At 222 feet long and 88 feet high, the Players Riverboat Casino II wouldn't fit on parts of the upper Mississippi River. So when it had to leave its Louisiana home for a new job in Detroit, it took the long way there, passing around Florida, Maine, and Nova Scotia until it chugged through the Gulf of St. Lawrence. All this was just the beginning of the boat's journey—the next step was a thorough transformation from a scrapped gambling vessel into an opulent cruise ship. The staff gussied up its interior, installed several kitchens, and gave it a new royal title: the Detroit Princess Riverboat.
Today, the Detroit Princess is a coveted venue for high-energy celebrations and relaxing cruises alike. Its five tiers of outdoor decks afford dual skyline views of Detroit and Windsor and up-close glimpses of the Ambassador Bridge, the crucial link that keeps Canada from floating away. Inside each of the boat's four stories, passengers can visit a full bar and socialize inside heated and air-conditioned rooms. The biggest of these boast dining areas anchored by prime-rib buffets and sprawling dance floors where DJs or live Motown groups prompt guests to boogie down. Holiday parties, late-night excursions, and private charters take the nightclub vibe to the water, and floating wedding ceremonies and receptions let even the merfolk branch of the family be a part of the fun.
From the air, the pathways at Country Corn Maze come together to create detailed images of cows, stock cars, tractors, monuments, presidents, and various other American icons. From the ground, though, they seem to wind endlessly without any sense of reason, providing adventurers with acres of maze to lose themselves in.
Each year, the Martindale family collaborates with Maze Play Inc., which uses computer-aided design software and GPS-directed tractors to carve out intricate pieces of art. The Martindales’ life on the farm and the culture of the rural Corunna countryside inspire the shapes of their mazes, which can range from a pictures of a farmstead to an homage to the firefighters of 9/11. After construction is complete and the maze walls have grown to the proper height, they invite guests to explore the 5-foot-wide pathways during the day or at night by flashlight. To keep patrons energized while they wander the corn labyrinth, Country Corn Maze also provides seasonal produce and concessions in its 1900s-era barn, from warm donuts to cups of hot organic cider or cocoa.
Founded by Post cereal magnate spouse Leila Post Montgomery in 1922, Leila Arboretum boasts 85 acres of gardens teeming with more than 3,000 varieties of aesthetically pleasing carbon-dioxide scrubbers. Contemplative horticulturalists can ponder the meaning of life and the unfathomable evil of the soprano saxophone while taking a meditative turn or 20 through the Peace Labyrinth. Otherwise, promenade through the various triffids and piranha plants in the perennial and native plant gardens. The one-acre Children’s Garden—replete with tin-can robots, a fairy house, and a landlocked hot air balloon—gives imaginations a place to run amok, as well as a plant-based way to learn one's ABCs from asparagus fern to zinnia.
Hot air balloons float into the air from Balloon Quest's idyllic launch location, taking guests on a bird's-eye tour of a stunning natural expanse studded with hills and lakes. Experienced pilots guide the rainbow-colored orbs on languorous tours, sweeping balloons' teardrop-shaped shadows over hills, dales, and the on-site mini-golf course. After their aerial tour, visitors can linger at Balloon Quest for a picnic on the grounds or a thought-provoking discussion of their top 10 favorite gravity-defying experiences. While flights are made year-round, Balloon Quest has very specific weather guidelines for flying, and rescheduling may be common.
With a vibrant red barn and rippling farmland as its backdrop, Three Cedars Farms lures pumpkin pickers of all ages with an eclectic stock of autumn trimmings and full-family hayrides. Decoration packages allow fall enthusiasts to harvest seasonal ornaments from the farm's country store, including an ornamental cornstalk and a half-bale of hay in which to hide proverbial needles, threads, and half-finished quilts. Blossoming mum plants can enliven terraces with the bright shades of fall, and small pumpkins add quirky splashes to stoops with their variegated shapes, tones, and raspy comments in the voice of Ernest Borgnine. After picking out decorations, families can clamber aboard a wagon-toting tractor for a scenic hayride past the property's twisting corn maze and eye-pleasing scenery.
Ann Arbor Aviation Center puts its students through the same training regimen regardless of their long-term goals. This approach ensures that all of its aviation alumni, whether commercial pilots or casual fliers, practice safe flying techniques as they share the air. The outfit's licensed instructors conduct training runs out of Ann Arbor Municipal Airport aboard aircraft by Cessna, Arrow, and Cherokee, guiding students through each step necessary to earn ratings from private pilot to airline transport pilot. Students also perform a good portion of their duties on the ground, both through academic work in ground school and situational practice aboard the Frasca flight simulator.