Meijer Gardens Christmas &Amp; Holiday Traditions
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ULTIMATE Guide to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids Michigan

There are some truly wondrous museums, sites, and places in Michigan that will make your eye widen, make your jaw drop, and leave a big smile on your face. In Western Michigan, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is one such place that will leave you shaking your head in amazement.

Located just minutes from downtown Grand Rapids, Meijer Gardens is home to one of the nation’s premier horticulture parks. Imagine having something so incredible, right in the great state of Michigan!

For the second year in a row, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park has been named the Top Sculpture Park in the United States by USA Today 10Best:

“Spanning 158 acres in Grand Rapids, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park hosts outdoor gardens and a five-floor, 15,000-square-foot Tropical Conservatory. The permanent sculpture collection features more than 200 works, many of which are displayed across the 30-acre sculpture park.”

“Thank you to our members, guests, volunteers, supporters and all who voted for Meijer Gardens during this year’s 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards.”

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park on Facebook
Frederik Meijer Gardens &Amp; Sculpture Park
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park | photo via Chad Cramblet

What makes Meijer Gardens so cool? It is ranked among the nation’s top horticulture parks and home to a highly-rated art museum, offers frequent concerts with national, regional, and local musicians, and features annual exhibitions that draw millions of people every year.

If you’re in Grand Rapids, your list of fun things to do is endless, but Meijer Gardens is one stop you absolutely have to make.

Frederik Meijer Gardens &Amp; Sculpture Park - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park | photo via Brandi O’Granning

Getting to Know Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Since it was established in 1995, Frederik Meijer Gardens has been a major cultural attraction in Michigan and throughout the Midwest. Its founder is Fred Meijer, of Meijer grocery store fame, and it has a fascinating history.

Turning An Idea Into Reality

One of Meijer Gardens’ mottos is “Always Growing. Always Beautiful. Always New.” That’s certainly true of this wonderful place that’s delighted visitors in just a few short decades.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened in April 1995 after more than a dozen years of meticulous planning and fundraising. The idea for a conservatory and botanical garden was the idea of the West Michigan Horticultural Society in Grand Rapids.

In the mid-1980s the group approached Frederik Meijer about donating land and he donated more than 70 acres of land in 1991 to establish a new public garden. A multi-million dollar capital campaign began to develop that land and Frederik and Lena Meijer were instrumental in the development of the park.

The Meijer family donated its personal sculpture collection and parts of the park have been renamed in their honor over the years. The park was renamed the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in 2002 and the children’s garden and tropical conservancy have been named for Lena Meijer.

Frederik Meijer Gardens &Amp; Sculpture Park - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park | photo via Brandi O’Granning

Handy Frederik Meijer Gardens FAQs

Is Meijer Gardens open in winter?Where is Frederik Meijer Gardens?

Frederik Meijer Gardens is located at 1000 E. Beltline Ave in Grand Rapids.

How long does it take to walk through Frederik Meijer Gardens?

Meijer Gardens is spread out over more than 150 acres, so a visit could take hours to experience. It may take two hours, four hours, or even eight hours, depending on how much exploring you want to do.

How much does it cost to get into Meijer Gardens?

Admission fees range from $8.50-18. Purchasing admission tickets online can help speed up your entry into the campus. Current pricing can be found here.

Do you have to pay for parking at Fredrik Meijer Gardens?

No. Meijer Gardens provides free indoor and outdoor parking options.

Is Meijer Gardens open in winter?

Indoor tours at the Gardens are open year-round.

Can dogs go into Frederik Meijer Gardens?

No, dogs are not allowed.

Frederik Meijer Gardens &Amp; Sculpture Park - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park | photo via Brandi O’Granning

Exploring the Wonders of Meijer Gardens

So why have millions of people visited Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park in the past 27 years? Obviously, it’s because there’s so much to see and do and explore! With sculpture exhibits, butterfly gardens, beautiful flowers, and so much more, there’s something for everyone to enjoy here.

I have enjoyed a number of gardens and outdoor sculpture gardens, like Longwood Gardens outside Philadelphia, Grounds for Sculpture near Princeton NJ, Storm King in the Hudson Valley and Denver Botanic Gardens. All wonderful. Meijer Gardens outshines them all. A notable collection of sculptures in a beautiful garden setting.

We spent nearly the whole day and saw most of the park, but could have easily have returned the next day. Start with the trolley ride for another four bucks a person, which provides a 45 minute tour of the grounds. You get a tour of the Sculpture Garden with great commentary by the volunteer on board and an overview of the rest of the park. It’s helpful because it helps clarify your priorities, which could be an overwhelming task without the tour.

