Guns Across the Straits

Guns Across the Straits

What better way to wind down your day in the Straits of Mackinac than by firing off Michilimackinac’s weapons? Imagine it – you step into Colonial Michilimackinac and, as you make your way to the palisade walls, you find that it’s emptying out and you have the place to yourself. From there, you fire all four of the black powder weapons used at Michilimackinac – the Short Land Musket, Wall Gun (a BIG musket), Coehorn Mortar, and, as the finale, the cannon. 

For $200 ($150 for Mackinac Associates (excluding Heritage Level)), you get the opportunity to learn about these four weapons and take a turn at firing each one. This experience also includes two tickets to Colonial Michilimackinac. This special experience is available for one person every day at fort closing (4:30 p.m. or 6:30 p.m. depending on season), May 10-October 5.

On the shore of Lake Michigan, outside the palisade walls of Colonial Michilimackinac, with the mighty Mackinac Bridge in the distance, you can take your turn with
Guns Across the Straits!

We are taking reservations for the 2023 season!

Reservations can be made Monday-Friday, 8:00 – 5:00. Call 231-436-4100 to reserve your spot at least 48 hours in advance.

Must be at least 13 years of age. One experience sold per day. Any guests to watch the experience are required to have valid park admission. Blackout dates apply.

Watch the video below for a preview of what you’ll fire during this experience!

The Fort Mackinac cannon being fired.

Fire the Cannon

Imagine yourself standing next to the iconic Fort Mackinac cannon. Mackinac Island’s downtown unfolds below you, just starting to come to life. Off in the distance you see a ferry coming across the lake and the majestic Mackinac Bridge on the horizon. You hear the bugle call out reveille, and the Fort Mackinac soldier gives you the signal. Finally, YOU fire the first cannon volley of the day at Fort Mackinac.

For only $75 ($50 for Mackinac Associates (excluding Heritage Level)), you can FIRE the iconic Fort Mackinac cannon. This special experience is available for one person every morning for the first cannon firing (8:45 a.m. May 4-June 3, 9:15 a.m. June 4-October 8, 10:45 a.m. October 9-October 22) through October 22.

Soldier and Young Girl Loading Cannon Fort Mackinac

Atop a bluff, 150 feet above the park below, you can prep and fire the iconic
Fort Mackinac cannon!

Call 906-847-3328 to reserve your spot at least 48 hours in advance.

Now accepting reservations for the 2022 season!

Must be at least 13 years of age. Cost includes admission to the fort for the day for one person. Other members of the party must pay individual regular site admission.

Click here to read more about the Cannon Firing Procedures and Download and Print your Waiver of Liability. 


Fun for All Ages

Fun for All Ages

Discover History

Holding Cannonball

Your kids will certainly remember the cannon firing at Fort Mackinac.

The rich history of Mackinac, Michigan, and our country is presented throughout the historic sites and museums that make up Mackinac State Historic Parks. Kids will see what they learned in the classroom vividly brought to life, while the older members of your party will get a chance to feel like a kid again!

Experience the American Revolution from the British side. As you enter Colonial Michilimackinac, you’re stepping back in time to 1777, as the British prepared to end the American Revolution with a decisive blow. Across the park, move forward in time to 1910, as Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, was a shining beacon to ships on the Great Lakes. Learn how lighthouses work and find out how and why ships sank. In depth medical history is featured at the Dr. Beaumont Museum at Historic Downtown Mackinac, and explore the life of Agatha Biddle and the Anishnaabek people at the 1830s Biddle House on Market Street. Up at Fort Mackinac, the “Military Medicine” exhibit will show you why you should be happy to live in the era you do! Also, kids will be able to get up close with history at the Kids’ Quarters, an exhibit dedicated strictly to kids!

Live Demonstrations

Sawmill Interpretation

Feel the sawmill come to life as water is harnessed to cut timber into lumber at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park.

The sights and sounds of history fill up our sites, providing a lesson you do not even know you are having! At Fort Mackinac, get up-close and personal as the cannon is fired off over the harbor, then cover your ears on the Parade Ground as authentic 1880s rifles are fired. At the Biddle House chat with interpreters as they cook authentic 1830s recipes over a hearth fire. Hear the clang of the anvil fill up Market Street at the Benjamin Blacksmith Shop.

Over in Mackinaw City, step onto the shore of Lake Michigan at Colonial Michilimackinac and feel the tremble as the cannon or mortar are fired. Inside, learn how British soldiers fired their musket and watch the various civilians of the community – Native Americans, voyageurs, merchants, women, the working blacksmith – cook, do laundry, work with textiles, tend to the gardens, and more! At Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse the lighthouse keeper or keeper’s wife will take you up the tower on a guided tour, or show you how the Fog Signal Whistle worked. Experience the pit saw method of cutting lumber (and possibly be chosen to work!) then venture over to the water-powered sawmill at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park to feel the power of water harnessed to cut timber into lumber.


Fun for the Kids

Our historic sites provide a fun, educational experience in a variety of ways for all of the members of your family. Fort Mackinac features the Kids’ Quarters, an interactive play space that allows you to see, hear and even smell history. Other fun exhibits can be found in the Post Hospital, Office, Guardhouse, North Blockhouse, and in the upstairs of the Soldier’s Barracks. Additionally, soldiers and Victorian Women are located throughout the fort.

Colonial Michilimackinac has exciting exhibits can be found in the Soldier’s Barracks, Commanding Office’s House, the Treasures from the Sand exhibit, the France at Mackinac exhibit, and in the Powder Magazine. Additionally, all members of your family will enjoy the walk around the palisade walls.

The groomed and guided trails at Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park will exercise your bodies and mind while taking a leisurely trip through the forest. The Sounds of the Forest exhibit on the nature trail lets you hear nature in a new way, and the Forest Friends Play Area allow our smallest visitors a chance to experience nature in their own way. Don’t miss the high-flying thrill of the Adventure Tour!

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse has a new exhibit dedicated to the science and technology of lighthouses, where you can see and feel how light and sound work! You can also build your own lighthouse and see how a kid in 1910 lived!