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Dow Gardens in Midland, Michigan is Worth the Stop!

Updated: Aug 9, 2023

This Little Excursion at Dow Gardens Has Something For Everyone!

A lady bug sculpture located at the entrance of Dow Gardens.
Dow Gardens Lady Bug(media by JC)

Nestled in the heart of Midland, Michigan, Dow Gardens is a 110-acre public garden, not unlike the Frederick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids, Michigan, which is filled with beautiful perennials and annuals. Visitors can also take in the splendor of DAVID ROGERS’ BIG BUGS, which are created with all-natural recycled (and sustainably-harvested) materials. Several of these are strategically placed amongst the gardens providing a fun finding activity for all. Dow Gardens is definitely worth visiting if you’re looking for a place to commune with nature!

A view of the ant sculpture in an open field.
Ant Sculpture (media by JC)

Ant (media by JC)

A view of the damsel fly sculpture within the park.
Damsel Fly (media by JC)

History of Dow Gardens Dow Gardens was founded in 1899 by Herbert Dow, the same man who would go on to establish The Dow Chemical Company. What started as a simple 16-acre plot of land quickly grew into the 110-acre public garden we know and love today. In addition to being home to a plethora of plant life like this:

Various plants and shrubbery.
Typical Plant Life (media by JC)

A garden made to look like a butterfly.
Garden (media by JC)

A view as you walk across the pedestrian bridge to Exploration Garden.
Exploration Garden Pedestrian Bridge (media by JC)

Dow Gardens also contains several gardens within its grounds, including a Japanese Garden and a Butterfly House.

Highlights of Dow Gardens There are many things to see and do at Dow Gardens, making it an excellent destination for travelers of all ages. In addition to taking in the beauty of the flowers and plants, visitors can also tour the Butterfly House (open from May through September), stroll through the Japanese Garden, or take a ride on the Whistle Stop Railroad. There are also several walking trails on the grounds, allowing visitors to explore every inch of this Michigan gem.

Not to be forgotten is the Whiting Forest canopy walk. This stroll encompasses 54 acres of woodlands, ponds, an apple orchard, meadows, and a stream. Even more exciting is a total immersion in the forest on the nation’s longest canopy walk, 1,400 feet long, roughly 40 feet above the ground.

Looking out from above the tree canopy walk.
A View From Above (Canopy Walk)

A view looking upward at the tree canopy walk.
Below (media by JC)

You come across this beautiful pond at the end of the canopy walk.

A rewarding view of the reflection pond at the end of the canopy walk.
Reflection Pond (media by JC)

When the family is done exploring above the trees, you can stop off at the nearby playground and Cafe for a beverage and a breather.

A lounging kid amongst several children playing on the playground.

If you find yourself in Midland, Michigan, be sure to swing by Dow Gardens! This public garden is teeming with natural beauty, and there’s something for everyone to enjoy. From the Butterfly House to the Whistle Stop Railroad, Dow Gardens is worth adding to your travel itinerary. Trust me— you won’t be disappointed!

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