You read that correctly. I said a music garden. We discovered one on our recent trip up north. First, the reason we even went that direction...
Saturday, my family went on a little mini "Corvette Trip" as we call it. (Every year we take a "Corvette Trip" to the Upper Peninsula here in Michigan for the Corvette Show and parade across the Mackinac Bridge. See our Vettes above, belonging my brother, my dad and myself.) My sister-in-law, who is like 1000 months pregnant, won't be able to go on our usual overnight trip this year so we took a mini trip. Rain prevented us from going to Ludington as we had planned so we ended up in Boyne Falls instead.
Near there, we found the Raven Hill Discovery Center. This place is featured on 9&10 News a couple times a year for their really interesting hands-on displays.
They have some of the neatest displays I have ever seen. There is a "Periodic Room" with a Periodic Table of Elements that covers nearly an entire wall. There is an "Animal Room" where they house the animals they generously take in from people who would abandon them. No surprise, these animals are mostly reptiles and one spider.
While there are many, many other displays all worthy of mention, the display I want to focus on here is the "Music Garden."
The Music Garden is an outdoor exhibit that features several instruments. These are all playable and most are even in tune. If you know how to play, you can.
(In the back of the picture you can see the Solar House. This is an exhibit that is still being worked on. Eventually, the entire house will use solar and wind power to operate as a normal home...but that is for another post.)
Many of these I can't remember if our guide even told us a name. I know this one, to the right, makes sound when someone slides their fingers down the aluminum pipes. They have to have resin on their fingers and grip fairly hard. The sound is rather piercing.
To the left are what look a little like bells. In essence, that's what they are. When struck with the rubber mallet, they make a very similar sound. They are made from old acetylene tanks, cut down. Our guide told us that one of these tanks actually had a Nazi swastika on it.
To the right is an instrument made of PVC tubes, cut at different lengths and set in a frame. Tucked between the tubes are four flip-flops. A deep, hollow sound is produced when a flip-flop is struck against the open holes visible in front.
There is an amazing lithophone, too. It is pictured here, left. Looks like any ole xylophone, doesn't it? The difference? This instrument is stone instead of wood, hence LITHOphone instead of XYLOphone.
This is another percussion instrument on the right. When struck with two rubber mallets, the droning sound reverberated through the ground. I even have a video of this in action below. The two women playing it are not musicians, just having fun. :o)
For contact info, available activities and directions, you can visit their site at www.ravenhilldiscoverycenter.org.