Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
1000 E Beltline Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525
One of the most popular things to do in Grand Rapids is visit Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.
It’s more than just a stunning botanical garden or well-heeled sculpture park. Changing with every season, Frederik Meijer Gardens, or FMG, is a delight any time of year.
This worth-the-drive destination contains over 150 acres of fun for every family member.
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Every Visit Reveals Something New
With breathtaking landscaping, thoughtful sculpture art, and hands-on children’s activities indoors and out, it’s easy to spend an entire day at this West Michigan magnet for family entertainment.
Plan to visit several times so you can take in the beauty of the Christmas trees, the wonder of the butterflies in spring, the delightful summertime concerts, and the giant pumpkins and chrysanthemum displays of fall.
Grab your walking shoes and read on for the best tips for visiting Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, MI.
Meijer Gardens Concerts & Tuesday Evening Music Club
Summer Concert Series
FMG’s summer concert series is a highly anticipated season for live music fans.
Expect amazing performances from acts like Lyle Lovett, The Verve Pipe, Emmylou Harris, the GR Symphony, The Accidentals & more.
Tickets sell out quickly each summer, and members get first dibs.
Tuesday Evening Music Club
Summer Tuesday nights at the amphitheater are reserved for free concerts (with admission) at Meijer Gardens!
Featuring local and regional musicians, you can even find family-friendly performances and a more chill vibe.
Guests are welcome to bring a picnic or grab a bite from the cafe to enjoy at the show.
Get your tickets on the day-of at either the welcome center or the box office.
Meijer Gardens Map & Overview
It’s helpful to get an overview of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park before your first visit.
The destination has both indoor and outdoor components. The weather during your visit and the current exhibits may impact the gear you bring along.
Outdoor attractions include:
Indoor attractions include:
Carnivorous Plant House
Kids Curiousity Corner
Admission Rates & Hours
Frederik Meijer Gardens is open daily, from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, except for Sundays (open at 11:00 AM) and Tuesdays (open until 9:00 PM).
ADMISSION & TICKETS
A daily admission ticket is required for all guests. Tickets may be purchased online in advance.
|Rates as of February 2023|
|Senior (65 and older)||$15|
|Student (with student ID)||$15|
|Child (age 3-13)||$10|
|Child (age 0-2)||Free|
Get in Free with a Local Library Card
Kent District Library
KDL patrons (ages 18 and above) can use their library card “Perk Pass” to reserve up to 6 free passes for Frederick Meijer Gardens.
Cardholders can reserve passes online, print their passes, and visit their attraction on the date they reserved. For Meijer Gardens, Library cardholders may reserve 1 pass per calendar year.
Grand Rapids Public Library
GRPL Cardholders can access free tickets via their “check it out” program. The pass entitles up to 6 people to visit the organization 1 time for free. You must check out a pass or ticket in person at any of the 8 Grand Rapids Public Library locations. They are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
WIN Tickets to Frederik Meijer Gardens
Congrats to Meijer Gardens on THREE 1st place Grandtastic Awards!
Frederik Meijer Gardens won first place for:
🏆 Best place to get a membership
🏆 Best place to go walking
🏆 Best place for live music
We want you to experience for yourself why Meijer Gardens earned the title #1 by giving away a Family 4-pack of tickets to Frederik Meijer Gardens.
FINE PRINT: This giveaway will close on June 14, 2023 at 11PM EST and the winners will be notified via email. The winner will have 24 hours to respond by email accepting the prize. No purchase necessary to enter the contest. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You are providing your information to grkids.com and not to Facebook. Entrants will release Facebook from all liability. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age and reside in Michigan. Only one entry per household or IP address. GRKIDS’ liability is limited to the value of the prize.
Lena Meijer Children’s Garden
TIME NEEDED: 2+ hours
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.
Bonus: The Children’s Garden is open year-round.
This incredible outdoor space is a must for kids. The children’s garden is not far from the exit near the tropical conservatory.
(And I love that this expansive play area is completely fenced in, with only one way in or out. This ensures that even the wiliest children are kept within the confines of the space, which is a great relief to this mom.)
We’ve spent many hours enjoying the Children’s Garden. Here are our favorite things to do here, plus a few tips.
Enter through the Mouse Hole
Let the kids enter through the Mouse Hole gate at the entrance (to the right of the giant bear sculpture).
Once inside, it’ll feel natural to want to go clockwise, but try experiencing the gardens in the opposite direction. This way you save the Great Lakes Garden for last and avoid getting wet until the end.
Head to the Butterfly Maze
Children’s Garden STOP 1
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.
Find your way to the bell and ring it to let everyone know you beat the maze.
Take the Labyrinth Trail to the Dinos
Children’s Garden STOP 2
Follow the Labyrinth to the dinos – don’t get dizzy! – and then take the sneaky backway trail to the Treehouse Village.
Stop 3: Treehouse Village
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.
