Michigan City Highlights

Michigan City is a great, family friendly area to live in. Located 50 miles east of Chicago, it is abundant in tourism spots, especially in the summer. The beaches, dunes, the zoo, restaurants, shopping centers, parks etc. are all popular places to frequent. There are also great historical places and art centers which are a great educational way to spend the day.

Visit the following link for a list of exciting
activities within LaPorte County.

Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore

One of the great prides of the region, this impressive stretch of Lake Michigan shore includes beaches, sand dunes, oak savannas, swamps, bogs, marshes, prairies, wetlands, woodland forests, even an 1830's French Canadian homestead and a working 1900 era farm. The park spans the counties of Lake, Porter, and LaPorte and contains approximately 15,000 acres - 2,182 of which are located in Indiana Dunes State Park

It contains 15 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline spanning the distance from Gary to Michigan City. Immediately inland from the beaches, sand dunes rise to almost 200 feet in a series of ridges, blowouts, and valleys. The national lakeshore preserves an important remnant of a once vast and unique environment, resulting from the retreat of the last great continental glacier some 14,000 years ago. The park landscape represents at least four major successive stages of historic Lake Michigan shorelines, making it one of the most extensive geologic records of one of the worldís largest, fresh water bodies. Over 1,100 flowering plant species and ferns make their homes here. From predacious bog plants to native prairie grasses and from towering white pines to rare algal species, the plant diversity is rich. The park is also renowned for its bird life; more than 350 species have been observed here.

Washington Park Zoo!

The Washington Park Zoo founded in 1928, encompasses 15 acres on a hilly sand dune and located near the southern shore of beautiful Lake Michigan. The zoo exhibits more than 90 species originating throughout the world. The animals are exhibited in natural settings, surrounded by botanical plantings. Among the exhibits are Bengal tigers, Cotton top tamarins, American alligators, Grizzly bear, Grey kangaroos, Ring-tailed lemurs, River otters, Bald eagles, and more.

Some of the other zoo highlights are the education Rotary Castle and the Discovery Center that exhibits some of the cold-blooded creatures including lizards, snakes, and frogs. The Australian Adventure which is a walk through aviary featuring over 200 colorful free flying parakeets and the Red barn exhibit housing the miniature horses, donkeys, pigs, zebu and goats. The zoo also has many unique historical WPA walkways and buildings, including the 70 foot tall observation tower.

Barker Mansion and Civic Center

Barker Mansion is the former residence of local millionaire-industrialist, John H. Barker, who built the Haskell & Barker Railroad Car Company, which later became Pullman-Standard. The mansion was built in 1857, and shortly after the elaborate 38 room structure was finished, both Mr. and Mrs. Barker passed away, leaving the mansion and the Barker fortune to their only child, Catherine, who later donated the structure to Michigan City. The building is now a lasting tribute to Barker's philanthropy and is open to the public for tours. A tour of the mansion and grounds makes for a fascinating study in "gracious living." It is typical of turn-of-the-century opulence and features rare woods and marble, beautiful one-of-a-kind tapestries, impressive collections of books and paintings, and a third-story ballroom where the Barkers entertained in royal fashion.

The architecture is modeled after the stately English manors of the Victorian Era. The rich furnishings, almost all original, were imported from Europe and the rest of the world. The drawing room features a hand carved marble fireplace and ceiling of molded plaster in baroque design. Silver-plated bronze torches and a white limestone fireplace invite one into the foyer of the mansion. The walnut table in the formal dining room has a beautifully carved pedestal base ornamented with cherubs, each one a unique "winged child." Throughout the mansion, the discerning visitor is intrigued by the repetition of lions, winged women, cherubs, and garlands worked in various mediums. Much of the decor consists of authentic Barker family artifacts, including furnishings and art objects, family portraits, library collections, and personal belongings. Outside, an elaborate sunken garden hosts a bronze equatorial sun dial, a tea house complete with leaded-glass globes, and a 19th Century Italian statue of "The Three Graces"; these delightful elements combine to make the courtyard and perennial garden an especially unique setting for weddings.

If the visitor is lucky enough to be in LaPorte County around the holiday season, he or she can experience the splendor of a Barker Christmas! In December, all three floors are bedecked with Christmas decor of the Victorian period. It is a magical sight for children and adults. Barker Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Barker Mansion is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Depot of Beverly Shores

Museum and art gallery housed in the historic South Shore Line Passenger Depot.

Located at the train station, this tiny, pink stucco museum pays homage to the town's history and groundbreaking architecture. While you're waiting for your train, check out the intimate gallery-an ever-rotating display of paintings, drawings, sculpture, ceramics, wood- carving and fiber art.

Ogden Gardens Park

Ogden Gardens is a 4-acre floral display area that continues to delight visitors and residents alike. It is located at Campbell Street and Harrison Boulevard, about 3/4 mile north of Lincolnway. The gardens feature annuals, perennials, rose gardens, shrub beds, and many varieties of trees.

Japanese Garden

Ogden Gardens boasts a Japanese Garden, which opened to the public in May 2005. Included in the garden are trails, streams, bridges, ponds, and a tea house, where visitors can enjoy the koi fish swimming in the pond.

Gazebo In the center of the park is a wood gazebo, which can be reserved in two-hour increments for weddings, photo sessions, baptisms, and even special candlelight dinners. A brick plaza surrounds the gazebo, with brick pathways leading from the gazebo plaza both east and north. The bricks can be engraved with a family name, record a special date, or honor memories of friends and family members.