The Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids are 140 acres of art, science and pure natural beauty. With new exhibits, special events and a 20th anniversary celebration, it’s going to be a busy year at the gardens. Guest blogger Andrea Wolschleger describes 10 experiences you can’t miss at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park this year.
If Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park isn’t on your list of places to visit this year, it should be. This year marks our 20th birthday and with it, a multitude of ways to celebrate and experience our unique marriage of horticulture and sculpture. To only choose 10 was tough, but here are the highlights you won’t want to miss:
1. The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden
This highly anticipated 8-acre addition will open to the public on June 13th. Three years in the making, visitors will be able to experience cascading waterfalls, a soothing Zen-style garden, and seven works by master sculptors amidst lush plantings in a peaceful setting.
2. Splendors of Shiga: Treasures from Japan
This special, seven-month exhibition features works never seen outside of Japan and will change seasonally. View centuries-old pottery, and kimonos among other Japanese treasures.
3. Fred and Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming
Welcoming over 50 species of tropical butterflies, this exhibition is our most popular among the young and young-at-heart. Over the course of the exhibition, over 7,000 butterflies will fly freely in the 85 degree conservatory.
4. Fifth Third Bank Summer Concert Series
Our amphitheater is one of the most intimate and picturesque venues in Michigan, and the perfect place to bring a picnic dinner and enjoy live music. Past performers include Harry Connick, Jr., Santana, Willie Nelson and John Legend. The 2015 lineup will be announced mid-April.
5. Ai Weiwei
We recently announced a major sculpture acquisition by this prominent and provocative artist. Iron Tree will be dedicated in the Sculpture Park on Meijer Garden’s birthday, April 20th. Join us for cake afterwards.
6. Sculpture Park
One of the most comprehensive collections of outdoor sculpture resides right here in West Michigan. More than 50 major works by masters such as Auguste Rodin, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Louise Bourgeois, Mark di Suvero, Richard Serra, and Roxy Paine are nestled among waterfalls, wandering pathways and meadows.
7. Lena Meijer Children’s Garden
A favorite of our smallest guests, little ones can launch boats in the Great Lakes Garden, dig for buried fossils in the Rock Quarry, listen to a story, or discover leaves that feel like lamb ears. This garden invites kids to do what they do best—play and learn!
8. Tuesday Evening Music Club
Looking for something fun to do on a summer evening? Join us Tuesday evenings for concerts by talented local and regional musicians. Best part? They’re free for members.
9. Carnivorous Plant House
Meat. Eating. Plants. Discover plants of all shapes and sizes; the Venus flytrap, colorful pitcher plants, sundews and butterworts are just a few in our carnivore collection.
10. Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World
Experience the most magical time of year as Meijer Gardens transforms into a world of winter magic with the glow of 300,000 lights, over 40 trees and displays representing traditions form all over the world, strolling carolers and horse‐drawn carriage rides. A visitor favorite, the enchanting railway garden wanders through three indoor greenhouse spaces. Santa and live reindeer complete the picture.
Come explore, and be sure to visit in all seasons. Meijer Gardens has something for everyone. Take an inside look at the gardens from Under the Radar Michigan below!
Andrea has been the public relations manager at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park for approximately three years. A Grand Rapids native, she returned to the city after a five year tenure working in community relations in Washington DC. Andrea earned her degree in journalism and media arts from Butler University in Indianapolis.