About

About

Always Growing. Always Beautiful. Always New. Bringing joy to the lives of over 12 million guests since 1995.

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park promotes the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environment and the arts. Meijer Gardens is a charitable 501 (c)(3) not-for-profit cultural organization with a Board of Directors overseeing the successful operation of the organization.

History

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened in April 1995 after 13 years of planning and fundraising by the West Michigan Horticultural Society. In 1990, Fred & Lena Meijer were asked for their support, and they embraced the concept of a major cultural attraction centering around horticulture & sculpture. The original vision has turned into a top cultural destination in the Midwest region, known internationally for the quality of the art and gardens.

Meijer Gardens' commitment is to create a legacy of lifelong learning, enjoyment and a rich cultural experience for generations to come. It is a non-profit organization, privately funded by grants, foundations and individual and corporate gifts. The organization is operated by almost 200 full and part-time staff, more than 850 active volunteers and supported by gifts from more than 28,000 member households and many donors. 

Meijer Gardens promotes the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environment and the arts. 

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, located at 1000 East Beltline N.E. in Grand Rapids, MI, opened to the public in April of 1995. One of the nation’s most significant sculpture and botanic experiences, Meijer Gardens includes Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; five indoor theme gardens; outdoor gardens, nature trails and boardwalk; sculpture galleries and permanent sculpture collection; library; café; gift shop; education center and meeting rooms. Both indoors and outdoors, the 158-acre main campus is barrier free and handicap accessible. Our 2009 building upgrade was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver status by the USGBC (U.S Green Building Council) and most recent expansion was sustainably designed with LEED Certification in mind. Since it opened, Meijer Gardens has attracted more than twelve million visitors.

Fact Sheet

The Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory is a five-story, 15,000 square-foot facility featuring rock landscapes, a waterfall and a variety of exotic plant selections. The conservatory houses tropical plants from around the world, including fig trees from India, exotic orchids from Central and South America, Asiatic bamboo and banana plants. Additional indoor gardens include the Kenneth E. Nelson Carnivorous Plant House, Earl and Donnalee Holton Arid Garden (featuring Saguaro cacti), the Earl and Donnalee Holton Victorian Garden, and the Grace Jarecki Seasonal Display Greenhouse.

The outdoor gardens feature four-season plantings that can be enjoyed throughout the year. To foster an educational awareness of the numerous ecosystems in West Michigan, the Wege Nature Trail winds through a forested section while the Frey Boardwalk introduces visitors to the natural wetlands. Featured on these walks are bird watching sites, a tadpole pond and vistas of woodlands and wetlands. From watching the snow fall to the leaves changing color, these areas are perfect for experiencing Michigan’s changing landscapes.

The Gwen Frostic Woodland Shade Garden commemorates the artistic influence of this well-known naturalist artist and features woodland plants like ferns, hostas, bleeding hearts, rhododendrons and azaleas. The recently expanded and reimagined Tassell-Wisner-Bottrall English Perennial Garden and Volunteer Tribute Garden are two additional outdoor features highlighting the organization’s continuing commitment to horticulture.

The sculpture program at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is composed of both an internationally-acclaimed permanent collection and dynamic exhibition programs. The permanent collection features nearly 300 works, including important examples ranging from Auguste Rodin and Edgar Degas, to Henry Moore and Alexander Calder to Louise Bourgeois and Richard Serra. Works are sited in both interior settings as well as featured outdoors across the gardens and grounds. The greatest concentration of work is featured in the 30-acre sculpture park, which plays host to both colossal and more traditional scale works uniquely sited in a natural environment. Of special interest are recent acquisitions by Ai Weiwei, Lee Ufan, Yinka Shonibare CBE and El Anatsui. Learn more about the Sculpture Park »

In addition, Meijer Gardens hosts rotating temporary sculpture exhibitions every year. A suite of indoor galleries are currently undergoing expansion. Major presentations of artists ranging from Magdalena Abakanowicz to George Segal, Dale Chihuly to Rebecca Louise Law have captured widespread critical acclaim. Many temporary exhibitions have included outdoor installations on the lawns of the Balk Specialty Collection Garden or on the Keeler Sculpture Terrace. These spaces are currently being reimagined as part of our Welcoming the World: Honoring a Legacy of Love expansion project.

The Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden is the most recent major garden addition to Meijer Gardens, which opened in June 2015. The eight-acre project, designed by Hoichi Kurisu, features traditional components such as waterfalls, elevation changes, extensive boulder placement, authentic Japanese structures and a functioning teahouse. The Japanese garden, located in the middle of the 158-acre campus, embraces the essence of traditional Japanese gardens—tranquility, contemplation and beauty while incorporating contemporary sculpture by international artists. The design effectively uses space to highlight contrasts between still and rushing water, between quietly intimate spaces and expansive open spaces, and between manicured and natural areas.