We started with the Japanese gardens, our highlight of the day, also visited the farm, the indoor tropical spaces and a brief spin through the Children’s garden at the end. We also walked the boardwalk through the natural beauty of the wetlands. About a one mile round trip from the entrance.

If you’re ever anywhere near Grand Rapids, Meijer Gardens is a MUST SEE.

Kevots, review on Tripadvisor

Stroll Through an Impressive Sculpture Park

The Sculpture Park at Frederik Meijer Gardens is one of the best in the nation, if not the world, and it’s not hard to see why. Sculptures can be found all over campus, but the Sculpture Park connects these amazing works of art by paths, lawns, and meadows.

Here, visitors can marvel at more than 50 magnificent works of art by some of the best sculptors in the world. These include Henry Moore, Mark di Suvero, and Auguste Rodin, and the works span from the late 19th century to the present.

While you’re marveling at sculptures, don’t forget to view the Marshall Fredericks Collection. This impressive collection of 29 bronze sculptures was very important to Fred Meijer and make up the foundation of the expansive collection you’ll find on campus.

As you meander through the campus, keep your eyes peeled for sculptures that are part of the Garden Trails and Conservatory Collection. These works are meant to complement areas like the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden and are eclectic, whimsical, and plenty of fun to look at.

Tropical Path - Meijer Gardens Butterfly Exhibit
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park | photo via Leah Tennant

Get Lost in Glorious Gardens

Fans of horticulture are in for a treat when they make the journey to Grand Rapids. The campus of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is home to nearly a dozen areas that are dedicated to a wide variety of flora, fauna, and everything in between.

The Richard & Helen Devos Japanese Garden

This fabulous Japanese Garden is one of the more recent additions to campus and opened to the public in 2015. Visitors can visit an authentic Japanese teahouse, view waterfalls, spend time in both bonsai and zen-style gardens, and much more.

Tassell-Wisner-Bottrall English Perennial Garden

This garden is arguably one of the most diverse on Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park’s campus and is, in a word, impressive. It has all the typical features of an English garden but with contemporary twists that make it extra special.

If you like places where things just get better and better around every corner, this is a must-visit spot. As you explore the garden’s different rooms, you’ll see more than 500 types of plants and more than 6,000 individual plantings. Take a seat and take in the view, you’ll be glad you did.

Frederik Meijer Gardens &Amp; Sculpture Park - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park | photo via Brandi O’Granning

Michigan’s Farm Garden

As you walk around this part of campus and see the animal pens, the farmhouse, and a barn, you’ll be transported back to a simpler time. There’s an 1880s farmhouse that’s a model of Lena Meijer’s childhood home, bronze sculptures of farm animals, and even an heirloom vegetable patch.

Lena Meijer Children’s Garden

This place is all about having fun and invites kids to come to learn too. Kids can interact with different plants, dig for fossils, explore a treehouse village and even listen to a story. If your kids enjoy hands-on learning, this is one spot they’ll love.

The beautiful gardens are compartmentalized, with meadow, woodland, thicket, grove, and Japanese style. There is also a Children’s Pavilion.

Everything is highly accessible for walkers, chairs, and strollers.

Did I forget the sculptures? Degas, Rodin, and Ai Weiwei are among the many artists, as a walk through the gardens leads to the sculptures.

Lunch was easy and simple in the cafe. And, while dining, look up! Chihuly glass ornaments the ceiling.

This is a real treat.

Patrick M, review on Tripadvisor

Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory

This five-story structure is a shrine to tropical plants and the tropical environment. Visitors can marvel at different tropical plants and trees surrounded by peaceful streams and waterfalls.

The conservatory also draws visitors in droves each March and April for its annual tropical butterfly exhibitions. The Meijer Gardens butterflies fly free inside the conservatory and add incredible color.

Kenneth E. Nelson Carnivorous Plant House

This garden is home to butterworts, sundews, the Venus flytrap, and all kinds of meat-eating plants from all over the world.

Frederik Meijer Gardens &Amp; Sculpture Park - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park | photo via Brandi O’Granning

Earl & Donnalee Holton Arid Garden

This garden collects all kinds of succulents, agave, and other desert plants from all over the world. Visitors will marvel at cacti and so many other wonderful plants.

Earl & Donnalee Holton Garden Parlor

Visitors can step back in time to the Victorian Era with water fountains, stained glass, sculptures, and dazzling displays of foreign plants.

The Amphitheater Garden

This is the spot for live music and Meijer Gardens, but it’s also a place to see some beautiful flora, including a beautiful array of trees, ivy growing on the stage, and perennial flowers.

Gwen Frostic Woodland Shade Garden

This is one of many fantastic outdoor gardens on campus. Visitors can see an amazing canopy of trees, get plenty of summer shade, and see refreshing bursts of color in the spring.

