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Gem Below the Bluff: Silver Beach Center

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Ever wonder what that building below the bluff with the living roof and circular structure is? It’s none other than The Silver Beach Center. The Center is home to three non-profit organizations: The Silver Beach Carousel, The Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone, and The Shadowland Ballroom. This family friendly building opened in 2010 and has allowed thousands of families from across the globe to make cherished memories. The Center is also home to Michigan’s largest Kaleidoscope that spins beautiful patterns that young and old alike love to watch. But what makes each of the non-profits unique?

The Silver Beach Carousel

Carousel ceiling

Back in the day, Silver Beach was the place to go for family fun with the Silver Beach Amusement Park located right on the beach. The original carousel ran from 1910 until the park closed in 1971. In 1997 some members of the St. Joseph community became interested in restoring the original carousel to its former glory and formed the Silver Beach Carousel Society, Inc.  Unfortunately the original carousel was sold to a company in Washington State before the Society could secure a location and funding for the project. Switching gears, the Carousel Society decided to build a brand new carousel with 6 horses carved to be identical to horses on the original. The new carousel has a total of 48 hand-carved figurines and 2 chariots. Across the top of the carousel are 18 rounding Carousel 2boards showing a different historical theme of St. Joseph. The Silver Beach Carousel prides itself on being a family destination open year-round and creating #spinningsmiles.  Satisfy your taste buds with delicious homemade popcorn and hand spun cotton candy. Don’t forget to stop by the Brass Ring Gift Shop for unique souvenirs to remember your trip for years to come. For seasonal hours, pricing, and more information on the Silver Beach Carousel visit their website at

Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone

Lighthouse Climbing Tower

As an extension of the Curious Kids Museum located on the bluff, the Discovery Zone is geared for older kids ages 3-12. Featuring tons of hands-on exhibits both inside and out, DZ is a wonder filled space for kiddos to learn and explore. Utilizing the theme of having the beach nearby, there are many exhibits that highlight the benefits Lake Michigan brings to us. There are water tables, a wave table, a water power tower and much more. There is also a climbing wall and a Lighthouse climbing tower to stretch those legs and arms and get that energy out. Another fun feature is the ever-changing Gast Traveling Exhibit. This interactive wonder changes periodically throughout the year with new and exciting themes such as Wild Wild West, Dinosaurs, Harley Davidson and most recently Da Vinci. Da Vinci is unique in that it’s been curated by the Curious Kids’ Museum itself and Water Roomonce it’s time is done at the Discovery Zone, it will travel across the country to visit other children’s museums nationwide. One more great feature about DZ is their green roof. The first living roof in St. Joseph, this structure improves the air quality, manages storm water run-off, and is energy efficient for lowering utility bills. Using perennials in hues of pinks, greens, and reds, when the roof is in full bloom it grows to look like a beautiful meadow and catches visitors’ eye on the bluff to make them curious about what’s below the bluff. DZ is great for birthday parties and school groups! For more information about the Curious Kids’ Discovery Zone, visit their website at

Shadowland Ballroom


Shadowland Ballroom is the perfect place to host any event under the sun. Able to hold a capacity of 300 or an intimate gathering of 50, Shadowland offers many services to make your event unique and memorable. With an in-house chef and possession of its own liquor licensing, the ballroom is a full-service venue for weddings, business meetings, holiday parties and other special events. Just over 600 feet away is access to the beach and pier and from the windows of the Sunset Room there is a 11002670_1108911932467592_116795497983575214_opicture perfect view of the Whirlpool Compass Fountain. The Shadowland Ballroom also hosts a couple of events for the community each year. In conjunction with St. Joseph’s Magical Ice Fest Weekend in February, Waikiki Weekend takes place down at the Center and the ballroom hosts the Fire and Ice Party complete with hula/fire dancers, martini ice luges, and live music. In October Shadowland sponsors the Little Black Dress party to raise funds for the Susan G. Komen Fight for the Cure and the Marie Yeager Cancer Center. It’s a great night for the girls to get dolled up in their LBD’s and have a great time raising money for two fantastic causes. For more information on booking the Shadowland Ballroom, email Executive Director Nicole Beltz at

The Silver Beach Center has become an asset to the community of St. Joseph.  There is no end to what can be said about the building or the three non-profits it houses. Next time you are in St. Joseph don’t forget to stop by and Make a Memory at the Silver Beach Center.


Photo Credits:

Photo of Center: Josh Nowicki

Photos of Carousel and Ballroom: Jennifer Mayo

Photos of Discovery Zone: DZ Staff

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