Nature and Tranquility Can be Found in Two Secret Lansing Hideaways

Some are familiar with two of these best-kept secrets in the 517.

Every area has a few hidden gems — places that serve as alcoves for peaceful reflection and to draw our bonds closer to nature and one another.

Some are familiar with two of these best-kept secrets in the 517. They are places where if you know, you know. And if you don’t know, you should — and are about to.

The first is an area on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing that is a wonderful landing place for observing nature in and around the Red Cedar River. The picturesque landscape is a tranquil oasis where you can escape into peaceful wonderment. Near Wells Hall, in the shadow of Spartan Stadium, there’s a spot where you can get close to the Red Cedar River and watch rapids flow under a canopy of trees. Some of the braver ducks may walk up to you asking for a snack.

The second locale is the Tollgate Wetlands in Lansing. The constructed wetland pond off Wood Street and across from Groesbeck Golf Course is probably one of the city’s lesser-known hideaways. It is a man-made ecosystem that captures nonpoint source pollution from the surrounding neighborhood. That’s a fancy way of saying it’s something that was built to filter the bad stuff out of the water before it seeps back into the ground. What that means for you is that you can take a leisurely stroll in a wooded wetland area. You may see wildlife walking around or in the air. There are clearly defined walking paths and benches dotted throughout the space. Nothing like being able to lose yourself amid nature in the middle of a city.

Oftentimes a romantic scene is shown to be rolling vistas, seascapes or exotic locations. Snow and romance are rarely thought to go together. However, the 517 is in the middle of the Mitten. It would be helpful to find some spaces that you and your special someone could explore that would combine the two. Snow brings a different level of peace to the air that encourages thoughtful reflection. And a cool breeze is an extra excuse to hold someone close.

A few words of advice

Don’t feed our feathered friends bread

  • Bread is pretty much junk food for birds.
  • Without the plant nutrients they need to grow properly, baby birds are more likely to be malnourished.
  • The constant availability of human-supplied junk food keeps ducklings from learning how to forage healthy food for themselves.
  • Grown-up birds who gorge on carbs are more likely to become unhealthy.
  • Rotting bread can grow mold that makes ducks sick and contribute to the growth of algae. This, in turn, attracts vermin that spread diseases to birds as well as humans.


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