Recently while I was visiting Grand Rapids, Michigan and had an opportunity to spend time exploring the Frederik Meijer Sculpture Park and Gardens. It was a wonderful few hours on a gorgeous summer day and I loved the mixture of art, nature, and cultivated gardens. The Gardens opened in 1995, sits on 158 acres and aims to promote an understanding of gardens, sculpture, nature, and the arts.
Given that the site is 158 acres and that we had a limited time frame we were selective about which areas of the Gardens we explored. We spent the bulk of our time exploring the Sculpture Park which is 30 acres of outdoor paths, formal gardens, and natural landscape all geared to showcase large outdoor sculptures. There was a mixture of modern and traditional sculpture with some of my favourites being huge metal sculptures that were large enough to walk under. I also liked that they intentionally left some areas of the sculpture park ‘wild’ or more natural, it provided a great contrast to the sculptures.
In addition to the sculpture park during our visit there was also an indoor exhibition, Ai Weiwei at Meiher Gardens: Natural State. As part of this show Ai Weiwei’s work was in a formal gallery space but also located in conservatories and public spaces. Ai Weiwei is known as an activist and artist and much of his work on display was politically motivated or providing critical commentary on social events.
We also spent some time viewing around the indoor conservatories, the British style outdoor garden area, and the kids garden. We concluded our visiting the daylily show and competition that just happened to be occurring the day we visited. Lilies are one of my favourite flowers and I adored seeing the range of colours and styles of flowers featured in the show.
Overall this was a really great way to spend a morning, I left feeling like I learned something and also feeling really relaxed after spending so much time outside among beautiful garden spaces. I would definitely recommend this site to anyone traveling through Grand Rapids.