Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a western Michigan gem. The 158-acre campus, 1000 E. Beltline Ave. NE, has attracted more than 10 million visitors since opening in 1995.

Outdoor amenities include nature trails, a boardwalk, a Japanese garden and a replica of a 1930s farmhouse. Meijer Gardens is home to a permanent sculpture collection and is among the 100 most visited art museums in the U.S. The barrier-free facility also offers a café and a gift shop. There are almost 200 staff members, 850 volunteers and 27,000 member households.

The National Genealogy Society’s annual conference in Grand Rapids May 2-5, 2018 is providing a pre-conference tour of Meijer Gardens, five miles from DeVos Place, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday, May 1 for $45. Lunch is available on your own at the café. Sign up by April 20.

Japanese Garden Bridge

Japanese Garden Bridge – Photo by Pete McDaniel Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Depending on the early May weather, tulips may be peeking out of the ground during the NGS tour. While the annual Butterflies Are Blooming exhibit closes April 30, you may be lucky enough to encounter a few colorful creatures lingering in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory, which also houses more than 500 vegetation species and tropical birds. Gardens include:

  • Gwen Frostic Woodland Shade Garden, showing plants that love shade and clay.
  • Kenneth E. Nelson Carnivorous Plant House, the only garden of its kind in the U.S.
  • Earl and Donnalee Holton Arid Garden, with a focus on plants that prefer dry environments.
  • Grace Jarecki Seasonal Display Greenhouse, which features a changing display.
  • Earl and Donnalee Holton Victorian Garden Parlor is a step back in history.
  • Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden is eight acres of breath-taking vistas, no matter the season.
  • The Wege Nature Trail leads through a forest.
  • The Frey Boardwalk provides access to natural wetlands. Along the way are bird watching sites and a tadpole pond.
Cherry Tree Promenade

Cherry Tree Promenade Photo by Pete McDaniel Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

The 30-acre outdoor sculpture park contains more than 50 works of art by luminaries such as Auguste Rodin, Mark di Suvero and Ai Weiwei. The collection includes the 24-foot bronze The American Horse by Nina Akamu. Indoors the collection includes Gilded Champagne Gardens Chandelier by glass artist Dale Chihuly and Dancer Looking At The Sole Of Her Right Foot by Edward Degas.

Due to a $100 million, five-year construction project, the outdoor tram tour will be unavailable and some detours are in place, so plan on a good pair of walking shoes and weather-appropriate attire.

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– Slowik Sinkevics