This past weekend, I took my family on a 2.5 hour car ride to check out the new tree canopy at Dow Gardens.
I had never been there before, honestly I just heard of this place last week after a local new station covered the canopy opening. I decided this would be a nice trip to go on, since we all enjoy nature and hiking, things like that (not to mention its educational!)
Dow Gardens is in Midland, Michigan, just north of Saginaw. Whiting Forest has 54 acres of woodlands, an apple orchard, ponds, meadows, and streams. The canopy walk is the nation’s longest walk at 1,400 feet long, up to 40 feet above the ground. In addition to this, there is a childrens’ play area, Whiting Forest Café, and garden areas.
The grounds are absolutely breath taking.
There are several paths that wind their way through the woodlands and around the ponds. Each tree, flower, and plant is labeled with their name and information about them.
The canopy walk stretches into the trees, giving you an amazing view of the wooded areas around you, as well as the café and playground.
Up in the canopy, you can do climb a cargo net bridge to a “pod” (we did not do this personally, as the line was way too long); the three layer cargo net that guests can roll around, jump, climb in to give a thrilling view of the grounds below; and a second pod you can view the grounds from.
In my opinion, the canopy was too narrow to accommodate all the guests present that morning, making it difficult for those with wheelchairs and strollers. I also wish the canopy was a bit longer, wrapping around the woodlands and giving a view of the cemetery and other things around.
The canopy has a “clear, glass” section you can step out on; my kids enjoyed this… it was like a “dangerous” activity they could, with out the danger; Axton however, being the daredevil he is, was upset that it wasn’t an actual glass bridge, like the one in China.
The “paved” pathways on the ground were actually made with those nice rubber pieces typical of playgrounds. This makes the impact on your knees not as intense (for lack of a better word) so you can walk further.
The playground in Whiting Forest was great. I loved the slide that appeared to be made from marble and Zeppelin loved the tunnel and rubbery hill. The best part about the playground was that it’s fenced in and has a gate that younger kids cannot open, this is great since there are bodies of waters and acres of trees they would find themselves lost it.
Oh, I almost forgot.. the park is FREE anytime you visit, you just pay admission if you plan to walk the trails and canopy, definitely a bonus if you live in the area or are driving through!
On the Dow Gardens side (which will be connected via foot-bridge in 2019; currently under construction) there is so much to see. Unfortunately, my family and I didn’t get to see it all due to my mother-in-law battery dying (on her motorized scooter) and the fact that it was a school night for my stepson.
We did get to see the man-made waterfall and stream, as well as the studio the Dows’ used, various footbridges, and I believe the Color Garden.
I thought this side could have had its paths marked better, we got turned around multiple times and the maps provided we’re slightly confusing.
I loved the
color garden that we wander into, though. It was beautiful and had a little club house the kids could play in. In addition to that, in the garden was vegetables; why does that stand out?
Each guest is allowed to take one vegetable home with them! I loved this! Many places have gardens similar, but do not allow you to try it, let alone take some home, unless you pay extra.
Speaking of pay… right now the price of admission is super reasonable! It cost $16 for my family of six to get into to BOTH areas of the garden.
- $5 per adult
- $1 for children (age 6-17)
- $1 for students, with valid ID
- FREE for children 5 and under
Unfortunately, admission will be going up after December 2018, but nothing unreasonable for what is included.
We did not eat at the Whiting Forest Café; the gardens allow you to bring outside food inside, so we packed a picnic. *A tip to keep the cost of your visit down.
There is also a museum/art center on site, this is not included in your admission, however. Again, we did not have time to do everything, this is one we did not do, must to the dismay of Axton. We are though, planning on going back some time before the end of the year, probably during the week and doing an over-night in Frankenmuth and another trip up Dow Gardens so he can do the museum.
If you were on the fence about going, trust me, its worth it. If the fall foliage isn’t enough to entice you, the fact that you will tire out the kids should be.