My Dad and Step-Mom visited a couple weeks ago from Maryland so I wanted to plan a fun family day trip. I watched a video last year featuring Frederik Meijer Gardens and added this my list of future adventures. My Dad is an avid gardener so this adventure was a perfect fit during their visit.

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Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is located in Grand Rapids and encompasses 158 acres. It features over 200 works in the sculpture park and 500 species from five continents within the Lena Meijer Tropical Conversatory.

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There are many assorted gardens to stroll through such as the Leslie E. Tassell English Perennial & Bulb Garden, Gwen Frostic Woodland Shade Garden, Kenneth E. Nelson Carnivorous Plant House, Earl & Donnalee Holton Arid Garden, Grace Jarecki Seasonal Display Greenhouse, Earl & Donnalee Holton Victorian Garden Parlor, and The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden.

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There is also an Amphitheater Garden which showcases fun summer concerts with garden views. Styx was playing the night we were there and I definitely plan to come back to check out the line-up next year.

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There is a farmer’s garden illustrating veggies that were often grown on Michigan farms in the 1930s. It also featured a classic barn, farmhouse and windmill. Having grandparents that owned a Michigan farm all of their lives, I got a kick out of visiting this area with my Dad.

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I really enjoyed the English Perennial & Bulb Garden and the Japanese Garden (which opened June 13th of this year). The plants and flowers were beautiful and the atmosphere inviting. I also found the various waterfalls relaxing and scenic to both watch and listen to.

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You may walk around the gardens for just a couple hours or choose to spend the entire day. We stayed the afternoon (half a day) and I felt like we did not miss much of the gardens. We walked approximately half of the sculpture park. Tram tours are also available if you tire of walking.

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If you are hungry during your visit, you may enjoy refreshments at the Taste of the Gardens Cafe. There is also a gift shop with fun merchandise to browse and you never know what treasures you could bring home. My parents found a really unique square wood salad bowl that I am sure they will enjoy for years to come.

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This is the twentieth year for the park and it is open daily, 362 days a year with admission of $12 for adults, $4-6 for children and there are student and senior discounts available. There are also various annual membership programs available.

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During March and April, there is a annual Fred & Dorthy Fitcher Butterflies Are Blooming event which features the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibition in the nation. I am eager to escape here on a dreary winter day and enjoy the indoor gardens which will remind me that spring is coming.

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About Liz Ball

Liz Ball is a freelance writer focusing on Michigan travel and local events in her community.