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This park is actually located in Muskegon, Michigan, but as it was part of my lift when I lived in Grand Rapids, and not really When I was a child, this was a fairly small amusement park with a train ride and a few scattered small rides. It was a place to spend a summer afternoon, but could not hold a candle to the big amusement parks in Ohio or Indiana or on the way to Chicago.
However, before my family left Michigan for Oregon, a few changes had been made. As one example, the train was originally a fairly short and uninteresting loop around the rides area. By 1978, the train was making an entire loop around the entire amusement park land, including a vast area that was undeveloped forest.
At that time, the majority of the park land was undeveloped forest, and the train ride really felt like you were going somewhere due to the forest through which the train traveled - quite distant from the rest of the developed part of the park.
Today, if you read the Wikipedia entry for this amusement park, you will find that the place has vastly changed - which you can expect after 30 years. Among other things, it is now the biggest amusement park in Michigan. The lake in the forest where people used to fish from docks has been replaced by a whole development of water park rides.
Updated Sep 4, 2011
I remember this nature center as having trails scattered through the woods, and an interpretive center that allowed children to learn about wild places. Long before it was in style elsewhere in the USA, Grand Rapids had a place for children to learn of nature.
Written Sep 4, 2011
If you like art and architecture then surely don't miss out on a visit to Meyer May House.
This is a Frank Lloyd Wright designed house which was built in 1908. You can have a tour of this wonderful home.
Updated Apr 4, 2011
On our way to Canada for the weekend we stopped in Grand Rapids to visit the Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, specifically to see the Chihuly exhibit that is running through October 31, 2010. There are 15 spots throughout the gardens and park that have Chihuly works placed in them, many of them integrating into nature. My favorite spot was the Groves and Hekman Pond where they have a spiky blue and white glass ball on a spike, multiple glass balls floating in the pond and a fishing boat filled with 137 individual pieces of blown glass.
In addition to the temporary exhibition of Chihuly works, there are permanent sculptures from more than 30 artists including Auguste Rodin, Alexander Calder and Joan Miro
Admission is $12 for adults which is a little steep in the current economic climate but even on a Thursday there were quite a few visitors.
For some photos of the Chihuly exhibit and a few more sculpture photos, see the travelogues
Updated Aug 25, 2010
Address: 1000 East Beltline NE
Located just 15 minutes north of Grand Rapids, by taking main roads, the Village of Sparta holds their annual town and country days celebration every year the 3rd week of July.
Attractions include a huge book sale, art exhibit, nature camp, second best sales, a kids carnival put on by the boy scouts, a regular carnival with rides and games, a pig roast, craft projects for kids, concerts, food bake-offs and contests, health fair, museum tours (we have an old schoolhouse museum and a railroad depot museum), watermelon social, a 5K run, a children's fun run, an obstacle course (for the whole family!), volleyball and basketball tournaments, a bubble show, a children's entertainer, face painting, pony rides, a tractor show, a huge car show, a big wheel truck show, a french toast breakfast, a cattle show, 2 parades (one a children's parade the other a large parade through town), a cattle show, a pet show, beer tent, bale (hay) tossing competition, texas hold-em tournament, clowns, karoke and much much more!!! Also the local shops have specials on shopping and hold drawings and contests, and the local neighborhoods are filled with garage sales....
it's a great place to be the 3rd week of July!!! We're having a party, and you're invited, so come on out and see the Village of Sparta, what a neighborhood should be!!!!
Written Jul 12, 2008
Address: Downtown Sparta
Phone: (616) 887-1334
One of the main tourist attractions in Grand Rapids. Although the idea of visiting a gardens might not appeal to some... I think the sculpture park is what makes this stand out from other "gardens". Although I'm not really an artistic person, I loved viewing the various sculptures around the park.
The highlight of course is "Leonardo Da Vinci's Horse"... a gigantic horse sculpture which you need to see for yourself!
The sculpture park does involve a little bit of walking, however there was also a tram that drove around so that if you weren't into all the walking, you could leisurely ride and view the various sculptures.
Along with that of course is the actual gardens which contains some pretty interesting things to see.
Written Aug 5, 2007
Address: 1000 East Beltline Ave, NE
Phone: (616) 957-1580
I would imagine this would be a wonderful place to visit on a snowy winter day in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is an inviting room full of lovely blooms and foliage. I love the way the table and chairs are tucked under the large plants.
Updated Aug 14, 2005
The outdoor acreage also includes this natural wildlife habitat. Meijer Gardens is in the process of reestablishing the environment for indiginous wildlife. This can be viewed from a boardwalk that meanders nicely through large growths of trees and woods.
Written Aug 13, 2005
The gardens also include meandering trails and a boardwalk along a marshy area.
Even here you will see the sculptures that reflect the wildlife that inhabits the area.
These are the three biggest frogs I've ever seen in a swamp!
Written Aug 13, 2005
At the front of the entrance there is a sculpture of a full size bear. The garden is five acres and one of the largest gardens for children in the nation. It is open year round and is totally wheelchair accessible.
The garden focuses on gardennig, wildlife and nature found in the Great Lakes area.
There are ten themed areas; including a log cabin, a story-telling area, a Rock Quarry containing living fossils and more.
Written Aug 13, 2005
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