There is a nature quiz set up on the boardwalk and quite a few animals if you look closely.
Explore the upper and lower levels of the Treehouse and play among the trees.
Look all around you at the thoughtful details like animal footprints in the cement and manmade spider webs and spiders hiding up above. This is a great place for noticing!
Stop 4: Log Cabin
A short walk takes you to the log cabin, ready with old-fashioned fun.
There are many old-time games inside worth investigating.
Stop 5: Rock Quarry
Further down the path is the Rock Quarry. Here kids can dig for fossils with shovels and hand-operated diggers.
Warning: kids will want to play here a while!
Stop 6: Wooded Wetlands
As you travel towards the Great Lakes Garden, stop at the Wooded Wetlands and visit the (puppet) beavers in the Beaver Cave.
Stop 7: Kid-Sense Garden
Near the Great Lakes Garden (the large pool in the shape of the Great Lakes) is the Kid-Sense Garden.
Travel through the senses by finding leaves that feel like a lamb’s ear, flowers that look like eyeballs, and plants that smell like popcorn.
Stop 8: Great Lakes Garden
Build a bridge or launch a boat on the mini replica of the Great Lakes in the Great Lakes Garden.
My kids always get soaked playing at this mega water table, so I bring a change of clothes or even their bathing suit. Shoes are required.
Good to know: restrooms are nearby in the information building, making a clothes change easy.
Stop 9: Children of the World Fountain
Between the Great Lakes Garden and the Children’s Garden Entrace is the Children of the World Fountain.
This little spray area is perfect for little kids that want to splash.
Highlights in the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden include:
- Great Lakes Garden (water play)
- Treehouse Village
- Storytelling Garden
- Kid-Sense Garden
- Rock Quarry
- Log Cabin
- Butterfly Maze
- Seasonal Activities
Michigan’s Farm Garden
TIME NEEDED: 30 minutes
The Frederik Meijer Gardens Farm Garden is an 1880s replica farmhouse where you can ring the bell, pump water, and rock on the porch in a rocking chair.
There’s a barn to explore and play I Spy for old farm tools and lots of super cute sculptures of farm animals.
In the summertime, the farm garden often hosts activities and old-fashioned games for kids on special days.
While you’re there, be sure to:
1) 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.
2) Ding Dong, Time for Dinner
Kids can tug the rope of this working bell – and they love doing it.
Don’t be shy!
3) 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 1930s, 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.
The Japanese Garden
Time Needed: 45-60 minutes
The Japanese Garden at Meijer Gardens is a contemplative space.
A quiet place for reflection and wandering, there is an immense amount of natural beauty and thoughtful sculptures placed throughout.
Be sure to climb to the top of the Viewing Hill, where you get sweeping views of the whole garden.
Numerous bridges and pathways lead you past waterfalls, over ponds, and up and down hills.
Additionally, a bonsai collection is displayed in the Meijer Gardens Japanese Garden, near the Zen Garden.
Explore the whole Japanese Garden here.
The Sculpture Park: Top Things to Do
Time Needed: 60-90 minutes
We love walking the sculpture park, taking in all of the incredibly thoughtful sculptures.
There are multiple loops and pathway options to explore – give yourself plenty of time and wear good walking shoes.
When we’re with kids, we make sure to stop at the Waterfall & Koi Pond.
1) 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.
Kids and adults alike will enjoy posing with this enormous 24-foot sculpture and rolling down the grassy hills nearby.
2) Visit the Koi Fish at the Waterfall
Everyone loves watching these giant fish swim around.
Plus, it’s the perfect spot for selfies.
3) 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.
4) Walk the Loop to See Even More Art
With numerous major works scattered around the campus, Meijer Gardens is a destination for art lovers.
The Tropical Conservatory & Other Indoor Gardens
Time Needed: 45 minutes
This is my favorite part. Venturing through the different garden areas and wondering at the different kinds of plants that they’re growing in different environments. I mean, where else can you find the tropics in Michigan in the dead of winter?
There’s the Arid Garden, the Carnivorous Plant House, and the Tropical Conservatory. The tropical conservatory alone is a sight to see.
The soaring ceilings (5 stories!) make you feel like you’re truly outdoors as you take in amazing foliage and catch glimpses of the birds that call the conservatory their home.
While you’re here, be sure to look for the bananas in the banana tree.
These places are super popular each spring when the butterflies are blooming in the conservatory.
They even make a special caterpillar room in this area during the butterfly event, and kids love looking around the garden for caterpillars hiding on leaves.
Time Needed: 30-45 minutes
Meijer Gardens’ indoor activities for kids have leveled up. Their newest endeavor: the Curiosity Courtyard, an entire peaceful, artful, play area in the lower level.
Inspired by Frances Hodgson Burnett’s beloved classic The Secret Garden and composed of elements popular in English garden design, this 2,500 square foot space includes ten engaging activity stations.
