For years, I’ve driven down US 12 through Michigan’s Irish Hills to play golf in Brooklyn and Jackson. One of the things I’ve always been curious about is the closed roadside attraction called the Prehistoric Forest. Yesterday, I decided to stop and snap a few photos, and while I was there I met the current owner, who is trying to sell the property.
The Prehistoric Forest dates to 1962, and consisted of a “train ride” past a couple of dozen large fiberglass prehistoric creatures. The “train” apparently was actually a tractor arrangement that followed a concrete path. There also was a cafe and a video/pinball game parlour.
The new owner says that the place only closed a couple of years ago, but in fifteen years of driving to Jackson, I’ve never seen it open.
Michigan’s Irish Hills are located in southeast Jackson and northwest Lenawee counties in southeast Michigan. The area was named for the Irish immigrants who settled there in the three decades before the Civil War. It is beautiful country, with numerous small lakes and more than a few golf courses. In years past, the Irish Hills were a resort area, with people coming down US 12 from Ann Arbor and Detroit to get away from city life. In addition to lake resorts, the area had amusements, such as a “Mystery Spot,” observation towers, a Wild West park, go carts and other and other activities.
The area also is home to the Michigan International speedway.
More photos below of the Prehistoric Forest from an August 2011 “drive-by” below: