Spring is a magical time of year. Nature returns to life, and the landscape changes from muted greys and browns to pretty pastels. Even the air changes with the rich, fresh scent of soil and new plant life. Naturally, spring is a time to get outside and awaken our senses after winter’s slumber. We have the perfect place. During your stay at Castle in the Country, take a day trip to Grand Rapids to visit the enchanting Frederick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. Or, if you’re just visiting the Park, make it a getaway with an overnight stay at Castle in the Country Bed & Breakfast, a nature-lover’s paradise on 65 secluded acres.
The Frederick Meijer Gardens has welcomed over 12 million visitors since 1995. Through horticulture, sculpture, the natural environment, and performing arts, this park promotes enjoyment and education for all visitors. The question isn’t whether or not you should visit, it’s when and where to start!
There is so much to see and do at Meijer Gardens, be sure to plan an entire day. Here’s a list of some of the Gardens’ highlights to get you started.
The outdoor gardens are designed for year-round enjoyment with plants for every season. Stroll forests on the winding Wege Nature Trail or through natural wetlands on the Frey Boardwalk. Bring your camera and binoculars to capture beautiful birds, a tadpole pond, and picturesque vistas.
- Gwen Frostic Woodland Shade Garden – Features Woodland plants, such as ferns, hostas, rhododendrons, azaleas and bleeding hearts, while honoring the influence of Gwen Frostic, a well-known naturalist artist.
- The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden – The most recent addition to Meijer Gardens (2015), this uniquely beautiful and tranquil space is a must-see. You’ll discover waterfalls, an authentic Japanese tea house, Japanese maples and flowering cherries, and so much more. A Japanese garden is steeped in centuries of tradition and features three essential elements: rocks, water and plants. The plants provide seasonal diversity and color throughout the year.
- Michigan’s Farm Garden – Reminiscent of a quaint 1930s family farm, the Farm Garden will reward you with a trip back in time to an when people lived off the land. Highlights include a farmhouse, barn, animal pens and gardens.
- Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater – Home to the annual Fifth-Third Bank Outdoor Summer Concert Series and other musical events throughout the year.
SEASONAL GARDENS & EXHIBITIONS
- Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming – This annual exhibition features more than 6,000 tropical butterflies from 50+ species that freely fly in a five-story, 15,000 square foot tropical conservatory. Open each March and April, this is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibit in the United States. Over 150,000 visitors flock here each year to see these magical and colorful insects flutter by.
- Chrysanthemums and More! – See the largest display of its kind in Michigan. You will discover expansive displays of chrysanthemum and fall foliage during the autumn months.
- Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World – Visitors and residents alike celebrate the holidays here each November and December with over 40 different cultures and traditions from around the world, holiday trees and displays both indoors and out, horse-drawn carriage rides, and more than 300,000 twinkling lights.
The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory is a 5-story, 15,000 square-feet facility. Inside, you’ll discover rock landscapes, a variety of exotic plants from around the globe, and even a waterfall. Tropical plants include orchids from Central and South America, fig trees from India, and Asiatic bamboo and banana plants.
Other indoor gardens include:
- Kenneth E. Nelson Carnivorous Plant House
- Earl and Donnalee Holton Arid Garden
- Earl and Donnalee Holton Victorian Garden
- Grace Jarecki Seasonal Display Greenhouse
- Permanent Sculpture Collection – Meijer Gardens features a permanent collection of almost 300 sculptures by renowned artists like: Auguste Rodin, Edgar Degas, Henry Moore, Alexander Calder, Louise Bourgeois and Richard Serra. You’ll find works both indoors and out in a variety of settings. To find the greatest concentration of work, head to the sculpture park, which boasts 30 acres of art.
- Temporary Sculpture Exhibitions – In addition to the permanent collection, the Park exhibits a variety of temporary works by artists such as Magdalena Abakanowicz, George Segal, Dale Chihuly, and Anthony Caro. At times, these impressive exhibitions head outdoors onto the lawn of the Balk Specialty Collection Garden or Keeler Sculpture Terrace.
At the end of the day, you will be so glad you took the time to visit the enchanting Frederick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. In fact, you will most likely return. Next time, try a different season as each season offers its own natural treasures. No matter the season, we will be here to welcome you back in our luxurious and comfortable bed and breakfast in the Southwest Michigan countryside. You will enjoy walking the Castle grounds with your sweetheart, hand in hand, enjoying nature. We have walking trails through the woods, a peaceful lake, and plenty to do – just the two of you. Choose your favorite guest room and book today.