse. Everyone gets to climb the 130 steps to the top of one of the tallest light towers on Lake Michigan. We will cover the sciences (geology, biology, botany, ecology) and Michigan maritime history. The lighthouse and trail are not wheelchair A.D.A. accessible.

Park Ecology (7th grade - adult)

park ecology

Students learn firsthand the ecology of Ludington State Park during an extensive guided walk. The dunes, river, forest and lake ecology are areas of observation throughout the walk. Students see and learn how the tree diseases both past and present are dramatically changing the forest and its habitats. We look at the aquatic invasive species and see how they continue to affect the lakes and river in the park. Human imprint on the resources--and how we best protect these resources--are subjects observed and discussed throughout the program. This program is designed for older students interested in biological studies.


Autumn Changes (1st- 3rd grades)

fall leaves

It happens every fall. Animals and plants are busy preparing for the upcoming winter.

We will head out on an adventure hike to search out what seasonal changes are occurring in Ludington State Park. Students will discover numerous changes along the Sable River Trail. Birds, mammals, fish, reptiles, and plants will be our observation topics during our walk.


Snowshoeing (3rd grade - adult)


Experience what it is like to walk in snowshoes! Students will learn how snowshoes have been an important part of survival through thousands of years, especially in the Great Lakes region. Students will be fitted in a pair of snowshoes for an exciting walk in the park.

During the snowshoe walks, we will discuss the unique, natural and historic resources in Ludington State Park.

The program begins at the warming shelter, which is heated and has space for group meals with an outdoor firepit for cooking.

Winter Birds (1st - 3rd grades)

winter birds

The Sable River in Ludington State Park becomes a winter home for large populations of birds. Students discover why birds find this area such a popular spot to spend the whole winter season. Students can see birds up close, and see some species that are not present during the summer. Students learn why these birds don't freeze their feet in the icy cold river.

Starting at the warming shelter, students get a brief introduction to winter birds using mounted specimens. The highlight of this program is a walk along the river to see the birds. Sorry, please do not feed the wild birds. We will explain why it is better not to feed "people food" to the birds.


Pond Discovery (1st - 3rd grades)

pond discovery

Students have fun discovering and examining the abundance of animals that live in the pond and river. From birds to fish to small microscopic animals that call the river home, this program shows the children how these living organisms need each other. This program is specially designed to be hands-on. Experience the excitement that spring brings in! Come get your hands wet!