Dow Gardens

14 03 2009
  • 1809 Eastman Ave.
  • Midland, MI 48640
  • (989) 631-2677
  • Website
Dow Gardens in Midland

Dow Gardens in Midland

Why not drive an hour and a half to look at butterflies?  J and her mom were both super excited about the Butterflies in Bloom exhibit that is going on at Dow Gardens and since they just happened to decide to visit us while it was going on, we took a road trip north. 

Dow Gardens is on Eastman Road right next to the Midland Center for the Arts on Eastman Road.  They sort of share a parking lot so if you’re unfamiliar with the area, your tempted towards the bigger building, but the Dow Gardens is actually the smaller of the two tucked in near the back of the lot.  Don’t worry, there’s a big sign out front.

Your first stop is the visitors center which is where you pay admission.  There’s also a gift shop which they have set up as your last stop on your way out.  If you live in Midland or the surrounding area, your much better off buying a season pass at $10.  Since two of us were from Chicago and the other two from Lansing, we just opted for the day pass which is $5.  Obviously, if you plan on visiting more than twice, the season pass is the better deal. 

One of the paths that lead to the conservatory at Dow Gardens in Midland.

One of the paths that lead to the conservatory at Dow Gardens in Midland.

After paying, we grabbed a map and started towards the conservatory to see the butterflies.  It was a pretty good walk through the gardens which were beautiful.  There are a couple different paths you can take.  Some are paved.  Some are not.  This has got to be a great place to do a little exercising during the summer.  Even now, in early spring, the trails had some pretty features.   All of the trees along the paths are tagged so you know what each are and there’s a stream that runs from a small waterfall near the entrance the whole length of the park. 

After a short walk, we crossed a bridge and made our way to the conservatory.  Both sets of doors were manned by volunteers so none of the rare butterflies could get it.  The conservatory was filled with plants and flying around landing on those plants were dozens of species of butterflies.  As you can imagine, this is a pretty family friendly event and there were a lot of kids running around trying to get the butterflies to land on them. 

The conservatory itself is not huge, but it was still big enough that we didn’t feel too cramped or too rushed.  In one corner, they had a hatching display that was filled with hundreds of cocoons.  If you’re lucky, you can actually watch a butterfly emerging from one of the cocoons. 

A butterfly from the Butterflies in Bloom exhibit at Dow Gardens in Midland.

A butterfly from the Butterflies in Bloom exhibit at Dow Gardens in Midland.

We spent maybe a half hour looking at the plants and the butterflies.  J and her mom were both impressed.  Her step-dad and I were just kind of along for the ride. 

Dow Gardens is actually pretty impressive.  I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I can tell you for sure, I was not expecting what we found.  It’s a 110 acre plat of land that has grown from the 8 acres that Herbert Dow used as a creative outlet for his interest in agriculture and design.  It’s a beatiful area that would be great for a daily stroll.  Again, here’s a place we never would have thought about going to, but taking a chance on an advertisement turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

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5 responses

22 03 2009
Dan

We stopped in at the Dow Gardens butterfly display Saturday after reading your review (but kept secret from my wife, the day trip was really so that I could go to Bone Daddy’s).
I was disappointed – in the gardens not the BBQ.
I’m comparing it to Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapid’s butterfly exhibit and grounds which probably isn’t fair.
I’m guessing, but the display area at Miejer is probably 5 to 8 times larger than Dow. And probably a hundred more types plants in the building and several hundred more butterflys.

22 03 2009
Mid-Michigan Dining

We don’t really have anything to compare it to. We stopped Meijer Gardens last year, but didn’t go in due to the price. We had already spent quite a bit that weekend between Traverse City and Grand Rapids and we were cashed out.

I liked Dow Gardens for what it is and the the setting it’s in. I wouldn’t expect Midland to compete with Grand Rapids. What we saw of Meijer Gardens was gorgeaous and I’d still like to go there sometime.

22 03 2009
Dan

Meijer Gardens is a bit more pricey than Dow to be sure.
It’s worth it in the spring after plants bloom etc. just to walk around the grounds — LONG walk over the trails.
Also the horse is something to see at least once.
You can actually wonder around some of the galleries at Meijer Gardens for free.
And sometimes they have special shows there that are interesting.
We went to a bonsai show a few years ago that was quite entertaining.
Unless it’s changed dramatically, I’ll suggest you not eat in the restaurant there.
And there’s a Famous Dave’s about 2 miles north of the gardens as well.

22 08 2011
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