With around 650,000 visitors every year, you can’t go wrong with a trip to the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. You’ll enjoy beautiful sculptures and discover tons of learning opportunities around every corner of this magnificent park. The whole family will love touring the Meijer Gardens!
If you’re from Michigan or have spent any time here, the name Meijer should be a familiar one. Meijer is a large grocery store chain throughout the Midwest and has its headquarters just minutes outside of Grand Rapids, where the Gardens and Sculpture Park is located. Fred and Lena Meijer wanted to create a place where people could observe and appreciate nature and sculptures, so they set out to build this magnificent park. It opened in 1995 after 13 years of planning. Since its opening, it has grown in both size and popularity. It's open year round and features many exhibits throughout the year that attract visitors of all ages.
At the Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, you'll find 13 different indoor and outdoor garden areas to explore! There are Japanese gardens, seasonal displays, and even a farm area. The Lena Meijer Children’s Garden holds a ton of wonder and knowledge for the kids! They can work their way through the labyrinth, climb the rock quarry, and explore the Treehouse Village! My boys love the Great Lakes Garden, where they can grab a toy boat and pretend to travel the Great Lakes in the waist-high pools of water. Kids feel right at home in this kid-sized attraction that features fun and learning for everyone!
Every spring, 7,000 tropical butterflies call this garden home. The annual Butterflies are Blooming exhibit draws the biggest crowds every year. For two months, people flock to the gardens dressed in bright colors in hopes that a passing butterfly will land on them for a great photo opportunity. Watch as new butterflies erupt from their cocoons every day in the “Butterfly Bungalow." Then head over to the caterpillar room where you can see them before they spin the cocoons and learn about the life cycle of these amazing creatures from start to finish! This is a popular field trip destinations for local schools and a great place to take visitors.
As you stroll around beautiful waterways and down lovely paths on the park’s 30 acres, you’ll see a large collection of sculptures from many famous artists. Some of these artists include Auguste Rodin, Richard Serra, Barbara Hepworth, and many more! These are inspiring sculptures that range in size, color, and features.
Between the months of June and September you can catch a concert at the amphitheater at the gardens! Seat yourself on the gorgeous terrace and take in the tunes! The Fifth Third Bank Summer Concert Series attracts big names, such as Diana Ross, The Goo Goo Dolls, Gregg Allman, and many more, and is a great way to spend a warm summer evening.
Plenty of learning opportunities can be found at these gardens! They offer their own classes and camps to educate both adults and children. Frederik Meijer Gardens also gladly welcomes school field trips to offer kids an educational trip outside the classroom. Yearly there is a Plant Show Series offered at the gardens. Different plant shows from all around come to showcase their plants for avid gardeners to observe! These are based on plant type and include orchids, dahlias, and more! If you have a specific type of flower you’re cultivating, you can check out the show for that particular flower! Once you’ve had your fill of exhibits and classes, you can head over to the Peter M. Wege library and kick back with a book. You can find tons of educational material here and it’s open to all visitors. This is a beautiful place to spend the day and counts as an educational field trip if you have a kiddo you’re road schooling! So put the boring textbooks down and go see who can get a butterfly to land on them first!