Saturday, April 28, 2012

Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park Part I - Cacti and Orchids

Two weeks ago my parents came out for a short visit.  The first full day of their visit the sky was overcast, a cold drizzle was falling, and a wickedly chilly wind blew with incredible strength all day long.  By late morning we decided we had to go out and do something - staring at the interior walls of a house only holds so much fascination.

I had recently heard on the radio about a tropical butterfly exhibit out at the Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park, which is in Grand Rapids.  This Park has piqued my imagination for about a year and I figured this was the time to go.  So we jumped in the car and off we went.

I wasn't out of the car five minutes when I started taking photos - check out this sculpture:

 How many faces do you see?  I was just blown away by this sculpture!  Due to the weather (and time) we didn't take in the Sculpture Park, but if this piece is any indication of what else is there, be sure I will return.

Even the walkway had amazing art:

I imagine on a beautiful sunny day these gardens are spectacular - even on this cold, damp and blustery day they looked inviting.

When you enter the building, your eyes are drawn immediately to the floor.  Look at these wonderful brass images that are embedded in the surface.  We decided they must be extremely enlarged images of pollen grains...very appropriate for a botanical garden.

Because it was lunchtime, we were feeling a bit peckish, so our first stop was the diner, the ceiling of which was decorated with these luminous (and enormous) glass flowers, which graded in color from deep red to orange, to yellows, then greens, blues and purples.

Our appetites sated, we sallied forth in search of the tropical butterflies.  Perhaps they were in here.

Nope - but we were in a gallery full of cacti, many of which were flowering.

Do you see what is peeking over the edge of the succulent?

It's a family of meerkats!

From the dry hot desert we moved into the hot and humid tropics, where many species of orchids were blooming away.

This small greenhouse is called an Edwardian Box, and these were very popular in the late 1800s/early 1900s.  

But we were here to see butterflies.  They had a lone monarch caterpillar in the room at the end of the cacti exhibit - I was extremely disappointed thinking that was IT for the butterfly display, but the man assured me that the tropical butterflies were in the Conservatory - just keep going.

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