Check Out a Museum Adventure Pass!

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Looking for some indoor fun this winter? Come to any of our branches and check out a Museum Adventure Pass! There are over 30 museums you can visit, and the passes admit 2 or 4 depending on where you're headed. Why not take a look around the corner at the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History? Exhibits include displays on prehistoric life with the most extensive dinosaur exhibits in the state of Michigan, Michigan wildlife, anthropology, geology, and a Planetarium. Have fun, learn, and stay warm all at the same time!

Winter Interpretive Nature Programs at Hudson Mills Metropark

Ah winter, the target of our arrows, the gum under our shoe, the stain we can't scrub out, the thorn in our wooly socks, how you do take fearsome ire from we who live through your months. But wait! It doesn't have to be all doom and gloom. Just getting outside can turn a furrowed brow into a cheesy smile, and there's plenty for the whole family to do out there as long as you dress warmly enough.

Every Saturday during the month of February, Hudson Mills Metropark will continue to host Winter Interpretive Nature Programs for all ages. Each weekend is a different theme, including the sonorous Bird Hike, the intriguing Better to Eat You With, and the adventurous On the Trail of the Whitetail. Preregistration is required -- phone: 800-477-3191-- and programs cost $3 per person.

March weekends at Hudson Mills will feature the programs, Journey to the Sugar Bush, a guided tour to the sugar bush where you'll learn how maple syrup has been made over the years. Some lucky guests might even get to tap a tree. There is a pancake and sausage breakfast afterward for an additional fee, and preregistration is required.

The AADL also has a range of books on sugaring and making maple syrup.

Grisly Local History: Wicked Washtenaw County

For those of you who enjoy history with a morbid twist, the AADL now offers Wicked Washtenaw County: Strange Tales of the Grisly and Unexplained. This new collection of short stories from local Ypsilanti historian James Thomas Mann offers up true tales of murder, mystery, grave robbing, scandal, etc. culled from old newspapers of our area. Mann's book is a short, quick read garnished with photos and drawings of the people and places involved. It gives a glimpse into Washtenaw's darker history, like the unsolved 1913 murder of a Chelsea woman who was strangled and found buried under a pile of cornhusks in her barn.

Historic Michigan: Author appearance Oct. 5

Here's a good book to take along if you're touring Michigan and might enjoy witnessing some of our state history: Michigan's County Courthouses, by John Fedynsky. The author -- a Ferndale lawyer and Michigan assistant attorney general -- wrote about 83 courthouses, plus the Michigan Hall of Justice. On Oct. 5 (Tuesday) from 7-8:30pm, he appears at U-M Hatcher Library, in the University of Michigan Press Author Series.

New Election Polls Out this Week

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Public Policy Polling will release new Michigan election polls at this Thursday's, Sept. 23, appearance at the Pittsfield Branch by nationally-acclaimed pollster Tom Jensen. PPP conducted polls on the race for Governor, SOS, AG, State Legislature, U.S. House and favorability ratings for federal and state elected officials. Jensen got his start right here in Ann Arbor and brings a wealth of knowledge of local and state-level politics that political junkies will appreciate as much as Daily Kos.

ArtPrize 2010

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ArtPrize turns the city of Grand Rapids (Michigan) into an art gallery for two weeks every fall. ArtPrize features over 1,700 pieces of art on display at more than 175 venues in downtown Grand Rapids, including seven main exhibition centers.

This year, the dates are September 22 - October 10. It is an international art contest solely voted on by the general public. Yes - that means YOU!. Here is how to register to vote.

As the world's largest art prize, a total of 449,000 is awarded to the top 10 artists (with $250,000 going to the 1st place winner). New this year are the juried awards.

The winner will be announced Thursday, October 7 (7:00PM EDT) among this year's entries.

Don't feel like making the 133-mile trip on your own and the hassle of parking? Michigan Radio has organized a round-trip bus tour for Sunday, Sept 26, 2010. The bus will leave Ann Arbor at 10am and return at approximately 8pm. For reservations/information: (734) 946-7021 ext. 21, or email junsworth@biancotours.com.

Michigan Weather: Why so crazy?

Many of us who have lived in Michigan for a while know the old saying, "If you don't like the weather, just wait 10 minutes and it will change." But do we know how it all happens, Michigan weather? I know I don't, which is why I'm intrigued by the author event coming up 7:30-9 p.m. Sept. 14 (Tuesday) at U-M Hatcher Library. Paul Gross, author of Extreme Michigan Weather: The Wild World of the Great Lakes State will explain our oppressive heat, harsh snowstorms, and fickle tornadoes. Gross is meteorologist and executive producer of weather at the NBC affiliate WDIV-TV in Detroit, and also consults with Michigan lawyers as a meteorology expert. His book was published by University of Michigan Press.

Bird Hills and Kuebler Langford Nature Areas

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Bird Hills Nature Area is the 161-acre wooded haven for some of the most beautiful hiking trails in Ann Arbor. It is also a well loved sanctuary for myriad creatures and plants, and it's only a mile north of the downtown area. This place is spectacular in the fall. Dozens of fellow runners and hikers explore these trails every day, though they might not know about the smaller but equally varied terrain of Kuebler Langford Park, which borders Bird Hills to the east of the Beechwood Drive entrance.

Kuebler Langford Nature Area is marked by a creek-cut ravine that runs down the middle of the park, with trails heading up either side. The trails are hard packed dirt with a few picnic areas along the way where cleared out woods make for magical little harbors. On the M-14 side of the park, the soil changes to loose sand and prairie-like vegetation, which provides a wholly different experience just a few hundred feet from the woods. You'll find plenty of hills on your hike, though none too steep to climb with an ordinary pair of running shoes or hiking boots. Enjoy!

Discover some of the other outdoor gems in Ann Arbor by checking out Riverwalks Ann Arbor, Along the Huron, or Footloose in Washtenaw, or see our Events page for the Take A Hike! events through the AADL.

Purple Rose Theatre: All new, all Michigan line-up

This week there’s an awesome chance for a sneak preview of the fall season of Purple Rose Theatre Company in Chelsea. On Tuesday Aug. 31 from 6-9 p.m. at the Downtown Library, the company will present a concert reading of ‘Best of Friends‘ -- a new world-premiere comedy by Jeff Daniels. Come watch cast members and director Guy Sanville. If you can’t make it, plan to attend 'Best of Friends' at PRT Oct. 14 - Dec. 18. And when you get a minute, check out the All New, All Michigan line-up, including three additional world premiere plays by Michigan playwrights to celebrate the 20th anniversary season of Purple Rose.

Annie's Ghosts = Memoir + Mystery + History

Steve Luxenberg, an editor at the Washington Post, wrote a fascinating 2009 book chronicling his search for Annie Cohen, his aunt hidden from family history for years in Eloise mental hospital in Detroit. The book is Annie's Ghosts: A Journey Into a Family Secret. Luxenberg grew up believing his mother was an only child, but after she died in 1999, he pursued the secret of her mildly retarded sister -- through letters, archives, and interviews. Meticulous investigative reporting gives the book spine; Luxenberg's emotional journey gives it heart. His book is dedicated "To Mom and Annie, too late to be set free; to 'the 5,000,' who still might be . . . " meaning other former Eloise residents. This book was named a Michigan Notable Book.

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