The Lena Meijer Children’s Garden is one of the largest interactive children’s gardens in the country. Here children can look through viewing ports to answer questions about sculpture, dig into the sand quarry to uncover information about fossils and sail through the Great Lakes at the Great Lakes Garden water feature. They can explore tree houses, a log cabin, a butterfly labyrinth, a sense garden and a child-sized beaver lodge. Highlighting hundreds of plants as well as whimsical, child-oriented sculptures, it also features natural wetlands running through the middle of it.

The farmhouse, barn, gardens and animal pens located within Michigan's Farm Garden are reminders of a 1930s family farm where the land supplied the family with groceries and income, a time when every family member helped with chores. The farmhouse is a three–quarters scale model of Lena (Rader) Meijer's childhood home. Farm animals are represented by bronze sculptures throughout this beloved garden. See the various vegetable gardens and flower beds dedicated to heirloom varieties behind the farmhouse. Some of the produce grown here ends up in the delicious food served in the James & Shirley Balk Café. This delightful setting also includes an orchard, a sugar shack, a produce stand, a windmill and a replica outhouse.

The Frederik Meijer Gardens Amphitheater is a distinguished venue for the Fifth Third Bank Summer Concert Series and other entertainment events each year. The outdoor amphitheater boasts brilliant acoustics and tiered lawn seating for 1,900 people. Artists who have been featured on the Amphitheater stage include Bonnie Raitt, Steve Miller Band, B.B. King, Lyle Lovett and Willie Nelson.

The Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming is an annual butterfly exhibition that takes place every March and April, featuring nearly 7,000 tropical butterflies from more than 50 species of South American, Central American, African and Asian origin that fly free in the five-story, 15,000 square foot Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory. This is the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibit in the nation and attracts more than 180,000 visitors during the months of March and April.

Chrysanthemums & More! features expansive chrysanthemum displays, fall foliage and fun activities. Indoors, the Grace Jarecki Seasonal Display Greenhouse features a cascading chrysanthemum-covered wall as the main focal point. Presentations of chrysanthemum spheres, large disbuds and beds of colorful planting complement this display in the nearby Earl and Donnalee Holton Victorian Garden Parlor. Outdoors, expansive beds of lush chrysanthemums are arranged in large sweeps of scarlet, purple, orange and gold. Tuesdays at the Farm, Giant Pumpkins, Hallowee-Ones and other fall-themed activities full of family fun are available during this exhibition.

Metro Health Christmas & Holiday Traditions is a celebration that takes place every November through early Janury. Featuring 44 different cultures and customs from around the world, trees and displays both indoors and out, more than 300,000 Christmas lights, visits from Santa and educational activities to coincide with the exhibition. The Railway Garden expands through three lush indoor gardens with a model train traveling past glittering lights and over high trestles. Within the garden are buildings modeled after landmarks in Grand Rapids and our Sister Cities around the world, all handmade out of natural materials.

Partners

 

Meijer Gardens is a proud recipient of Operational Support and Capital Improvement funding from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs (MCACA) including federal support through the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). As a grantee, Meijer Gardens advances our mission to promote the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environment, and the arts. To see a full list of all our generous corporate partners, please visit this link.

Organizational Resources

Charity Navigator is America's premier independent charity evaluator. They help charitable givers make intelligent giving decisions by providing in-depth, objective ratings and analysis of the financial health, accountability and transparency of America's largest charities. Charity Navigator awarded Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park four out of a possible four stars. This indicates that we adhere to good governance and other best practices that minimize the chance of unethical activities and consistently execute our mission in a fiscally responsible way. Please click on the logo to review our four star rating.

Organizational Mission: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park promotes the enjoyment, understanding and appreciation of gardens, sculpture, the natural environment and the arts.

Accessibility Statement: Accessible for all. Both indoor and outdoor spaces are barrier-free, with ramps, elevators and paved pathways to accommodate wheelchairs and strollers and allow easy maneuverability. Courtesy wheelchairs are available for use. Although pets are prohibited, certified service dogs are welcome.

2021-22 Board of Directors

Key Staff Listing

Donor Privacy Policy

Cultural Data Project Funder Report

2020 Annual Report

2020 Financial Statement

2020 Audit Statement

Record Retention Policy

Whistleblower Policy

Charity Navigator Rating

Careers

If you are interested in working for one of West Michigan’s premier cultural institutions and a highly-motivated team, view a full list of job opportunities. We offer full-time, part-time, as well as seasonal and internship positions. 

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is an Equal Opportunity Employer. 

COVID-19

In accordance with the Kent County Health Department Order dated August 20, 2021, masks are required in the Covenant Learning Center and Curiosity Courtyard: A Garden Discovery Experience areas for children age 4 through 6th grade. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), face coverings/masks are recommended for guests ages 2+ in all indoor areas.

The risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. Senior citizens and guests with underlying medical conditions are especially vulnerable.

By visiting Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, you are assuming all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and all other diseases.