Grace Jarecki Seasonal Display Greenhouse

The cool thing about this garden is that the displays change with the season!

The spring features the Butterflies are Blooming exhibit as well a chrysanthemum exhibit. The fall brings the Railway Garden during the University of Michigan Health-West: Christmas and Holiday Traditions exhibition. This marvelous display sees trains weave their way through mini landmarks and decked out horticulture.

Frederik Meijer Gardens &Amp; Sculpture Park
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park | photo via Chad Cramblet

Enjoy the Sweet Sounds of Music

As you’ve read, there’s so much great art and horticulture to see at Frederik Meijer Gardens. But, did you also know that it’s a great spot to hear live music? The Gardens Amphitheater offers great acoustics and terraced lawn seating, so you can get a great view while you listen to performances.

Summer Concerts

From June through mid-September, there’s a series of Meijer Gardens concerts that feature some of the finest national and international musicians around.

Tuesday Evening Music Club

From June through August, the Meijer Gardens amphitheater hosts talented regional musicians and local musicians every Tuesday. Outside food is allowed, so pack up a picnic basket and head on down.

Jim and Marie Preston Sunday Strings

Every Sunday from June to August, the campus hosts an hour-long chamber music concert series, featuring some of the most talented artists from West Michigan.

Frederik Meijer Gardens &Amp; Sculpture Park
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park | photo via William J. Hebert

Special Events at Meijer Gardens

Frederik Meijer Gardens offers indoor tours year-round and is always fun to visit in the warmer months, but there are a lot of fun social events worth coming out for too.

Meijer Gardens Plant Show Series

Visitors who are interested in learning more about gardening and growing plants can visit Frederik Meijer Gardens for their annual plant shows.

These shows include featured workshops, demonstrations, and tours so gardeners of all abilities can learn the ins and outs of planting a variety of house plants as well as outdoor favorites like orchids, daylilies, and other plants and flowers.

 Fun-Filled Fall & Winter Events

  • Just before Halloween, young visitors can participate in Hallowee-Ones. There are Halloween-themed activities and kiddos are encouraged to dress up like something from the Children’s Garden.
  • Throughout September and October, kiddos can come out for Fall Storytime, featuring fun, fall-inspired stories.
  • Right after Thanksgiving, youngsters can come for Wee are Thankful, where there are activities planned around thankfulness and sharing.
  • Throughout December, visitors can come and watch an awesome, immersive Seasonal Light Experience at the amphitheater. Shows run every half hour and it’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit.
  • Visitors can swing by the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden throughout December for Wintertime Walks. It’s a great excuse to get outside, just remember to bundle up.
  • Stop by early in December for Christmas Cabaret, which is made a triumphant return in 2022. Come for delicious food, musical performances, and good vibes.
Meijer Gardens Christmas &Amp; Holiday Traditions
Christmas & Holiday Traditions photo by Amanda Shaffer

University of Michigan Health-West’s Christmas & Holiday Traditions

Awesome Mitten writer Amanda Shaffer had an amazing experience at the Meijer Gardens holiday display.

“On a recent visit to The Fredrick Meijer Gardens we stepped into a world of holiday enchantment when we visited the University of Michigan Health-West’s Christmas & Holiday Traditions exhibition.

Inside you can truly immerse yourself in all things holidays as the conservatory comes alive with lights, stunning decorations, and the railway garden. When you have finished exploring inside you can wander outside through the gardens, where nature meets art, for a winter stroll.

With 42 decorated trees from all over the world to the cheerful ambiance, the space is transformed to a celebration of traditions.”

Awesome Mitten writer Amanda Shaffer
Meijer Gardens Christmas &Amp; Holiday Traditions
Christmas & Holiday Traditions photo by Amanda Shaffer

Plan Your Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Trip

There’s no doubt about it, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a special place you just have to experience for yourself. If you’re looking for an extraordinary experience in West Michigan, then Meijer Gardens Grand Rapids Michigan is the place to go, so book your trip today!

With so many notable gardens and exhibitions, you won’t know where to begin when you visit. The best thing to do is take your time and really soak in the experience. The variety of art, plants, sculptures, and other campus landmarks is best enjoyed at a leisurely pace.

Visit each of the unique gardens to see the dazzling array of plants, trees, and so much more. Attend an annual event or concert. Take a guided tour or go on a self-led experience; either way, there’s so much to see and do that you won’t be disappointed.

Want to extend your visit? Grab a bite to eat at one of the best restaurants in Grand Rapids and book a room at a Grand Rapids hotel before exploring the city’s best museums, zoo, and more!

Plan your trip to Meijer Gardens today and let us know what your favorite must-visit spots are there!