Fernwood hosts Meijer Gardens trip

Published 3:38 am Monday, March 5, 2012

Photo by David Walenga. See the butterflies in Meijer Garden’s Conservatory.

“Butterflies are Blooming” is Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Parks’ most popular annual exhibition and the largest temporary tropical butterfly exhibit in the nation.

Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve hosts a visit to Meijer Gardens on March 23 to enjoy the more than 6,000 tropical butterflies flying free in the 15,000-square-foot Lena Meijer Tropical Conservatory. The exhibition boasts more than 40 species from the Far East, Africa and Central America. It’s a wonderful place for photos and the perfect opportunity to observe the butterflies.

From Meijer Gardens,  the Fernwood contingent heads to the Grand Rapids Public Museum to see “Thank God for Michigan! Stories from the Civil War,” which features uniforms, weapons, photographs and letters from the museum’s vast collection.

Another exhibit features the Anishinabek – the Ottawa, Potawatomi and Chippewa people of West Michigan — with hundreds of artifacts representing Native American decorative arts, clothing, weapons and tools. Throughout the 5,000-square-foot exhibit are video interviews with Anishinabe elders, parents, artists and professionals.

There is also an opportunity to see, or even ride, the vividly painted antique Spillman Carousel, one of only three of its style known to have been produced by the company.

Finally, wander through “Habitats,” a large, meandering exhibit that transports young and old through the natural environments of Michigan with life-like exhibits of mounted animals and plants in their natural settings.

The trip fee of $75 (Fernwood members $60) includes transportation and admission fees.

Lunch at Meijer Gardens not included. Call Fernwood, 13988 Range Line Rd. in Niles, at (269) 695-6491 to register by March 11.