Since 1825, the Old Town area has seen both prosperous times and, for the second half of the 20th century, stretches of destitution. Within the last 30 years, dedicated locals have started turning Old Town back around, dropping its building vacancy rates from 90% to fewer than 10%, and establishing a slew of festivals, art venues, and boutiques. The Old Town Commercial Association plays its role in this cultural and economic renaissance by holding the annual Old Town Oktoberfest, a Midwestern interpretation of the traditional German holiday.
Over the course of two days, live polka bands provide a soundtrack for German-style dancing and festivities. Vendors pour German and European Oktoberfest beers from Spaten, Warsteiner, and Frankenmuth, and autumnal beers from American breweries such as Sam Adams and Blue Moon. Local restaurants serve authentic German dishes such as spaetzle, potato soup, frankfurters, and bratwurst throughout the fest, allowing visitors to taste the country’s staples without having to stow away in a UN ambassador’s suitcase.
Impression 5 Science Center provides future Galileos and budding Copernicuses with a vast assortment of hands-on learning opportunities and participatory exhibits. The newly installed Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body will remain displayed until May 15, so young scientists can examine the ins and outs of bodies while learning anatomical trivia, including that Einstein's brain was 10 times bigger than the average mustache. After winding their way through a bevy of exhibits⎯including Throwing Things, which examines energy transference without tranquilizing textbooks⎯explorers can duck into a slime-making workshop to create their own gelatinous blobs. A member of the Association of Science-Technology Centers, Impression 5 Science Center strives to give guests a chance to learn by doing, acting, and creating, and its enthustiastic staff works to ensure a productive visit for all visitors.
Pro Bowl's glossy lanes challenge players to outscore their opponents while enjoying refreshing beverages and slices of pizza. Whether facing off against one or three rivals, visitors strap on a pair of rental shoes before competing in two rounds of bowling. Foursomes end one-sided arguments with stoic pins by stuffing mouths with pizzas decked in cheese, pepperoni, pepperoni and sausage, or a supreme medley of meats and veggies. The complete outing is washed down with a pitcher of soda or beer.
Woldumar Nature Center greets visitors with a coterie of trees, flowers, and grasses that populate 178 acres of diverse environs representing the region's larger ecosystem. Visitors explore the center's trails spanning 5 miles of lush scenery, which treats them to a prairie of wildflowers waving their vivid heads in the breeze, the Grand River flowing throughout 1.25 miles, and a hardwood forest that casts cool shade in the shadows of beech and maple trees. Deer peacefully forage in the apple orchard, and a butterfly garden hosts a feast for the gentle winged insects. The herb garden showcases common household herbs such as rosemary alongside oft-forgotten useful plants such as calendula, which pinky swears it goes well in potato soup. The nature center's knowledgeable staff lead educational programs year-round that fill brains with experiences in geocaching, exploring the Grand River, and watching live owl presentations.
Ransom Eli Olds was certainly one of Lansing's most prolific citizens. The inventor, entrepreneur, and financier helped revolutionize the automobile industry, specifically through the two companies he founded in the area: Olds Motor Works in 1897 and REO Motor Car Company in 1904.
Genesis Fitness Center offers group classes for all kinds of fitness sensibilities, whether you're into high-intensity circuit training or the slow, methodical stretches of yoga and Pilates. The center is also home to Inertia CrossFit, where challenging daily workouts push students to jump higher, run faster, and shout action-movie quotes louder.