Now Open!
Waterfront Event Center
and Observatory

What is the Waterfront Event Center

  • The new facility at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City opened June 2017. 
  • The facility includes rentable interior and patio space for private events and programs. A fully licensed kitchen and ADA restrooms are available, along with a stunning indoor/outdoor fireplace and a captivating open beam ceiling.
  • An outdoor seating area is located on the Lake Michigan side of the building, and remains open to the public at all times.
  • The green roof is planted with beautiful flora, to add to the natural ambiance and environmental sensitivity of the setting.
  • The observatory is for use during public programs and is not available for private rental. 

Interior details

  • Building capacity is 278 people.
  • Capacity for comfortable tables-and-chairs seating is 120 inside and 80 on the covered patio. 5 foot round and 8 foot rectangular tables and chairs are available.
  • Square footage: Assembly area, 2,482; kitchen, 470; lobby, 908.

Site details

  • 67 parking spots are available.
  • The dome and telescopes are open to the public for scheduled programming only.
  • The facility is not open to the public on non-program nights; however, the 24-hour ADA restrooms located on the shoreline side of the building will remain open all day and night, year-round.

Rental details

  • The building is available for rental from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily, year round.
  • Rates includes the use of indoor space, outdoor patio space only, restrooms and kitchen. 
  • All events must end promptly at 10 p.m.
  • Renter is responsible for set up and tear down of chairs, tables, and equipment.
  • Reservations can be made 18 months in advance.
  • No partial rentals on Saturday
Type of Rental FEE
 Security Deposit  $300
 Partial Day + Exclusive Outdoor Seating (Sun. – Fri.)  $1,250
 Partial Day – w/o Exclusive Use of Outdoor Seating (Sun. – Fri.)  $750
 Full Day + Exclusive Use of Outdoor Seating  $2,000
 Full Day – w/o Exclusive Use of the Outdoor Seating  $1,500
 3 Hour Block – w/o Exclusive Use of Outdoor Seating (Mon. – Thurs.) $400
 Event Center Green Space at Headlands  $100
 $10 parking fee for program events as noted in the program schedule. Parking is included in the rental of the building. $10/spot

It is important to note that the Waterfront Event Center and Observatory is located within a public county park, which means the public will have access to the grounds during your event. When you reserve the building for an event, you are reserving the interior space of the facility and the covered patio, not the amphitheater-style seating area or the surrounding grounds, shoreline, forested acreage, observatory dome or 24-hour ADA restrooms.

The Guesthouse at the Headlands is also available for rent! The Guest House is a large home on the property that accommodates up to 20 guests overnight. It is rented to one renter at a time regardless of group size. It is located on the Lake Michigan shoreline about a half-mile from the Waterfront Event Center. 

Reservations

To reserve either the Waterfront Event Center and Observatory at the Headlands, or the Guest House at the Headlands, contact the caretaker at (231) 436-4051 or email your preferred dates and contact information to headlands@emmetcounty.org