Monday, June 26, 2023

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park - Best Sculpture Park in America!

Over the past years I have written a few times about the
Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park - typically about their amazing "Butterflies are Blooming" in March and April where thousands of butterflies are in the Tropical Conservatory or their "Christmas Around the World" in November and December. This past Christmas my dear husband and I decided to give each other and ourselves the gift of a membership to the Park. We decided on a grandparents membership - which allows us and our grandchildren 18 and younger - to visit as often as we like in the coming year. We added the guest option where we are able to bring a guest as well and I have to say, we have easily gotten our money's worth out of our membership at only four months into our membership! We will absolutely be renewing our membership next year!

Today I want to write about some fantastic, but not at all surprising, news - Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park is the Number One sculpture park in the U.S., according to USA Today’s Readers’ Choice! I could not agree more, so, I want to take you on a "walk" through my favorite parts of the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park . . .

Let's start with a swing through the Sculpture Park. As we head west from the main building, we come to "The Grove" - a lovely walk around a pond with several very interesting sculptures including "B Tree II".

Continuing West we come to the "Harvey Lemmen Sculpture Gallery" which has quite a few wonderful sculptures in a lovely tree-filled setting. A few of my grandson's favorites include "Around", the "Beast XVI" and "Summer Dance". 

As we head West on the main trail we arrive at two of my  absolute favorite places in the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park - the Waterfall and "The Glen"! Both of these places have beautiful waterfalls, flowers, and trees and the Waterfalls also have Koi fish while "The Glen" has some very interesting sculptures.

From here we head North and then East on
the trail past a number of impressive sculptures including one of our favorites, "Two Indeterminate Lines" and a lovely walk in "The Thicket". Then the most serious place at 
Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust with a sculpture entitled, "Ways to Say Goodbye" and 
we "wrap up" our walk through the main sculpture park and and see an interesting sculpture entitled "I, You, He, or She."
As we head back towards the center of the park, we can not miss the "Grand Rapids Arch" and the "American Horse" in the DeVoss VanAndel Piazza.

From here we go to another of my favorite places at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park - "The Richard & Helen DeVoss Japanese Gardens." I love the waterfalls in this area. I love the amazing flowers. I love the sculptures. I LOVE the Bonsai Tree Garden. If the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park consisted only of the Japanese Gardens it would be worthy of being the best Sculpture Park in America! But it is so much more!

We leave the Japanese Gardens and enjoy the "Gwen Frostic
Woodland Shade Garden", pass through the "Michigan's Farm Garden" on our way to the "Frey Boardwalk". This past early May when my husband and I walked on the Boardwalk, we saw Swans and Geese on their nests and then a couple weeks later saw a swan family and geese family swimming in the wetlands! Tuesday we are taking two of our grandsons to enjoy the Shade Garden and Boardwalk - we are sure they will enjoy them!

Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park also has a fantastic Children's Garden - the "Lena Meijer's Children's Garden" which my grandsons have enjoyed on previous visits. You may recognize this photo as it is on the facebook page for this blog and is one of my favorite photos of my grandsons when they were younger - it is a photo taken at the Chrildren's Garden.

All of these places in the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park are more than enough for them to receive first place in best sculpture park in America, but there is more! In the main building there is a Tropical Conservatory and it is amazing! There are plants, flowers, two waterfall features, and my grandson's favorite - Chinese Painted Quail which run around much to the delight of everyone!

The Tropical Conservatory is where they host their annual "Butterflies are Blooming" each March and April. My entire family was able to go with us to see the butterflies this year and we all enjoyed it - Caleb the most when one particularly friendly butterfly came near!

But this is not all! There is the"Kenneth E. Nelson Carnivorous Plant House", "
Earl & Donnalee Holton Arid Garden and Victorian Garden Parlor", "Grace Jarecki Seasonal Display Greenhouse", "The Tassell-Wisner-Bottrall English Perennial Garden", and the "Stuart and Barbara Padnos Rooftop Sculpture Garden" - another place we are taking our grandsons tomorrow.

This is just an overview - a quick "trip" through some of the highlights of the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park - clearly it is most certainly deserving of the award for the Best Sculpture Park in America! If you live near Grand Rapids, MI definitely get a membership - if you have it, you will use it - all year long! We go every week at least once. If you do not live near, make it a must-see destination on your "bucket list" and plan to come visit - you will be SO glad you did!

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