Museums Unframed - Grand Rapids’ Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park
Museums don’t have to mean long, silent hallways with a bunch of old stuff framed on the walls. In parks, galleries and halls of fame from Vegas to D.C., there are tons of cool things for your ogling pleasure. What does your family want to discover this weekend?
Amy S. Eckert
Even adults like to lie under the raised hoof of Nina Akamu’s “The American Horse,” as if daring the 24-foot-high bronze steed to stomp on them. Others survey a 42-foot-tall, red steel Alexander Liberman sculpture as it stands against the sky and try to figure out why it’s called “Aria.”
Grand Rapids’ Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park has the reputation of being more than a showcase for great art; it’s also known for simply being fun. After all, it’s easy enough to draw mod-ern art lovers with works by Auguste Rodin, Keith Haring and Mark di Suvero; it’s quite another to draw guests who don’t believe they like modern art in the first place.
Perhaps the credit is due the artists’ great mastery and the gardens’ playful selections. But the park’s setting, on 125 rolling acres, must account for some of its appeal. Crisscrossed by nature trails and boardwalks, the gardens burst with daffodils and tulips in spring and coneflowers and hydran-geas in summer. The 5-acre Lena Meijer Children’s Garden, one of the largest in the nation, is also on-site.
More than 100 additional artworks fill Meijer Gardens’ indoor Gallery Collection, with works by Alex-ander Calder, Edgar Degas and Roy Lichtenstein. And the 15,000-square-foot conservatory houses ex-otic plants. Make time for the most comprehensive Carnivorous Plant House in the Midwest, where pitcher plants and Venus flytraps swallow insects and fascinate guests of all ages.