Ten Cool Things You Can’t Miss at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park

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. 

Photo courtesy of Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Photo courtesy of Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

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.

Photo courtesy of Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Photo courtesy of Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

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.

Photo courtesy of Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Photo courtesy of Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

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.

Photo courtesy of Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Photo courtesy of Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

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!

_DSC0597_USEAndrea 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.

An Experience Like No Other at the Pohl Bison Bed and Breakfast

This is not your ordinary Michigan Bed and Breakfast! Guest blogger Erin Cornett from the Mount Pleasant Area Convention and Visitors Bureau tells us how to get up close with a bison at the Pohl Bison Bed & Breakfast. 

Photo courtesy of Mt. Pleasant Area CVB

Photo courtesy of Mt. Pleasant Area CVB

In the bed & breakfast industry, every place is unique. Each offers its own character and individual style of hospitality, and in the Mt. Pleasant area that reigns true for many. One particularly notable B&B is located just a few miles north of town away from the hustle and bustle. Owned by Jim and Krista Pohl, the Pohl Bison Bed & Breakfast is anything but ordinary.

Inside the Amish built log cabin, visitors can take in the rustic Michigan countryside. The stone fireplace makes for a welcoming family room, while the gorgeous wooden spiral staircase leads to two comfortable rooms for relaxing. A large lofted room is the perfect space to enjoy a cup of coffee and overlook the sprawling acreage of the family ranch.

Photo courtesy of the Mt. Pleasant Area CVB

Photo courtesy of the Mt. Pleasant Area CVB

When visiting the Pohl Bison B&B, visitors are not only welcomed by the host family, but by the bison that graze on the 40 acre grounds. Jim and Krista Pohl have had a passion for buffalo since a trip to Wyoming many years ago. Today, they raise over 50 bison on their land. Visitors can watch them roam from the large decks surrounding the house, or as they warm up next to the fire pit in the backyard.

Starting this year, Pohl Bison will be taking buffalo viewing to the next level by offering bison tours to their guests. “We are planning on starting (the tours) in June and through the fall,” said Krista Pohl.

Guests will go for a ride on a renovated covered wagon as they enter the grazing pastures. Once the wagon is in the field, the bison walk right up to the wagon becoming inches away from the guests. The Pohl’s even bring buckets of cubed alfalfa treats to toss to the bison.

Photo courtesy of Mt. Pleasant Area CVB

Photo courtesy of Mt. Pleasant Area CVB

Guests may also purchase locally packaged bison meat products such as steaks, jerky or sausage or take home a fun buffalo souvenir from the Bison Horn Gift Shop. The gift shop is also open to the public on Friday evenings and Saturdays.

Whether you are looking for a quiet getaway, or a fun place to catch up with old friends, the Pohl Bison Bed and Breakfast mixes classic Michigan scenery with an unconventional activity to create a once in a lifetime bed & breakfast experience. The Pohl Bison Bed & Breakfast is located on the outskirts of the quiet little village of Rosebush.  It’s conveniently located between Mt. Pleasant and Clare right off US 127.

For more things to do and see in the Mt. Pleasant Area, check out our list on michigan.org.

Where is the most unique place you’ve stayed while traveling in Michigan? 

Five Frame-Worthy Instagram Photos From Our Fans in February 2015

February in Pure Michigan brought snow-capped trees, sweet celebrations and striking scenery. Set against a backdrop of shimmering snow and ice, the winter photos we receive from our Pure Michigan Instagram community never cease to amaze us! Here are just a few of our favorites from February. 

 Turnip Rock in Port Austin. This unique view comes from @kbernock.

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Snowmobiling on the tree-lined trails in Boon, MI near Cadillac. Photo by @andypeninger.

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Simple winter splendor. Great shot of the majestic Mackinac Bridge from @tbulman01.

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A front row seat to a fiery winter sunset near Saugatuck courtesy of @papafinny.

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Credit goes to @pottspics71 for snapping this incredible shot of frozen Munising Falls while exploring the Upper Peninsula.

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For more fan photography, follow us on Instagram. Be sure to tag your photos with #PureMichigan to give us permission to re-gram!