My husband and I have two boys, ages 3 and 1. While some days we would like to sit around and relax, we know that’s pretty impossible with both of them! They are often on the move and always ready for the next big adventure that awaits them. One of our favorite places to take the boys year-round is Frederik Meijer Gardens. Since moving back to Michigan, we’ve gone so often that we decided to take advantage of their yearly family membership. It is well worth the price.

Our favorite times during the year to go are during their holiday exhibition (November 20 – January 6 this year), when the butterflies are blooming (March 1 – April 30) and anytime during the summer months. There are a ton of outdoor activities and my boys can easily spend hours playing with the toy boats in the Great Lakes Garden pool. They love running around the treehouse village and digging around in the huge sandbox. There are also walking trails and many beautiful pieces of art to see. For my oldest son, his favorite thing to see is The American Horse – a 24-foot bronze sculpture. It is massive!

During the winter, Meijer Gardens offers story time on Tuesdays for kids 2-5 which focuses on a different topic each week. We’ve also done their winter walks, which are always fun and a great way to get outside in the winter.

My family likes to arrive to the park early, especially on the weekends, and then stay for lunch. They have a great café with lots of kid-friendly and adult options. Right now, the café has the added bonus of a nice view of the all the construction that’s going on. My boys think it’s part of the attraction and love watching all the big trucks and cranes while eating lunch.

Speaking of construction…if you go there soon, you will notice there is a lot of that going on right now at the Gardens. Although it may look messy, they really do have it organized, so don’t let it discourage you from making the trip.

Don’t forget to stop at the gift shop on the way out. It offers an array of fun, interactive, and educational children’s toys, along with hard to find, unique gifts for adults. Sometimes, if the boys have been good…we stop in after our visit and pick out something small.

For more information on location, pricing, hours, and exhibits check out

About the Author: Lindsey Balcazar

Lindsey is a mother of two and is currently a Business Development Specialist at Coldwell Banker. After growing up in West Michigan, Lindsey moved to Chicago but then decided that West Michigan was where she wanted to start a family. Now, she can’t imagine living anywhere else.