Looking for a fun, quirky place to spend an afternoon? A place that is sure to delight everyone who walks or drives through it? A place where the kids can run free, climbing and racing their way along whimsical paths sure to spark the imagination?
Then perhaps Lakenenland Junkyard Art Park should be on your next vacation to-do list!
What Is Junk Yard Art?
Simply put, it’s the creation of art utilizing various types of scraps left behind by human progress. It’s the stuff that you or I might think is garbage, it’s useful life spent. In the eyes of a junk yard artist, it’s a vision of something else. Of something to be re-purposed, an item that is given a new life as it it is reshaped into a work of art.
Or at least the artist’s interpretation of art, which of course is subjective. And perhaps I don’t have an artist’s eye, but I sure do think Lakenenland fits the title of junk yard art extraordinaire. It’s whimsical creations will delight both kids and kids at heart.
What Is Lakenenland Junk Yard Art Park?
Lakenenland Junk Yard Art Park is the brain-child of talented welder and artist, Tom Lakenenland, who has single handedly created over sixty plus life-size, and beyond life-size, metallic art sculptures.
With the use of his welding skills, creative brainpower, left-over metallic scraps, and a few – ok, maybe more like lots – of cans of paint, Tom has created a fun-filled art park that anyone can navigate. Really. Anyone! That’s one of the beauties of this park.
The park is accessible either by foot or by vehicle. Walking not for you? Then drive through the park. You’ll still be able to see his artful creations. Just watch for darting kids racing from one sculpture to the next, please!
Got rambunctious kids? Set them free and let them run the road around the park. First up is a family favorite, The Scales of Justice. See who weighs more – see who’ll fall off first! Yes, this scale really does move up and down just as a scale should.
Another awesome feature of the park? You are allowed to climb on these art sculptures. How cool is that! Imagine yourself going for a “spin” on The Shot Point Snowmobile. Or taking a photo of the kids as they do!
Seeing Pink Elephants? No, not really. Oh wait, yes you are! Another fun photo op and kids’ favorite. Just be careful – that seat on top is pretty small. Wouldn’t want you getting stuck in it. Not that I ever did. Ok, maybe I did.
A Best Deal – Lakenenland Sculture Park Is Free!
Yep, all this fab fun is yours for free. Nada. Zilch. Yes, you read that correctly, there’s no entrance fee. All you need to do is get yourself to the park. Hey, there’s even access via a snowmobile trail along the adjacent railroad tracks!
Lakenenland is open to the public seven days a week. So go on and stop on by. And if you enjoy the visit, consider making a small donation to Tom, thanking him for all his efforts.
Where is Lakenenland JunkYard Art Park?
It’s just outside of Marquette Michigan, on Highway M-28, across from Shot Point Road. And where exactly is that? In the middle of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s also not the easiest to spot. Believe me, I’ve been there multiple times and have driven by on several occasions.
If heading east on M-28 (out of Marquette), when you see the Lake Superior scenic turnout on the left, and the Gitchee Gumie RV park on the right, you’ll know that Lakenenland is about two to three miles away, fast approaching on the right.
Lakenenland = Good Family Fun For All
Lakenenland is a fun family activity that’s easy on the wallet. Hey, you don’t have to just take my word for it, though. Check out what TripAdvisor reviewers say about Lakenenland Junk Yard Art Park. Seventy three out of seventy four reviews ranked it as either very good or excellent. Now that’s hard to top.
Ok, one more photo for your viewing pleasure. Kids will be kids. Let them loose in Lakenenland Junkyard Art Park, and you just never know what might transpire!
Lakenenland JunkYard Art Park is a local hidden treasure that maybe is not so hidden any more. What else is there to do in the area? Well, you’ll just have to stay tuned. There’ll be more on that in future posts. Upper Michigan is one of my most treasured places to visit.
Are you inspired? Ready to create your very own junkyard art? Have you been to Lakenenland or other similar art parks? Share with us in the Comments section below.
Just a quick note to let you know I am off for the week, enjoying a little R&R with the family, and I won’t be checking much. Have a great week, and I’ll see you on the other side of my week off.
All images from C.Biederman. Map from Mapquest.