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play, learn & explore

Lena Meijer Children's Garden

The Lena Meijer Children’s Garden invites children to play, learn and explore. This garden fosters experiential learning and the use of all five senses. Interaction is encouraged as children are welcome to use their senses by smelling and touching specific plants designed for interacting. Whether in the Kid-Sense Garden discovering leaves that feel like lambs’ ears, launching a boat in the Great Lakes, digging for buried fossils in the Rock Quarry or listening to a story, the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden offers plenty of opportunities for family fun!

Children's Garden


Great Lakes Garden (Seasonal)

The Great Lakes Garden inside the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden is a seasonal, interactive mini-replica of the Great Lakes. Children can launch a boat, build a bridge and walk on all the Great Lakes states.

Permanent Features: 

  • Frog sculpture by Marshall Fredericks 
  • Sailboats with moveable rudder, fabric sail and a flag  
  • Representations of the five Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario) 
  • Mid-west plaza with state boundaries and capitols 
  • Water features 
  • Great Lakes Fish Interactive Magnet Wall (Yellow Perch, Brook Trout, Catfish, Pumpkin Seed and Sturgeon) 
  • Lighthouse Feature 
  • Sundial (Compass Rose) and Overlook 

Treehouse Village

Treehouse Village in the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden is fun for all ages! Climb into the treehouse village and discover all five themes – and one giant bird’s nest! Kids can sit in the enormous nest, find out “Who Lives Here” or look for giant insects.

Permanent Features: 

  • Eight simulated trees, with bark 
  • Raised representations of leaves, seed/fruit /flowers represented shapes on plaques 
  • Large bird’s nest with giant whimsical bird’s eggs 
  • Viewports focusing on bird decoys 
  • Eight simulated creatures in upper level
  • Giant spider and web in lower level
  • Table and stools
  • Kitchen cabinets and sink
  • Tea party table and chairs (seasonal)

Storytelling Garden

The Storytelling Garden inside the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden has spots to put on a puppet or theater show, complete with performance hut and amphitheater seats. 

Permanent Features: 

  • Garden presentation of nursery rhymes and stories 
  • Grandpa the Storyteller sculpture by Victor
  • Issa Storytelling hut and amphitheater 

Entry Plaza

Enter through a child-sized gate to begin your Lena Meijer Children’s Garden adventure!

Kid-Sense Garden

Use all five senses in the Kid-Sense Garden, in the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden. You can find something new each season. Summer through Fall, find a leaf that feels like a lamb’s ear, discover a flower that looks like an eyeball or sniff a plant that smells like buttered popcorn.

Horticultural Features: 

  • Smell: peppermint, thyme, basil, licorice, etc. 
  • Smell: sweet peas, heliotrope, lilies, alyssum, etc. 
  • Sight: petunias, zinnias, etc. 
  • Sound: gourds, bamboo, grasses, trumpet vine, violas, etc. 
  • Touch: lamb’s ear, strawflower, etc. 
  • Taste: mints, lettuce, green onion, radishes, etc. 


The Wetlands in the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden allows children to enter the kid-sized beaver lodge and use their imagination to pretend to be beavers.

Permanent Features: 

  • Wetland Fact Plates 
  • Viewports in the Wetlands Overlook

Rock Quarry

Dig for buried fossils with your hands or shovels in the Rock Quarry in the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden.

Permanent Features: 

  • Animal tracks and leaf imprints in the pavement 
  • Raised sand table 
  • Cave niche 
  • Granite Painted Turtle- Jason Quigno
  • Buried Michigan fossils -uncover and identify fossils and bones buried beneath the sand 
  • Fossil rock, concretion, earthquake rock, pudding stone, hematite, glacial boulder, Jacobsville sandstone, tillite, granite 
  • Sand Sculpting Tools

Horticultural Features: 

  • Living fossils: 
      • Gingko 
      • Dawn Redwood 
      • Horsetails 
      • Mosses 

Log Cabin

The cabin was designed by a master craftsman, Andy Carlson, in Newaygo County.  The logs were harvested from that area, which was a major lumber center in the late 1800’s, with white pine the major source.  It was harvested and sent down the Muskegon River to saw mills near the lakeshore.  This cabin is quite typical of a home for a frontier family.  Most cabins were built low and small with a fireplace for heat.  Obviously, the smaller the space the easier it is to heat in the dead of winter.  The thick logs add a reasonable degree of insulation.  They are all white pine, which is easy to work with yet durable if kept dry.  This cabin has a cedar shake roof, which, if property cared for, will last up to 50 years.  The fireplace if built in a shallow fashion for maximum heat deflection and cooking.  It is a very simple structure by today’s standards yet very proven. 


Butterfly Maze

Solve the Butterfly Maze inside the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden. Navigate the right path and ring the bell to sound a victory!

Woodland Boardwalk

Read the signs and take the Naturalist Challenge. Listen carefully to discover animals that live here. Look for animal sculptures. 

Fun For all Ages

So Much Fun

Programming At The Children's Garden


Sunday 11 am - 5 pm
Monday 9 am - 5 pm
Tuesday 9 am - 9 pm
Wednesday 9 am - 5 pm
Thursday 9 am - 5 pm
Friday 9 am - 5 pm
Saturday 9 am - 5 pm


Members (with ID) FREE
Adults (14-64) $20.00
Seniors (65 and older) $15.00
Students (with student ID) $15.00
Museums for All $2.00
Children (3-13) $10
Children (2 and younger) FREE


Path closure

Due to a landscape project in the Richard and Helen DeVos Japanese Garden, the tram path behind the Japanese garden will be closed to foot traffic this week.

Please follow posted signs. Thank you for your understanding.

Spring Break Hours

Extended Hours

Enjoy extended spring break hours until 9 pm on April 1-5.

Extended Member Early Hours

Each Sunday from 9-11 am during Fred & Dorothy Fichter Butterflies Are Blooming and Saturday, April 6, from 8-9 am. 


Sunday 11:00 am - 5:00 pm
Monday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday 9:00 am - 9:00 pm
Wednesday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Saturday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm


Members (with ID) FREE
Adults (14-64) $20.00
Seniors (65 and older) $15.00
Students (with student ID) $15.00
Museums for All $2.00
Children (3-13) $10
Children (2 and younger) FREE