Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park celebrated its $115 million expansion project with a groundbreaking/kickoff.
A Prairie Fire Crabapple Tree ceremoniously extracted from the Meijer Gardens site where the new 60,000 square foot LEED certified Welcome Center will be constructed.
Twenty-two years ago when the gardens and sculpture park opened its 940 square feet admissions space was designed to greet 200,000 visitors a year. Since then the number of annual guests has more than tripled.
“The space is just going to wow you. It’s going to be a spectacular display of our horticulture and sculpture.” David Hooker is Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park President and CEO. “I think many people will come and it will take a half-hour, 40 minutes to pass the welcome center because it’s going to be so beautiful.”
We asked Hooker of all the exhibition spaces in West Michigan, across the country and around the world how is this a game-changer for Meijer Gardens?
“There are a lot of places that are dedicated to the arts. You know, our sort of niche in the world is this combination of horticulture and sculpture together. There are other places that have fantastic sculpture and other places do it well with horticulture, too. But we’ve really tried to make that our mainstay and our brand and I really believe that that’s unique to here and you can’t find anything else like it in the whole world.”
It all began with Fred Meijer’s appreciation for sculpture and his wife Lena’s love for gardening. She was on hand for the Welcoming the World: Honoring a Legacy of Love ceremony. “It’s just overwhelming to me. Everyone is so nice here and I just…It’s been great. It’s been great.”
The $115 million expansion also includes a 20,000 square foot Covenant Learning Center, expansion and upgrade of the amphitheater, new Sculpture Garden Entry Plaza and Outdoor Picnic Pavilion to name a few.
Patrick Center, WGVU News.