Wednesday, June 22, 2011

What NOT To Do In Mackinaw...

Now that we are home from Mackinaw City (and, by the way, wishing we were back up there again already!), I have a bit more insight to some of the things we had planned to do, or things I recommended.

First Up:

The Haunted Theater on Mackinac Island

The cost was the advertised price of $5.00 per person. The advertised opening time was 11am. We finally saw someone opening up shop at 11:30am. We heard from a few people that they often open late, and some days, by an hour or more past the scheduled opening time.

One thing that irked me- it's cash only, and says it NO where. The website, the window, the brochures... nothing warned us that we needed cash only to enter. That was an annoyance, as we were on a small island, with no access to a bank. Luckily, my husband had some cash tucked away, because I had only brought $20 cash with us, as I figured the only time we might need it was for snacks.

The actual theater was not great. Not bad- but it was on par with the out dated, cheap set up you find with traveling carnivals. There was very little interactions. Most of the theater relied on scenes of "horror" that were built at least 20+ years ago.

All and all, when you consider the lack of a concrete opening time, the lack of forewarning that they only take cash, and the lack luster overall experience inside? I do not recommend this place at all. It's scarier looking on the front steps than it is inside the theater- which, by the way, is not set up to look like a theater in any way, shape, or form.

End grade? D

Suggestions to the Haunted Theater? Show up on time, or change your opening time. During the off season, do a rehaul on your set up. Get new sets, change it around. Theme it towards the whole "Theater" concept you use for a name. Get people involved- there was very minimal people interaction. During the time when she was interacting, no one was able to pay to come in because she was the only person working.

The Weird Michigan Wax Museum in St. Ignace

The biggest disappointment here is that they, too, are lax in their posted hours. Namely, they were supposed to re-open for the tourist season in Mid-May and just never did. We were meeting some people there, and when we pulled in, there were 3 cars there. It never crossed my mind that with cars in the parking lot, that it might be closed. When I noticed the OPEN sign wasn't lit, I figured with cars parked, it would be opening soon.

No, upon closer inspection, we saw a sign that read, "Closed for the season". Upon further inspection, one of the vehicles in the parking lot had a rear window smashed out. We did not inspect it any closer to see if things were missing inside of it. There was even a van emblazoned with the Weird Michigan Wax Museum logo all over it in the parking lot.

Now, if you are just not able to re-open, you really should take the website down, or update it to say when you WILL be open. Or, if you will NOT be reopening your doors. We noticed everything inside was covered in plastic, but it was still full of souvenirs to purchase- when ever your doors finally open.

End Grade: E

Suggestions to Weird Michigan Wax Museum: Update your website, & get your location open again, because you are missing out on prime tourist season in Mackinaw.

Maze of Mirrors 3D in Mackinaw City (Might also be called House of Glass??)
(note- there is one on the island as well, which is apparently larger, but this one has to do specifically with the one in MC)

This one wasn't bad, actually, but again- minor annoyances that I felt should be shared. I didn't know it was there at all, until we stumbled on it. When we did, there was a note in the door: "Back soon!" All right, no problem. We shopped around for almost 30 minutes, and swung back by. The note was still firmly in place, so we left.

On our second outing to the area (it's located in Mackinaw Crossings, an outdoor, old time village feeling shopping center), I noticed the sign again- it was in a different spot, but still on the door. I checked back about 15 minutes later- still there. We did more shopping, checked back again maybe 30 minutes later- still there. We gave up.

On our last day, we stopped by the center just to grab 1 specific thing, and low and behold- it was open! I dragged the family over before they had a chance to shut down for "a few minutes".

The 'maze' is extremely small, and makes more use of clear panels than mirrors, which made it really easy to navigate. I have done a mirror maze before, and it was a LOT better than this one.

For the $5.00 per person, it wasn't a bad time, but with the constant closed during business hours annoyance, and the short time it took to get through it, it is debatable on whether or not I would spring to do it again any time soon.

End Grade: C-

Suggestions to the Maze: First off, be professional, and be open during your posted times. If it's a matter of running to the bathroom for 5 minutes, sure, close the door. But being gone for extended periods of time during your open hours, and doing it several times in 1 week is just inexcusable. I would also recommend enlargeable your maze, and adding more mirror panels, and removing some of the clear panels.

Those were the three biggest dissappointments on our trip, because they all sounded like a lot of fun, and just were not what we hoped for.

A few other changes/minor complaints.

Curio Faire is listed as being $.50 to climb (this is a tourist stop in St. Ignace, west of town) on all tourist website info I could find (they do not have a site themselves). The sign out front said $1.00.

Totem Village in St. Ignace is listed on various sites as $5.00 per family. It was $10.00 per family. One major complaint- it's listed as a wild life zoo, but the 'cages' they keep the wild life in were deplorable. Handmade, barely held together rusted looking metal fence sections held together lord only knows how. There were some foul smells that were not attributed to animal feces. We felt so bad for the deer, that we fed them weeds- their enclosure had only hay in it, and no grass on the ground at all, just mud.

Castle Rock has gone up in price, and no longer lists ANY price on their website. It was $.50 2 years ago. It is now $1.00 per person.

Over all, though, we had a great time. The things listed above are my own thoughts and takes on the places we went. Please feel free to come up with your own thoughts!

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