Meijer Gardens Celebrates the Handcrafted Highlights of the Holidays with 46 International Traditions

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Beloved ‘Metro Health Christmas & Holiday Traditions’ exhibition explores handcrafted traditions from around the globe.

Lit up trees glow in winter weather at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

Metro Health Christmas & Holiday Traditions at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

“This year, we are showcasing handmade elements of traditions from all over the world,” said Steve LaWarre, Director of Horticulture. “Guests will encounter the work of hundreds of skilled and caring hands and experience the details and attention that goes into creating these traditions.”

Experience the wonder of the holidays at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park with the annual Metro Health Christmas & Holiday Traditions exhibition, on display from November 24 through January 3, 2021. Guests from all over the world visit Meijer Gardens to experience 46 trees and displays representing countries and cultures from across the globe. The adored and enchanting Railway Garden, and the holiday wonderland that encompasses it, will once again loop through three lush indoor garden spaces, including the Grace Jarecki Seasonal Display Greenhouse.

Guests are invited to ring in the holiday season with our most beloved winter exhibition. This year, Meijer Gardens celebrates handcrafted traditions and explores the care that goes into creating these treasured traditions by hand. Celebrate the creativity on display at Meijer Gardens that is made with hundreds of skilled and caring hands.

Each winter, Meijer Gardens transforms into a botanic wonderland with fresh poinsettias, orchids and amaryllis. The smell of evergreens as visitors enter the building and the sounds of carolers make it a place to reflect and enjoy the holiday season. Indoors and out, our grounds sparkle with 300,000 lights. Hundreds of volunteers lovingly decorate the trees and set up the displays.

The unique horticultural artistry of the Railway Garden complements the trolleys, trains and handcrafted buildings replicating 37 Grand Rapids landmarks. Visitors will find familiarity in the Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital replica building, with its iconic glass exterior made of hundreds of individual hydrangea flower petals, as well as royal poinciana pods, pomegranate, Japanese fantail willow and bamboo that make up the architecture of the Van Andel Institute replica building. Five landmarks from Grand Rapids’ sister cities around the world are also represented in the Railway Garden.

Mainstays of the exhibition include the German tree, adorned with handmade glass ornaments and homemade springerle cookies; India’s rangoli featuring colorful designs and patterns uniquely created by hand each year and the Ghana display, showcasing the beautiful bespoke kente cloth & adinkra cloth which are visual representations of the history, religious beliefs and social values of Ghanaians.

In many cultures, the holidays bring people together in distinct and memorable ways that are difficult to capture in a display. Meijer Gardens is presenting the original film, joy, which explores the diverse festive fabric that is holiday life across our local communities. This film will be shown continuously in the Hoffman Family Auditorium and is also available on the Meijer Gardens YouTube channel.

A limited number of family-friendly activities are offered throughout the exhibition. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, some exhibition elements and activities will be altered to allow for physical distancing. In addition, due to State of Michigan guidelines, our capacities have been limited. There may be times when admission will be slightly delayed during peak times.

Exhibition Activities:

  • Extended Holiday Hours: Open until 9 pm on November 24, December 1, 8, 14–19, 21–23, 26, 28–30

PLEASE NOTE: Meijer Gardens will be closed on November 26, December 25 & January 1.

  • Extended Members Only Hours: In addition to current early member hours (which happen on the first full weekend every month on Saturdays from 8 am – 9 am and Sundays from 9 am – 11 am), Meijer Gardens will also open early for members only from 9 am - 11 am on Sundays November 29, December 13, 20, 27

*Due to current guidelines, capacity restrictions are in effect and wait times may apply.*

  • The Original Dickens Carolers: Virtual performances on Tuesdays: November 24, December 1, 8, 15. 6-8 pm
  • Virtual Santa Visits: Tuesdays: November 24, December 1, 8, 15. 5-8 pm.
  • Rooftop Reindeer: Saturdays: November 28, December 5, 12, 19. 1-4 pm
  • Winter-Time Walks: (December 1-January 2, 2021)

Preschoolers: Tuesdays and Wednesdays 11:15 am
Family and Friends: Saturdays 11:15 am
Fee: Included with admission
Winter in the Lena Meijer Children’s Garden can be chilly, but fun! Bundle up and join us on an outdoor discovery walk to investigate the Children’s Garden in new ways.

  • Christmas and Holiday Themed Classes: Enjoy festive virtual learning opportunities for adults and families. Fees apply. Visit for more information.

Metro Health Christmas & Holiday Traditions is made possible by made possible by Metro Health - University of Michigan Health, the Meijer Foundation, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Foundation, the Botanic and Sculpture Societies of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Radio, FOX17 and Star 105.7. The Railway Garden is sponsored by Warner Norcross + Judd, Inc.

Photos available HERE.

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About Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
One of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park served 670,000 visitors in 2019 and was recently listed in the top 30 most visited museums in the United States by The Art Newspaper, the leading publication in global art news. The 158-acre main campus features Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; one of the largest interactive children’s gardens in the country; arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Edgar Degas and Auguste Rodin; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; and a 1900-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer. The internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park features a permanent collection including works by Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Richard Serra, Louise Bourgeois, Ai Weiwei and Jaume Plensa, among others. Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions with exhibitions by Ai Weiwei, Pablo Picasso, Edgar Degas, Mark di Suvero, Jonathan Borofsky, Alexander Calder, Jim Dine and others. In June 2015, the eight–acre Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened. Created by renowned designer Hoichi Kurisu, the garden features sculpture by Anish Kapoor, Jenny Holzer, David Nash, George Rickey, Masayuki Koorida, Zhang Huan and Guiseppe Penone.

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