Butterfly Exhibit: Dow Gardens in Midland Michigan

Updated on April 9, 2018

A Virtual Tour In Pictures

Dow Gardens is open year round and is beautiful even now in early April. Much of Michigan is drab and dreary at the moment, but you'd never know it once inside the gates of this botanical paradise. Continue reading and let me be your guide for a tour in pictures and a one-minute M-Live video of the Butterflies in Bloom event!

Butterflies In Bloom Is Featured Annually From March 2nd Through April 15th
Butterflies In Bloom Is Featured Annually From March 2nd Through April 15th

Begin In The Gift Shop

Lets begin where you would if you were actually here; in the gift shop. Personally, I like to go right to the trails and the butterfly house and save the shopping for last. As you will see from the pictures, it is tempting to stay and peruse the beautiful array of books, candles, garden tools, and knick knacks. Whether you'd rather start walking or shopping, the choice is yours.

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Note a variety of flower seeds for planting in the foreground.  The gift shop also features scented, home made candles and animal puppets for the kids.Sun hats for bright days are perfect for avoiding sunburn as well as for light sensitive patrons.  Lotions and creams are for sale as well.A veritable library of DIY gardening books, bird and other wild life books, are available for purchase.
Note a variety of flower seeds for planting in the foreground.  The gift shop also features scented, home made candles and animal puppets for the kids.
Note a variety of flower seeds for planting in the foreground. The gift shop also features scented, home made candles and animal puppets for the kids.
Sun hats for bright days are perfect for avoiding sunburn as well as for light sensitive patrons.  Lotions and creams are for sale as well.
Sun hats for bright days are perfect for avoiding sunburn as well as for light sensitive patrons. Lotions and creams are for sale as well.
A veritable library of DIY gardening books, bird and other wild life books, are available for purchase.
A veritable library of DIY gardening books, bird and other wild life books, are available for purchase.

On Our Way!

Hit the trails by walking out of the gift shop and out the back door. Paths are clearly marked. Site maps are also available just in case you're there for a specific event or display, and don't want to lose daylight by just walking around (for me half the fun of being there is just walking around, seeing the beautifully manicured landscapes, water features, and foliage. There are a million places to picnic too!). Amigo carts are available for a small rental fee (5.00 for the day) for the elderly or infirmed.

Waterfalls, Ponds, and Trails...

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Jake and Sondra pose by a lovely waterfall.This half frozen pond is beautiful in late winter, even more so in Michigan's other 3 extreme seasons.Stay on the path!A tree in the middle of a stream.  Isn't that what we are sometimes?  Create your own metaphor!  This is what this place does for me; helps me think, clear my head, meditate.
Jake and Sondra pose by a lovely waterfall.
Jake and Sondra pose by a lovely waterfall.
This half frozen pond is beautiful in late winter, even more so in Michigan's other 3 extreme seasons.
This half frozen pond is beautiful in late winter, even more so in Michigan's other 3 extreme seasons.
Stay on the path!
Stay on the path!
A tree in the middle of a stream.  Isn't that what we are sometimes?  Create your own metaphor!  This is what this place does for me; helps me think, clear my head, meditate.
A tree in the middle of a stream. Isn't that what we are sometimes? Create your own metaphor! This is what this place does for me; helps me think, clear my head, meditate.

Peaceful Paths

As we continue making our way to the butterfly exhibit we will walk along peaceful, meandering paths that serve to ease the mind and create a sense of well being. The gardens never seem crowded, even in spring and summer- the busiest times of the year. There is always a path or bench in an out of the way place. I've seen artists with their easels and writers jotting down inspiration drawn from these peaceful environs.

"All her ways are pleasant ways and all her paths are peace." Proverbs 3:17

Inside The Butterfly House

Butterflies light on fingers, head and shoulders.  Patrons are encouraged to interact with the butterflies, but you have to let them come to you.
Butterflies light on fingers, head and shoulders. Patrons are encouraged to interact with the butterflies, but you have to let them come to you.
I think this photo captures the wonder of a child.  I think this is why I come.  I've seen butterflies all my life, but I love to see them anew through the eyes of a child.
I think this photo captures the wonder of a child. I think this is why I come. I've seen butterflies all my life, but I love to see them anew through the eyes of a child.

Even Butterflies Have To Eat

Feeding on sponges laced with some kind of sweetened nectar (butterfly food, according to my wife)
Feeding on sponges laced with some kind of sweetened nectar (butterfly food, according to my wife)

Time For Crafts

Upon leaving, continue up the trail to the craft barn where free art supplies await your little Rembrandts. It's not only fun, but also a great way to reinforce all they've seen and learned in the butterfly house by coloring, drawing, and cutting out butterfly art they make themselves and take home for the fridge.

