THE MACKINAC BRIDGE

WHERE: The Mackinac Bridge (pronounced Mackinaw) spans the Mackinac Straits, connecting the lower and upper peninsulas of Michigan. Prentiss Brown, a U.S. senator is the man who pushed and pushed (and when plans fell apart, pushed again) to have the bridge built.

WHAT: The five-mile long Mackinac Bridge is one of the world’s longest suspension bridges. An average of 11,000 people cross it every day – paying the $4.00 car toll.

FUN FACTS:  The first car to cross the bridge (November 1, 1957) was a dark green ’51 Chevrolet Styleline Deluxe. Albert Carter was the owner and his famous car is now in the Van Andel Museum Center (which is located in Grand Rapids).

To celebrate the first birthday of the bridge, there was a parade of 83 white oldsmobiles – each carrying a beauty queen from one of the Michigan counties.

If you’re afraid of driving over bridges, they do have a driver’s assistant program where someone will drive your car across for you. I kind of don’t get that. Usually people who are afraid, are afraid of going over the bridge in general – doesn’t really matter if you’re driving or not. And I don’t think there would be too much sense in having someone drive your car over and you stay where you are.  But if you’re afraid of driving over bridges, but not simply going over bridges – it’s a thought.

KID FACTOR: The munchkin happily anticipated going on the bridge – and also skipping stones with his dad UNDER the bridge. Having the fort right there also helped his excitement. Of course, it’s also near Mackinaw City with mini-golf and fudge shops galore, so yes, good kid destination.

TWEEN/TEEN FACTOR: Every Labor Day, one side of the Mackinac Bridge is closed (as it has been since 1957) for people to walk across. The first year they had 68 people. Now they have between 40,000 – 80,000. It’s free and the web site gives parking instructions. I have friends that do this and it sounds very fun. I would think this would be a great family activity – including tweens and teens. And, you get a certificate to show that you’ve done it.

2 thoughts on “THE MACKINAC BRIDGE”

  1. That’s interesting about the driver’s assistant program. I hadn’t heard about that. If I was afraid of driving across a bridge, I would probably make use of it. Like you said though, I’d still most likely be afraid of going over the bridge anyway. But hey, I could just lay in the back seat and scream into a pillow, right? As long as I wasn’t disturbing the driver. 🙂

    There was one bridge Karen and I drove over, somewhere along our travels (might’ve been northeastern New York state, Adirondacks maybe), where the deck was that see-through corrugated steel, and the suspension stuff was all in the middle. Nothing on the sides except braided wire. It wasn’t a particularly long span, but it was deep. The speed limit was relatively low, like 30 mph, but that was pretty freaky. It was quite scenic, but still, freaky.

  2. Think about it from the driver’s point of view – their job is driving freaked-out people over a bridge all day 🙂

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