Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

The following pit stop is submitted by Jessie Voigts of WanderingEducators.com.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, located in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is a world-class treasure. It boasts outdoor sculptures from over 30 renowned sculptors, including the DaVinci Horse, by Nina Akamu, glass works by Chihuly, and works by Goldsworthy, Degas, Rodin, Lichtenstein, Segal, di Suvero, and my favorite, Deborah Butterfield’s Cabin Creek.

DVinci-horse

Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park has something for everyone: indoor gardens (topical conservatory, Victorian garden, carnivorous and arid gardens), and a huge outdoor area. The outdoor gardens and sculpture park include the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden, a Michigan Farm Garden, different seasonal gardens, a wooded path, nature trails, a boardwalk on the river, an amphitheater, and an extensive (30+ acres!) sculpture park. Meijer Gardens holds two special events each year: Holidays around the World (in December) and Butterflies are Blooming, in the Conservatory in February/March. There are also rotating art exhibits, a library, classrooms, and guided tours.

The Children’s Garden is the most fun for families, and our daughter especially loves the Great Lakes Water Garden. It’s got all five Great Lakes outlined, and they are filled with water! You can play with boats and splash and have all sorts of fun. There is also a huge tree fort, a story telling garden, a kid-sized beaver lodge, a rock quarry where you can dig for fossils, a log cabin, a children’s sculpture walk, a labyrinth, butterfly maze, and more. Kids can spend the whole day here, or just a few hours.

childrens-garden-frederik-meier

Tip! The gardens are open all year round, and in the winter, the sculptures take on a magical quality with the enhancement of snow! Read more about the gardens, as well as view more photos, at Wandering Educators!

Date last visited: summer 2011

Distance from the interstate: a few blocks from I-96, a mile or so east of US 131

Hours of operation: M/W/Th/F/St from 9 am-5 pm, Tues from 9 am-9 pm, and Sun from 11 am-5 pm.

Admission cost: Adults 14-64 are $12, seniors and students with ID are $9, kids 5-13 are $6, kids 3-4 are $4, and kids 2 and under are free.

Accessibility: Meijer Gardens is totally barrier-free, and has ramps and smooth paths everywhere. All doors have handicap push buttons to open them. Diaper facilities are located in the restroom; family restrooms available.

Dining Options: Taste of the Gardens Café is located right inside Meijer Gardens, near the entrance. It features sculpture by Dale Chihuly, and offers a kids’ menu, entrees, and sandwiches and salads. In the summer, outdoor seating is available. If you want to eat elsewhere, Grand Rapids is full of excellent food. We love the One Stop Coney Shop, in downtown Grand Rapids (10 minutes away).

Directions: The gardens are located at 1000 East Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, Michigan. From I-96, go north on East Beltline a few blocks.

Photos courtesy of Jessie Voigts.

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