Frederik Meijer Gardens in Fall: 25 Colorful Reasons to Visit Right Now with Your Family

frederik meijer gardens in fall

Your Best Checklist for Visiting Frederik Meijer Gardens in Fall with Family

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is on the map for the holidays and for the springtime butterfly show, but most people don’t realize that a visit to Frederik Meijer Gardens in the fall is a treat as well.

Their annual Chrysanthemums & More! event brings autumn front and center, as mums, fall foliage, and harvest decorations bring out the best the season has to offer.

Use this guide to help plan a family visit to Meijer Gardens this fall. If you do everything on this list, you’re likely going to want to stay for the whole day.

*Side note: Our family purchases an annual membership – which is an idea all families should consider if you think you might visit more than once in a year. You can find more on memberships and admission prices at the end of this article.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525

Fall Fun in the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden

Every visit to Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park should include a stroll through the Children’s Garden, with or without kids. It’s just that inviting.

Plan to spend a good chunk of time in this part of the Gardens.

If you’re visiting with little ones along, here are the things you must do while in the Children’s Garden:

1) Enter Through the Little Gate

The little door is a delight. Kids will think it’s pretty funny if you go through it, too.

We love how the garden’s entrance changes with the seasons. It’s magical.

frederik meijer gardens childrens garden 11

2) Take Selfies with the Scarecrows

Just inside of the entrance you’ll find a few scarecrow friends waiting for photos.

frederik meijer gardens children's garden (9)

3) Sail a Boat on the Great Lakes

Weather permitting, the Great Lakes water feature is open in the fall.

Bring a change of clothes if you plan to play.

frederik meijer gardens childrens garden 1

4) Step Through the Gate to the Storybook Garden  

As you follow the pathway through the garden, gateways and tunnels invite you to explore.

frederik meijer gardens childrens garden 9

5) Spend Hours Playing Tag in the Treehouse

The gigantic wooden treehouse is a destination in itself.

With two levels, kids of all ages will have a blast hiding, exploring, and using their imaginations.

frederik meijer gardens childrens garden 6
frederik meijer gardens childrens garden 12

6) Dig All the Way to China in the Sand Pit

Digging in the sand is a quality way to spend an afternoon no matter your age.

Mine for fossils in the quarry, use the digger, or just let the sand drive imaginiative play.

frederik meijer gardens childrens garden 4

7) Find Your Way Out of the Hedge Maze

Tucked away in a corner of the garden sometimes missed is the hedge maze.

Kids wind their way through, seeing if they can find their way out, all while being entertained with drums and other features hidden in the maze.

frederik meijer gardens childrens garden 5

8) See if You Can Make it to the Middle

Following the brick labyrinth to it’s center is a time-honored tradition for visitors of all ages.

childrens garden frederik meijer gardens in fall

Things to Do in the Farm Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens in Autumn

After the Children’s Garden, head to the Farm Garden.

It’s a bit of a walk, but it’s accessible and stroller-friendly.

Plan on spending at least 20-30 minutes at the Farm Garden. While you’re there, be sure to:

9) Visit the Giant Pumpkins

If you’re lucky enought to visit while the gigantic pumpkins are on the property, you’ll find them near the farmhouse in the farm garden.

farm garden giant pumpkin meijer gardens in fall

10) Sit for a Spell on the Old-Fashioned Front Porch

Sometimes it’s nice to take a rest. The rocking chairs on the front porch are the perfect place to do that.

farm garden giant pumpkin meijer gardens in fall 1

11) Say Hello to the Animal Sculptures Down on the Farm

Michigan’s Farm Garden, showing what life was like on a farm in Michigan in the 1930’s, is home to animals as well.

Take a few minutes to find all of the animal sculptures dotting the area, as they would have been long ago.

farm garden giant pumpkin meijer gardens in fall 2

12) Ding Dong, Time for Dinner

Kids can tug the rope of this working bell – and they love doing it.

Don’t be shy!

bell farm garden meijer gardens in fall

13) Try Your Hand at This Old Pump

This water pump is just begging you to give it a try.

Kids and adults pump the handle and watch as the water splashes into the big collection basin.

frederik meijer gardens farm garden water pump

Some of the Best Family Photo Ops are Right Here

Definitely bring your phone or your camera with you to Frederick Meijer Gardens in fall because you will want to capture these precious moments with your family.

In fact, some families make it a yearly tradition to visit the pumpkin patch at Meijer Gardens to get these sweet photos.

Here are some of the photos you’ll want to get:

14) Photograph Your Kids Climbing on the Pumpkins

It’s adorable.

Put little kids in this grassy area filled with over-sized pumpkins and they immediately start climbing.

Haybales and cornstalks flank the area, ready for your family selfies and candid shots.

pumpkins frederik meijer gardens in fall

15) Play Peek-a-Boo in the Neighboring Cornstalks

Set your kids free with instructions to play hide and seek with your camera and you’ll get great shots of them peeking out of the cornstalks.

corn stalks frederik meijer gardens in fall

16) Play Farmer’s Market at the Old Farm Stand

Many visitors pass this little building by, not realizing you can go up on the porch and play farm stand.