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Butterflies in Bloom Video Featured on M-Live News Outlet

Heading Back

I doubt that you could see the entire park in one day. Feet get tired, yawns begin, and at some point we have to head back. So back we go, passing the waterfall, the trails and paths, the bridges, fountains and streams. Back to the gift shop for a souvenir, perhaps or just a soda or bottled water.

There are no food facilities on site, but as I said before, patrons are welcome to bring picnic lunches and there are myriad places to enjoy a tranquil lunch with friends and family, or by yourself.

There is also a small, interactive museum in the main building dedicated to sharing the way the Gardens were created and given by the property owner, Chemist- Herbert Dow, to the people of Midland.

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Our favorite waterfallIn this picture we see flowing water seeming to come directly out of this rock.  In reality it is a small stream that alternates its flow above,then below ground.A picturesque streamA trail leading into the woods.  "The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep...miles to go before I sleep."  Robert Frost
Our favorite waterfall
Our favorite waterfall
In this picture we see flowing water seeming to come directly out of this rock.  In reality it is a small stream that alternates its flow above,then below ground.
In this picture we see flowing water seeming to come directly out of this rock. In reality it is a small stream that alternates its flow above,then below ground.
A picturesque stream
A picturesque stream
A trail leading into the woods.  "The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep...miles to go before I sleep."  Robert Frost
A trail leading into the woods. "The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep...miles to go before I sleep." Robert Frost
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This short cut might not get you back to grandma's house, but it will get you back to the gift shop...eventuallyAs you can see this main trail is festidiously monitored and groomed so that those restrained to the Amigo carts can still enjoy the park.
This short cut might not get you back to grandma's house, but it will get you back to the gift shop...eventually
This short cut might not get you back to grandma's house, but it will get you back to the gift shop...eventually
As you can see this main trail is festidiously monitored and groomed so that those restrained to the Amigo carts can still enjoy the park.
As you can see this main trail is festidiously monitored and groomed so that those restrained to the Amigo carts can still enjoy the park.

Dow Gardens: an Affordable, Beautiful Experience for the Whole Family

5 stars for Dow Gardens

Visiting A Botanical Garden

Does The Idea of Visiting a Botanical Garden Interest You?

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Dow Gardens in Midland, Michigan

A marker1809 Eastman Ave, Midland, MI 48640 -
1809 Eastman Ave, Midland, MI 48640, USA
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Come For A Visit

I hope you enjoyed this pictorial tour of Dow Gardens. It's a great place for day excursion if you don't live too far away. Next year, the Gardens will be connecting to Whiting Forest and will feature the longest canopy bridge in the country, rising to heights of three stories off the ground.

All though there are no restaurants onsite, there is an abundance of eateries and fine dining establishments right around the corner.

Please keep watch for my upcoming hubs featuring Dow Gardens in all four of Michigan's beautiful and extreme seasons.

Happy travels!

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Leland Johnson

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      • Leland Johnson profile image
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        Leland Johnson 2 weeks ago from Midland MI

        It really is a beautiful sight when one of the butterflies land on a child's hand or arm. Their responses are so excited and sincere. It's more fun just watching them than seeing the butterflies.

      • abwilliams profile image

        A B Williams 2 weeks ago from Central Florida

        LOL I agree, good thing they are faster than the kids!

      • Leland Johnson profile image
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        Leland Johnson 2 weeks ago from Midland MI

        :You're welcome, AB. It's funny about butterflies like you say. Just don't let them look too closely at the butterfly's head. That proboscis is kinda creepy! Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • abwilliams profile image

        A B Williams 2 weeks ago from Central Florida

        Beautiful Leland, thanks for this.

        There is just something about butterflies!

        My grandchildren will run away from lizards, dragonflies, lovebugs (ever heard of lovebugs?)....all things, with the exception of butterflies.

        They'll see them and gravitate toward them, smiling all the way!

      • Leland Johnson profile image
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        Leland Johnson 2 weeks ago from Midland MI

        Flourish- The Dows were very generous benefactors for the Midland area and I think that's why fees are so low. We love it there. $10 buys a year round pass. We give them as gifts for friends and family. Lots of weddings and senior pics are done there too. thank you for reading and commenting!

      • FlourishAnyway profile image

        FlourishAnyway 2 weeks ago from USA

        We have some botanical gardens here in greater Richmond with a similar butterfly exhibit and I have really enjoyed going, but it’s so expensive to enjoy and they don’t allow picnics or outside food. Yours is much more reasonable in admission price! So beautiful and I love the thoughts you have included throughout such as the Frost quote.

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