Honestly, feeling a little jealous that I’m not a kid right now…
I love watching the games kids make up when they’re hanging out in the Curiosity Courtyard.
Bonus: Guests can use the nearby Mother’s Room for nursing.
The Cafe at Frederik Meijer Gardens
And if you’re hungry, don’t miss the James & Shirley Balk Cafe, located behind the gift shop.
Not only are there kid-friendly options on their artisanal menu, but the cafe itself is a beautiful spot for lunch.
Don’t forget to look up to see amazing Chihuly glass sculptures.
The Gift Shop
My kids and I could spend hours in the gift shop looking at all the clever educational toys and colorful art pieces. I like to tell my kids beforehand that they have X amount of dollars to spend on something special.
They’ll consider their choices forever, giving me lots of time to shop the “grown-up” side of the gift shop. I’ve given and received my fair share of gifts from this place.
Special Events at Meijer Gardens
Families eagerly await these annual events at the gardens, adding a little extra sparkle to their visit.
- Tuesday Evening Music Club: included with FMG admission the Amphitheater hosts a variety of local musicians. Pack a picnic, bring a chair and enjoy the sounds.
- Summer Concert Series: bringing an amazing array of international musicians, you can experience an intimate and beautiful show. Members get first dibs on tickets.
- Butterflies are Blooming (March 1 – April 30): Each spring thousands of butterflies fill the Tropical Conservancy.
- Christmas & Holiday Traditions Around the World – Transformed into a winter wonderland, Christmas trees from around the world fill the halls and Santa is available to hear all your Christmas wishes. Don’t miss the model train or the pickle in the Germany Tree.
- Chrysanthemums & More: Each fall the Children’s Garden is filled with mums and giant pumpkins.
Meijer Gardens Classes & Camps
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Summer Camps last from one to five days and serve children and young teens. Their unique selection of camps is sure to engage and educate.
More than 130 classes for adults, children, and adult/child pairs are offered year-round, and more than 30 engaging camps for children ages 4 to 14 are offered each summer.
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is proud to present a summer of fun, with camps for kids of all ages!
Explore all the great summer camps offered at Meijer Gardens.
>> More West Michigan Summer Camps
Meijer Gardens Butterflies
March 1, 2023 – April 30, 2023
Visit in the Springtime for Butterflies!
If you time it right there are butterflies at Frederik Meijer Gardens. The butterflies return during the months of March and April.
The Meijer Gardens butterflies exhibit is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibit in the country and includes over 7000 butterflies.
Entrance to the butterfly exhibit is included with general admission.
If you go, know that the exhibit is warm, with an 85-degree temperature and 70% humidity, and it’s recommended to dress in layers for comfort.
And since we’ve gone to the exhibit every year for the past 10+ years, we’ve got tips for bringing all ages along to the Meijer Gardens butterflies.
For the best tips and tricks, you’ll want to read our Frederik Meijer Gardens Butterflies article.
If you’re visiting the Meijer Gardens Butterflies and would like a lovely walk, stroll the campus and be sure to stop by the Japanese Garden for waterfalls and other delights.
Of course, there is artwork to appreciate everywhere you turn.
Fall at Frederik Meijer Gardens
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.
If you do everything on this Meijer Gardens Fall Fun 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.
1) Enter the Children’s Garden 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.
2) Take Selfies with the Scarecrows
Just inside of the entrance you’ll find a few scarecrow friends waiting for photos.
3) Visit the Giant Pumpkins at the Farm Garden
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.
4) Take Selfies in the Pumpkin Patch
Put little kids in this grassy area filled with oversized pumpkins and they immediately start climbing.
Haybales and cornstalks flank the area, ready for your family selfies and candid shots.
5) Drink in the Quiet Beauty of the Japanese Garden
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.
6) Take Photos Against the Autumn Backdrop
Trek through the sculpture park and be on the look out for nature’s interaction with the art.
Vibrant colors from changing foliage may gift you with once-in-a-lifetime displays.
7) 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.
8) Attend Hallowee-Ones in Late October
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
Let Meijer Gardens Sweep You Away This Christmas Season
This holiday season treat yourself to all the festivities a Frederik Meijer Gardens Christmas can bring.
Take in the lights and trees, indulge in a Christmas carol or two, enjoy the dazzling light show, cross items off your shopping list, and return to childhood wonder as you follow miniature trains, pet the reindeer, and visit Santa.
With these activities and events sure to please the whole family, a Meijer Gardens Christmas is a perfect way to get that extra dose of holiday cheer!
Christmas & Holiday Traditions at Frederik Meijer Gardens runs from Thanksgiving week through New Year’s weekend,
In addition to the regular Tuesday late hours, they will be open until 9 pm.
Meijer Gardens is closed for the day on Thanksgiving, December 25, and January 1.
All activities listed below are included with admission.