It’s a perfect spot for a old-fashioned fall photo, too.

frederik meijer gardens in fall photo op

Enjoy the Essence of Autumn in the Japanese Garden at Meijer Gardens

The Japanese Garden is a destination all on its own.

It’s extremely large and will take quite some time to walk through if you want to experience the whole thing. I recommend setting aside at least a full hour for exploration.

If your visit will only allow you to stay at Meijer Gardens for part of the day, consider viewing just parts of the Japanese Garden.

17) Walk the Paths and Bridges and Drink in the Quiet Beauty

This garden is more contemplative and does not offer the hands-on experiences found in the Children’s Garden or the Farm Garden. I’ve dubbed the Japanese Garden the “noticing and thinking garden” with my kids.

Numerous bridges and pathways lead you past waterfalls, over ponds, and up and down hills.

sculpture park japanese garden frederik meijer gardens in fall 1
sculpture park japanese garden frederik meijer gardens in fall

Will You Pose with the Pony?

Ok, it’s definitely not a pony.

18) Experience the American Horse Up Close

The American Horse, inspired by the work of Leonardo da Vinci stands majestically on the grounds of Meijer Gardens.

Visitors are welcome to walk up to the sculpture and view it from every angle, including from the towering grass hills surrounding the 24-foot tall piece of art.

giant horse meijer gardens in fall

19) Have Fun With the Horse, Too

The sculpture’s active stance invites visitors to interact and play.

The hoof held just above the ground is a favorite place to pose for photographs.

frederik meijer gardens big horse

20) Climb, and Roll Down, the Big Grassy Hills

Kids, even when tired, somehow find the energy to climb up and roll down the inviting grassy hills surrounding The American Horse at Meijer Gardens.

frederik meijer gardens big horse 1

By now, if you’re following along, you’ve walked miles and miles and had lots of fun soaking up the beauty of Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.

There’s still more to see, though, and that’s where you might want to hop on a tram ride.

Frederik Meijer Gardens Sculpture Park & Tram Ride

21) Buy Your Tram Ticket & Enjoy the Ride

Trams run seasonally and are not always available. But when they are available, they’re a great way to see the sculpture park.

The tour is narrated, so you’ll get to hear the stories behind the artwork you see along the way.

Adults – $4
Kids 12 and younger – $2
(2 and younger: no charge)

Sunday, November 1, 2020, will be the last day of this tram season.

sculpture park frederik meijer gardens in fall
arch sculpture meijer gardens in fall
sculpture park tram ride frederik meijer gardens in fall

Frederik Meijer Gardens Chrysanthemums

Fall harvest time is a time of celebration at Meijer Gardens.

Every year, they put on a dazzling display of chrysanthemums and fall decor – both indoors and out – that will make you feel like you’re among the best fall has to offer.

22) Don’t Miss the Mums

If you spent all of your time outdoors, you’d miss the fabulous display of mums in the Victorian Garden Parlor and the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory.

Be sure to keep your camera handy, because the wall of mums is another perfect backdrop for gorgeous fall photos.

frederik meijer gardens in fall mums

What to See in the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory

23) Play I Spy the Green Bananas

You’ll want to enter the Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory at Meijer Gardens for a variety of reasons:

  • it’s warm
  • it’s beautiful
  • it’s filled with exotic plantings and tropical birds
  • and there are usually bunches of bananas in the banana tree that you can seek out on your visit.
bananas meijer gardens in fall


This annual event is a spledid opportunity for you and your little one to wear a costume to the gardens.

24) Go to Hallowee-Ones on Friday, October 23, 2020 | 10 am – noon

Get creative at this special event designed for our youngest visitors.

Dress your child as a sculpture, mammal, fish, insect, bird, tree, flower or in any other way that highlights something about the Children’s Garden.

Celebrate Halloween with your wee-ones as you listen to Halloween-themed stories and go on a Halloween-themed hunt.

No tricks, no treats, just fun!

Fee: Included with admission

Hallowee Ones at Meijer Gardens

Admission & Visit Details

25) Consider Getting a Family Membership

A family membership for the year is $90.

Individual admission rates are as follows:

  • Adults: $14.50
  • Children 5-13: $7
  • Children 3-4: $4
  • Seniors 65 and older: $11
  • Children 2 and younger: free

Families with 2 adults and 2 kids older than 5 would pay $43 for a visit. That means in just over two visits per year, a membership would have paid for itself.

Another plus to getting a membership? You have less pressure to see it all and fit it all in on one visit.

Pro Tip: One of the best times to visit the Gardens with small kids is at 3 pm on a weekday. The big kids are all at school or on the bus, so you will often have the place to yourselves.

meijer gardens in fall

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