A Parent’s Guide to Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

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Frederik Meijer Gardens Will Enthrall the Whole Family

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, known as FMG to locals, contains over 150 acres of fun for every family member. 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.

Follow our guide for insider tips and tricks on how to make the most out of your trip to FMG. Soon, you’ll be doing the gardens like a local and have your own favorite spots.

My favorite suggestion? You must visit The American Horse by Nina Akamu. Kids and adults alike will enjoy posing with this enormous 24-foot sculpture and rolling down the hills nearby.

Before you go to Frederik Meijer Gardens

Bring a stroller. This will keep you sane navigating through the large campus. This also gives you a place to stash all your belongings.

-Come dressed for the weather. We all know Michigan weather changes in an instant – so make sure you’re prepared.

-Bring your camera – Meijer Gardens has plenty of gorgeous spots for photos. You can snap some among the flowers or near sculptures, and the Children’s Garden also gives a chance to to get great candids of the kiddos. I always walk away with a ridiculous amount of pictures to choose from.

-Other items you may need: sunscreen, water bottles, snacks (or money for their delicious cafe!) and a change of clothes or bathing suits (driving toy boats in the Great Lakes pools can drench a kid).

Visit the Children’s Garden

No trip to Meijer Gardens is complete without a visit to the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden. Here are some tips we’ve learned along the way:

  • Let the kids enter through the Mouse Hole gate.
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  • It’s natural to want to go clockwise, but try traveling in reverse. This way you save the Great Lakes for last and avoid getting wet until the end.
  • Bang on the bongos and then ring the bell in the Butterfly Maze.
  • Follow the Labyrinth and take the back trail to the Treehouse Village. There is a nature quiz set up on the boardwalk and quite a few animals if you look closely.
Children's garden at Frederick Meijer Gardens
  • Explore the upper and lower levels of the Treehouse and play among the trees.
  • Be sure to stop inside the Log Cabin for old fashioned fun. There are many old time games worth investigating.
  • The Rock Quarry is next – kids can dig for fossils with shovels and hand-operated diggers.
  • As you travel towards the Great Lakes Garden, stop at the Wooded Wetlands and visit the (puppet) beavers in the Beaver Cave.
  • Use all your senses in the Kid-Sense Garden by finding leaves that feel like lamb’s ear, flowers that look like eyeballs and plants that smell like popcorn.
  • Finally 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 so I bring a change of clothes or even their bathing suit. Shoes are required.
Meijer Gardens parent guide

Go Beyond the Children’s Garden

  • Hop on the tram (or Kids’ tram when available) $4 for adults, $2 for kids 12 and younger. The schedules are posted daily at the Information Desk and Tram Ticket Office.
  • The Waterfalls & Koi Pond – perfect spot for pictures and giant fish!
Meijer Gardens girl and fish pond
  • The Farm Garden – an 1880’s replica farmhouse where you can ring the bell, pump water and rock on the porch.
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  • FMG Indoors – go check out the Arid Garden, go through the Carnivorous Plant House and explore the Tropical Conservancy. Be sure to visit the cafe and see if there are any kid-friendly activities in one of the art gallery exhibit rooms.

Events at the Gardens

Many 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 (November 21 – January 7): 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.
  • Artprize: the only venue outside of GR city limits that hosts a series of artists.

About Frederik Meijer Gardens

Frederik Meijer Gardens
1000 East Beltline Ave NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49525

The Gardens are open from 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM, except for Sundays (open at 11:00 AM) and Tuesdays (open until 9:00 PM)

Rates vary by age, with prices between $4-$14.50 per person. Children under two are free. Membership information can be found here.

Did we miss anything? Share with us in the comments!

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