Welcome to the Discovery Center and the Discovery Pier!

       The Watershed CenterMaritime Heritage AllianceTraverse Area Community SailingGreat Lakes Children's Museumisea_logovert_up1Traverse Tall Ship Company

Discovery Center~Great Lakes is the shared home of five of the region’s dynamic and important nonprofit organizations: the Maritime Heritage Alliance, the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay, and the Great Lakes Children’s Museum, and is the future home of a sailing program directed by Traverse Area Community Sailing, as well as upcoming expanded program offerings by the Inland Seas Education Association.

The Traverse Tall Ship Company operates on the Discovery Center campus as an affiliate business partner, launching its sailing adventures aboard the 114-foot schooner Manitou from the Discovery Pier. For more information about cruises on the Manitou, visit the Traverse Tall Ship website.

  • The Maritime Heritage Alliance supports an active workshop for historic boat building as well as a sailing mentoring program for at-risk youth and charter cruises aboard the cutter Champion.
  • The eco-friendly offices of the Watershed Center Grand Traverse Bay offer information on how to get involved with watershed protection including the Adopt-a-Stream program and volunteer water quality monitoring in the Grand Traverse Bay area.
  • The Great Lakes Children’s Museum, serves 30,000 visitors each year, with two galleries of hands-on, interactive water-related exhibits for children and their families and caregivers. The Museum also offers various special programs and school study trips throughout the year.
  • Traverse Area Community Sailing has future plans to use the Bayfront for intermediate sailing instruction. Currently they offer beginning sailing instruction for youth ages 8-17 and adults on Boardman Lake.
  • Inland Seas Education Association joined the Discovery Center in 2014 and seeks to “inspire Great Lakes curiosity, stewardship, and passion in people of all ages.” Their schooner Utopia is berthed at the Pier.


Together, the member organizations are working to make the Discovery Center ~ Great Lakes a valuable community resource and a preeminent cultural, recreational and educational attraction. We are creating a place that will awaken a sense of wonder in people of all ages by encouraging understanding and stewardship of Grand Traverse Bay.