A Trip to COG

From practicing your knot tying on the sailboat railings to investigating snake skin under the microscope, it is our goal for you to spend some time in awe and wonder! May you come to explore this place and leave inspired to investigate the many facets of the world around you!

  • Affordable Fun For the Whole Family

    Just $5 each person/day or purchase a family membership to last the whole year starting at $55

  • Hands-On Experience

    Build. Hold. Puzzle. Make. Innovate. Feel. Play!

  • Variety of Interests

    Different Exhibit areas and levels of interaction gives everyone something to discover.

  • growing minds

    Help COGNiTiON take root your minds and in this community! By visiting us you join the adventure of our vision to fill a bigger building with inspiring exhibits that reflect the unique interests and inspirations of Northern Michigan


Live! Natural Science

Visit Quillow the hedgehog, see a fruit fly life cycle unfold, and investigate little carnivorous plants. In this station we’ll look at different aspects of life and nature close up–even at a microscopic level.

Gears, Circuits and Power (oh my!)

Help build a bell, a gear box, or an entire circuit board. This station features electricity, simple machines, and other hands-on physical science projects.

Young Explorers- Set Sail

Fish from a small dock or from inside the ship that is emerging out of the floor! This exhibit features many ways to pretend, interact, and let the imagination head out to sea. From different boating props that include marine rope and knot-tying directions, to a small workshop where projects can unfold, this area is enough to give little minds lots to do.

Maker Space

Let creativity be your guide! In this space we’ll take things apart, put them together and try out different mediums and techniques to make all kinds of projects.

Computer Lab

Our computer station is being updated and we’re getting started with the Eagle Cam always running, brain games to pluck away at, and some intro to code and design programs! This will be a place where screens are used as tools and canvases as we dive deeper into programming and graphic arts!

Other Fun Stuff!

Games, Mazes, Planks, Catapult, and More! Plenty of things to do at the hight top tables or down on the floor.

See It Big: Coming soon–This large screen will be the site for unique movie nights, awe-inspiring documentaries, and interactive problem solving collaborative play.

Programs and Camps: Check our Event page for the latest  that offer more in depth explorations.

Teen Mentors: This volunteer opportunity provides a chance for empowerment, training, ownership, and community. Teens who join the team will have unique influence on and experience with things that are brought to the center, and gain valuable experience sharing knowledge with younger visitors.

As we are in our early stages, please remember that our exhibits are being added to and changed regularly! Please visit often to be a part of this ongoing adventure see things progress!

Kimberlee Wenkel

President and Co-founder

Kimberlee has a BA in Family Life Education, college and post graduate experience in fine art, over five years working for a Nonprofit, five years of experience managing volunteers, and the life experience of being the mother of four elementary school age children living in Beulah. Her career includes eight years of child education experience through helping with junior and senior high youth groups and teaching elementary grades at Bay Point Community Church. Through this volunteer involvement and Children’s Ministry position and she has gleaned from the experiences of speaking and organizing for large groups, programing small group activities, leading a team of volunteers, retreat and day camp involvement, and being an integral part of hands-on learning. Kimberlee has also gained invaluable experience and perspective from multiple human service missions within the states as well as two international projects. She is currently involved in the community as a coach for 4-H youth soccer (4 yrs.) and has coached Odyssey of the Mind for the past two years and maintains a level of adventure as she and her husband have a small backyard farm and love to camp, hike, and spend long days roaming the local beaches.

Laura Stanwick

Vice President, Sectary, and Co-founder

Laura’s career, through her BS in Occupational Therapy (using hands-on activities to facilitate and enhance function) brings multiple job experiences; from working in a private psychiatric facility and school-based POHI program, to multiple years working with Developmentally Disabled school-age and adult populations. She served on the Michigan Occupational Therapy Board of Management for many years and Chaired District OT organizations in the North Metro Detroit area and then in Northwestern Lower Michigan. Later, her career took a dramatic shift to hospital-based outpatient Hand Therapy, and then expanded during her last 10 years of practice at Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital to include general outpatient rehab and treatment of long term care residents. Post graduate work also includes courses in graphic art and design at Northwestern Michigan College, and marketing duties for a small company in Traverse City for several years. Laura is a mother of 2, grandmother of 6, and lives with her husband Roger, in Frankfort.

Do you like to go above and beyond?