The Visitor’s Center at For-Mar offers an interactive opportunity to learn about the animals in and around our region. Curious about what swans eat? Want to see what a grey wolf looks like? Come in before or after exploring our trails to get up close and learn all about honey bees, bobcats, snakes, turtles and more. The Visitor’s Center is a perfect stop for kids to have some fun and learn something new.

The Visitor’s Center is home to a variety of live animals that visitors can interact with – from Al the albino garter snake to Rosie the box turtle, For-Mar’s rock stars are waiting to greet you.  Free of charge – Check out snow shoes, yoga mats and walking sticks or utilize Discovery Backpacks to make your next hiking adventure more meaningful. Each backpack is tailored to a different activity:

  • Michigan Naturalist Backpack – For the family interested in everything. This backpack features pocket guides for trees, plants, mammals and birds, as well as binoculars, activity sheets and checklists.
  • Basic Birding Backpack – Learn how to identify the birds of Michigan with this backpack filled with adult and child sized binoculars, beginner’s guides, an electronic bird song identifier, activity sheets and checklists.
  • Insect Investigator Backpack – This backpack contains a magnifying jar, a port-a-bug barn, pond net, easy to use identification guides, activity sheets and checklists.
  • Active Living Backpack – This backpack contains a pedometer to track your steps, and everything you need to be active on the trails.
  • Winter Backpack – Our newest backpack contains binoculars, winter field guides, winter activity books and a reminder to   always have water available when hiking.

The Visitor’s Center can also be reserved for variety of events.

  • To celebrate your child’s next birthday click here
  • To learn more about holding your next business meeting in one of our conference rooms at For-Mar Forbes & Martha Merkley Visitor Center click here


If you’re looking for a unique gift, come by Nature’s Nook in the Visitor’s Center. Find field guides, educational toys and tools or stuffed animals for your little ones. At Nature’s Nook, you’ll be sure to find something to remember your visit. Open 7 days a week from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm.