Destination: Oakland County

Stephanie Sokol for The Oakland Press/Advisor Source

Photo courtesy of The Detroit Zoo

Photo courtesy of The Detroit Zoo

Animal exhibits, historic landmarks, nature areas and farms-when venturing through Oakland County, a variety of recreation and entertainment is available.

Here’s a quick guide to tourist attractions in the area:

Detroit Zoo

Located in Royal Oak, the Detroit Zoo is home to more than 3,300 animals, according to Patricia Janeway, Zoo Communications Director.

The Arctic Ring of Life, North America’s largest polar bear display, allows visitors to interact with bears and seals in a 70-foot underwater tunnel. The Zoo also features an Ape Habitat, Butterfly Garden, Free Flight Aviary Bird Room, Amphibiville and Australian Outback Adventure, among other attractions.

“Today our visitorship extends well beyond this region, with guests from every county in Michigan, every state in the nation and more than 40 countries,” Janeway said. “From the early years until today, the Zoo is devoted to the overall good of our community.”

Meadow Brook Hall

Meadow Brook Hall is Michigan’s newest national historic landmark, designated last spring.

Sited on Oakland University’s campus in Rochester, university founder Matilda Dodge Wilson’s former residence functions as a museum. The 88,000-square-foot home is decorated to convey and tell the story of those who lived in it, while still feeling like a home, according to Shannon O’Berski, marketing and communications manager at the hall.

“When you first see the hall, the impression is so great,” O’Berski said. “We have this incredible jewel right here in Oakland County, and it’s so significant to our country’s history as well as Michigan’s history.”

Daily tours are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors 62 and older, and children 12 and younger are free. Tickets can be purchased on-site fifteen minutes prior to events. Visit www.meadowbrookhall.com for more information and extended tour options.

Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm

Located at 1005 Tienken in Rochester, Rochester Hills Museum provides family nature and history programs. The museum is open Fridays and Saturdays from 1 to 4 p.m. for tours of the historic farm house and dairy barn.

Garden, nature and history programs are held throughout summer, including July’s Wet and Wild Wednesdays, featuring a picnic, entertainment and water game.

“I think we have the best of both worlds: We can teach people about nature and history, and how they’ve been connected,” said Patrick Endres Museum Staff Assistant- Environmental Programs. “It’s important to learn about both. We have a lot of family oriented events because we care about our community and the surrounding communities.”

Visit www.rochesterhills.org/musprograms for more information

Holly Hotel

The historic Holly Hotel on Battle Aisle Street was transformed into a restaurant by co-owners George and Chrissy Kutlenios in 1978.

With fresh food and a daily changing menu, George said it is one of the largest restaurants in Michigan that is still family-owned and operated.

The restaurant opens for afternoon Victorian tea from 2 to 5 p.m., with a heavier 3-course luncheon meal also available. Sunday brunch is from 10:30 to 3:30, and dinner is after 4:30 p.m. In addition to meals, Holly Hotel also hosts weddings and parties, as well as comedy nights.

“A lot of people think that Holly is up north even though we are in Oakland County,” George said. “A majority of our customers come from Oakland County or within a 20 mile radius of it. Holly Hotel has a feeling of being out in the country but still close enough to Oakland County to be accessible to almost everybody in the county.”

Visit www.hollyhotel.com for more information.

Cook’s Farm Dairy

Founded in 1933, Cook’s Farm Dairy is located in Ortonville, and is the only working dairy farm in Oakland County, according to employee Alex Cook.

People can stop and try one of the farm’s 24 flavors of ice cream, while seeing the cows. All dairy products sold at Cook’s are made on-site, and milk is bottled fresh. Flavors include chocolate, buttermilk and eggnog around Christmas time.

“People enjoy (the farm) because it’s open year round for people to come walk around for free with the family,” Cook said. “The appeal is the ice cream and the experience.”

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