Outdoor Activities in East Lansing, MI
East Lansing is a unique place to call home — a city that embodies the perfect balance of small-town charm with all the shopping, dining, cultural, and entertainment perks found in a bustling metropolitan area just east of the capital. Not only is this community home to Michigan State University, but there are also a number of fun outdoor activities in East Lansing to explore.
Potter Park Zoo
Potter Park Zoo is a must-see attraction — 20-acre zoo, 80-acre park, 500 animals, more than 100 years of history! Located in Lansing, visitors will enjoy discovering all the mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians that call this wonder home. The history goes back to the early 1900s when J.W. and Sarah Potter donated 85 acres of land to the City of Lansing, and by 1920, the first animals arrived at Potter Park Zoo — an elk, a bear, two raccoons, and deer.
Lansing River Trail
The Lansing River Trail is the perfect place for outdoor lovers! With more than 16 miles of paved trails that wind through a variety of parks, natural areas, and downtown Lansing, it’s the ideal place for walking, running, and biking enthusiasts. Stretching all the way from Waverly Road to Old Town, breathe in some fresh air while exploring tree-lined paths at any time of the year.
Legendary golfer Greg Norman said, “Happiness is a long walk with a putter.” When the weather is stellar, how about a round of happiness with friends? East Lansing has a number of courses for you to enjoy within a 20-mile radius of the city, including the Forest Akers Golf Courses located on the MSU campus that offer 18 holes, a short-game range, practice tees, a putting green, and the availability of PGA teaching professionals. If you’re looking to join a private club, check out the Country Club of Lansing founded in 1908 — a 6,697-yard, par-72 course.
Located on the river between Lansing Center and the Shiawassee Street bridge, head on over to Rotary Park for a relaxing day with sand, sun, and good vibes. The riverfront development is a popular outdoor haven full of cool things to enjoy — a plaza with a fireplace, an ADA kayak launch, a lighted forest, a beach, and more.
Gardens at MSU
Whether you have lived in East Lansing all your life or are here for an academic adventure at MSU, have you ever stopped to smell the roses at the lush gardens found throughout campus? With 14 acres devoted to annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, and more, you’re sure to enjoy a colorful, peaceful stroll while admiring nature’s best. Make sure to explore all the horticultural goodness in dedicated locations — the Michigan 4H Children’s Garden, the Amien Carter Annual Gardens, the Judith A. DeLapa Perennial Garden, the Clarence E. Lewis Landscape Arboretum, the VIP Garden (Vegetables and Insect Pollinators), and the Frank’s Nursery and Crafts Rose Garden.
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