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A Saturday outing found us at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center (TREC) in Presque Isle State Park. Science exhibits aren’t generally my thing, but I was interested in seeing this place because I’d been told by one of our neighbours that they had some great photographs of the area.

Upon entering this clean, modern building, I was immediately intrigued by the narrow, glass-enclosed towers that went to the ceiling and which had many shelves holding small, handmade, moving models each showing a different Presque Isle pastime (ice fishing, fishing, bike riding, swimming, kayaking, boating, etc.) Such charming offerings were not what I was expecting!

We spent about an hour (it is a very small place) viewing photographs and other works of local artists along with the exhibits highlighting the history, flora, and fauna of Presque Isle State Park. I was intrigued to note that they had only a small plaque on the ICE DUNES OF DEATH with a bit of information that said nothing about the dangers of them at all.

I enjoyed seeing that their view of history didn’t just include the usual dry facts spouted by most places, but also included a section on the many shipwrecks that could be found on the floor of Lake Erie right off Presque Isle and, even more, consider walking down the hallway and seeing this above….

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I was amazed that a center built to educate included a section acknowledging the local lore of Presque Isle State Park. I had to turn and read the posters on the wall….presenting, in unique fashion, some of the stories/mysteries that surround Presque Isle that we actually hadn’t heard before now.

This one is all over the place online.  Occurring in 1966, it’s not the only reported sighting of UFOs here, but it seems to be the biggest and most well-known.   This poster rather downplays it, but I read online the authorities conducted many tests for radioactivity in the area, etc. after so many reports came in.1 (4)

South Bay Bessie is, I suppose, this area’s own Loch Ness Monster.    Apparently, she’s all over Lake Erie from Pennsylvania to Michigan with multiple sightings.   This poster talks about a 1993 incident involving Bessie and a boat.1 (3)

And this giant wave supposedly took place in 1984 coming right across the sand on Beach 8.  Sounds terrifying, yes?1 (2)

All in all, this was a most enlightening outing……definitely not the trip to a science center I was expecting.  Could be some day I’ll get a picture of something even better than a beach landscape or magnificent sunset, eh?