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You'd probably expect to see a squirrel or two in this "Tree City USA" but how about a polar bear?
Visitors and new residents from outside of Michigan may be surprised to discover that the Detroit Zoo is actually located in Royal Oak. The 125 acre zoological park includes such exhibits as the Arctic Ring of Life, Australian Outback Adventure, and Great Apes of Harambee.
Royal Oak is a desirable location for commuters with its proximity to highways and central location in Oakland County. The downtown area is a popular destination spot for dining, shopping and people watching in Metro Detroit.
Visitors and residents enjoy dining at Café Muse (Home to a nationally-recognized grilled cheese sandwich once featured on the Oprah Winfrey show and in Esquire magazine), Sangria Tapas Café, Blackfinn American Saloon, Royal Oak Brewery, Little Tree Sushi, Red Coat Tavern (always a top contender for burgers in Metro Detroit), and Vinsetta Grill.
Downtown shoppping includes antique stores, art galleries, shoe boutiques, gourmet grocers, vintage clothing shops, and more.
Street furniture and outdoor cafes also create opportunities to connect with the downtown experience.
Royal Oak is known for having involved citizens and a proactive city government. Citizens stay active in the local community through participation with the Community Coalition, ROOTS, and the Downtown Development Authority.
Named by BusinessWeek as “one of the best places to raise kids,” Royal Oak schools are recognized as among some of the best in the area. With a high attendance rate, an exceptional fine arts program, and award-winning activities and athletics for students to participate in, it is easy to see why Royal Oak is a great place to learn.
The city provides a full year of community events including a chili-cook-off, tree lighting ceremony, Royal Oak outdoor art fair, outdoor concert series, holiday magic parade, and Memorial Day parade to name a few.
Royal Oak is most recently known for its thriving downtown and dynamic community events, but it has always been referred to as the “City of Trees.”
Early residents have described giant Beech, Oak, Ash, Maple, Hickory and Black Walnut trees covering the landscape when the city was first settled. In 1938, a committee obtained 60 acorns that were direct descendants of the royal oak tree in England, from which the City of Royal Oak derived its name. The acorns were nurtured and grown at the Detroit Zoo, and some were transplanted to Memorial Park in 1948.
For the past 20 years, the city has offered residents the opportunity to replace trees that were lost over the years to disease and other means with a tree-planting program. Many of these trees now line the streets of Royal Oak’s quiet and well-established neighborhoods.
Its commitment to tree planting and preservation has earned the City of Royal Oak the National Arbor Day Foundation distinction of "Tree City USA" every year since 1976.
Royal Oak has two nature preserves: Cummingston Park & Tenhave Woods. Each is over 20 acres in size and heavily wooded. The area is lined with trails and open to the public from dawn to dusk.
And while dogs are not allowed in the nature preserves, dog owners are encouraged to take their four-legged friends to one of several designated dog parks.
Other city amenities include the John Lindell Ice Arena, the Royal Oak Public Library, a Farmer’s Market, the Royal Oak Music Theater, and Stagecrafters Baldwin Theater.
There are so many reasons to consider putting down roots in Royal Oak!