Formerly called County Park, Historic Bridge Park in Battle Creek, MI, doubles as a park and open-air museum. It’s the first of its kind in the United States as the restored truss bridges connect a series of trails throughout the park.
About Historic Bridge Park
At more than 26 acres, Historic Bridge Park rests along Dickinson Creek and the Kalamazoo River, and you can see it from Interstate 94 as the highway passes over the river. It’s where five metal truss bridges — that are insufficient for their original purpose — were moved to and meticulously preserved for their beauty and historic value.
The goal of the restoration effort was to maintain as much of the original materials as possible. For what couldn’t be preserved, exact replicas were replaced. There’s a historic stone tunnel bridge underneath the railroad that passes through the park too.
The restored bridges act as part of the pedestrian paths and as hands-on exhibits of transportation history and the fabrication of steel and cast iron in Michigan. Also, the park is the trailhead for the Calhoun County Trailway.
In addition to biking, hiking, and walking the paths, Historic Bridge Park is a great place to go boating, have a picnic, and observe the various wildlife. There’s a playground for kids, handicap accessible canoe and kayak launch, handicap-friendly picnic tables, grills, restrooms, and interpretive signs. Many of these amenities were either added or upgraded following the park reopening in 2012 after an oil spill.
Other Places to Explore Near Historic Bridge Park
Battle Creek and other parts of Calhoun County offer a variety of things to do and attractions to see. At Binder Park Zoo, you can see more than 50 different animals — from African lions to white cockatoos. In Wild Africa at the zoo, there’s a giraffe experience where you can meet and hand-feed the lanky creatures from the Twiga Overlook. The zoo has a carousel and offers rides on the Z.O. & O. Railroad as well.
If you want more time with reptiles, the Critchlow Alligator Sanctuary in Athens is home to hundreds. You’ll see alligators, crocodiles, turtles, and more. During an animal encounter, you get a hands-on experience and your picture taken with the animal.
Celebrating magic, the American Museum of Magic in Marshall is home to the biggest collection of magical treasures that the public can view. There are thousands of artifacts related to Houdini, Thurston, Blackstone, and other infamous magicians.
Where to Eat in Battle Creek
Lucky Rooster is just a short drive from Historic Bridge Park is a local favorite for homemade pasta, handmade cocktails, and locally sourced Italian cuisine.
With a diverse, authentic menu of ramen, Umami Ramen is devoted to creating unique dishes with rich flavors inspired by Asia, India, Africa, and the Caribbean. The restaurant even makes its own broths and sauces from scratch.
For something sweet or a pick-me-up during the day, Pennfield Ice Cream & Coffee Shop has you covered. It serves gourmet ice cream, baked goods, housemade soup, and espresso specialties.
Battle Creek Lodging Options Near Historic Bridge Park
There are several places to stay in Battle Creek, whether you’re looking for a hotel, bed and breakfast, or vacation rental:
Calhoun County is also home to a few wonderful places to camp for a night or spend a few days. If you’re looking to camp when you visit Historic Bridge Park, check out these campgrounds: