Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is an iconic tourist destination in Grand Rapids.
When springtime hits, people flutter to Meijer Gardens to see the largest temporary butterfly exhibit in the nation, Butterflies are Blooming, which features over 7,000 butterflies from around the world.
In summer and early fall, thousands of West Michiganders and visitors alike flock to Meijer Gardens’ amphitheater to see local, national, and international musicians take the stage during the summer concert series.
But what about winter? You definitely don’t want to overlook this season as a time to see a different, but equally beautiful, side of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.
Whether you want to spend your time indoors or out, winter offers a variety of ways to make your visit memorable at this award-winning attraction.
There is plenty to see at do at FMG during the winter months, indoors and out.
Photo Credit: William J. Herbert, Courtesy of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture
Visitors who want to spend their time at the gardens indoors this winter will find plenty to do, including the temporary exhibit The Womb by Rebecca Louise Law.
The highlight of The Womb is an immersive experience transporting you to a cocoon of nature with the “lub-dub” sounds of a beating heart coming from all directions inside the exhibit. The Womb is made up of approximately one million dried flowers and plants, as well as 10,000 flowers collected from the grounds of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Plant materials and flowers were gathered and wired by hand to create this exhibit.
Creator Rebbecca Louise Law describes her work of art as, “a physical experience that enables the whole body and mind to be at one with nature.”
The Womb exhibit is available now through March 1, 2020.
Even if it's below freezing outside, visit the tropics at Meijer Gardens' Tropical Conservatory.
Photo Credit: William J. Herbert
The Tropical Conservatory is a permanent indoor exhibit and an absolute delight to visit during winter time. If winter has you missing the feeling of a warm, humid climate, make sure to stop in the conservatory to warm up your cold winter bones.
This five-story conservatory is the largest of its kind in Michigan. It features more than 500 plant species from five different continents.
The glassed-in environment gives the impression of being outside, but the warmth and soothing water features will tell you otherwise. While wandering the stone path, be on the lookout for banana plants, coffee plants, cacao plants, and even something called a sausage tree.
While visiting the tropical conservatory, be sure to stop in the desert. Less humid than the main conservatory, but still warm and cozy, the desert is a great place to wander around and look at a variety of desert plants and the ways they’ve adapted to survive the blistering temps, such as leaves that reflect sunlight with waxy coatings that act like a sunscreen for the plant.
Walking the gardens and seeing a variety of sculptures is a great way to enjoy educational family fun.
Photo Credit: Terzes Photography, Courtesy of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Inside/Outside: An Interactive Sculpture Experience for Families
Another can’t miss exhibit, especially if you plan on taking kids, is Inside/Outside: An Interactive Sculpture Experience for Families. Don’t let the name fool you, Inside/Outside is a completely indoor experience, making it perfect for wintertime.
Inside/Outside is Meijer Gardens’ newest hands-on experience for families that teaches about art through games and virtual experiences. Each of the eight stations features hands-on activities relating to the main concepts of each featured sculpture.
Meijer Gardens also offers plenty to see outdoors in the wintertime too, so bundle up and get moving.
Sculpture Park and Japanese Garden
Covering more than 30 acres, the Sculpture Park includes more than 200 masterworks by artists from the 1800s to present day. The Sculpture Park is one of the most comprehensive collections of outdoor sculptures in the world.
Opened in 2015, The Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden is an eight-acre masterpiece. The Gardens were carefully planned to create a contemplative environment with the idea being that a person would walk through the main gates leaving all their cares behind. Placed among 4,000 boulders, follow the winding paths through the garden and search out a variety of plants native to both Japan and West Michigan.
“Our Gardens and Sculpture Park are beautiful year-round, but they take on an especially unique character in the winter months,” says John Vanderhaagen, Communications Director at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. “We take pride in maintaining clean and clear pathways and walkways after each snowfall in order to provide guests the opportunity to bundle up and experience the grounds on a more peaceful, serene walk. One of my favorite times to walk in the Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden is right after a fresh layer of snow has fallen. It is such a different experience walking in winter months."
Insider Tips for Visiting the Japanese Garden:
In order to avoid distraction while in the garden, individual plants are not labeled. Grab a guide book on your way outside to help identify more than 50 of the plants in the garden.
Be sure to take the walk up to viewing hill (the highest point in the garden) for beautiful panoramic views.
The art outside is only made more beautiful with the compliments of sun and snow.
Photo Credit: William J. Hebert, Courtesy of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Tours are available for groups of 10 or more. Indoor tours are available year-round. The narrated outdoor tram tour (for individuals or groups) runs seasonally, beginning March 1, and lasts approximately 45 minutes.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park offers a variety of classes for children and adults, members and non-members alike. Some winter class offerings include: drawing, painting with wool, mindfulness, gardening in terrariums, and photography, just to name a few. A complete list of classes can be found on the Meijer Gardens’ website.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a special place that is truly enjoyable during the winter months. Whether you decide to take a class, go on a tour, or just wander the tropical conservatory and sculpture park, Meijer Gardens is a wonderful winter destination for you, your friends, and your family.