Some offbeat activities in Door County
By Donna Marie Pocius
Special to DoorCountyNavigator.com
While Door County is an arts lover’s paradise, it also has a lot to offer to people who seek offbeat activities.
Take, for example, zip line tours. Gravity Trails has offered zip line and kayak tours since 2008. The activity recreational center, located at 1041 County Rd. ZZ, Ellison Bay, just put up its fourth zip line and recently adding gem mining to its activities (read on for more on finding gems in Door County).
A zip line tour is a blend of activities: biking, rock wall climbing and zip lining near wetlands and sand dunes.
Participants bike about a quarter of a mile into the woods, where the zip lines are located. They climb a wall, with assist by a rope, until arriving on top of a platform and up near the trees. Then, people zip back down to the ground and subsequently bike back to the starting point of the tour.
The entire tour, which takes about an hour, is available to people who are “willing to accept the challenge,” according to Michael Fischer, co-owner of Gravity Trails.
“Our activities are designed for people of all ages who want to see Door County for its true beauty,” he added.
As for kayak tours, Gravity Trails offers them in a pristine surroundings and on calm waters. People paddle into the Mink River Estuary, one of two protected estuaries on the Great Lakes, owned by the Nature Conservancy.
Each kayak tour is preceded by a half-hour paddle lesson. Fischer said many first-time and beginner kayakers take part in the tours. And by the way, paddling a kayak ”takes a lot more energy than people think,“ Fischer said.
Tours are guided by an individual who circles the group of kayakers and also shares information about Door County nature. “The great thing about our tours is that our guides are so knowledgeable about the area and the environment. And they are friendly. It makes the tours special,” Fischer added.
The newest offering from Fischer and David Rack, co-owner, Gravity Trails, is gem mining. Participants purchase one of four sizes of buckets and then go hunting for gems in a 16-foot mining flume at Gravity Trails.
“It’s a real fun activity especially for younger kids,” Fischer said.
Another kayaking option is Bay Shore Outfitters which is not only a fabulous active wear and outdoor gear shop (with backpacks, kayaks, paddles and the best equipment), they also run terrific kayaking tours, including a “Coastal Tour,” a “Sunset Tour,” “A Family Fun Tour,” and even “A Cave Point Tour.” Terrific guides who have been doing this a long time, bringing lots of joy to Door County travelers! Check out Bay Shore Outfitters!
Another Door County activity—also perfect for children and involving buckets--is cherry picking.
Some people are worried about the effects of an unusually warm March on the 2012 cherry crop. Come see for yourself at HyLine Orchard, 8240 Hwy. 42, Fish Creek, where you can pick your own cherries on this family-owned orchard.
“We have the old metal cherry pails; some of them have been used for 100 years,” said Loretta Robertoy, co-owner.
Zoos for Kids!
Another place ripe with activities for the family is The Farm, four miles north of Sturgeon Bay on Hwy. 57. This family-owned business presents rural life and history. Kids can meet cows, horses, goats, lambs, peacocks, rabbits and kittens.
Buy a bottle of goat’s milk or a pack of corn in the milk house. A self-guided path circles the cow pasture and takes people past wooded hiking trails and a pond swimming with ducks and geese. Go inside the vintage log building and machine shed, which have museum exhibits inside.
Also, the Sugar Shack shares information about how syrup is made. The Farm traditionally opens Memorial Day weekend. Many other businesses in Door County are opening the first weekend of May.
Similar to this zoo, is Plum Loco Animal Farm in Egg Harbor – another very nice find for kids of all ages!
Check out other activities and content on DoorCountyNavigator.com to learn more.