Frederick Meijer Gardens Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a world renowned horticulture and sculpture park located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The original concept of the park was created by the West Michigan Horticulture Society. However, the society needed financial backing to make the dream become a reality. Fred and Lena Meijer embraced the idea, and after 13 years of planning, the Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened to the public in 1995. Today, Meijer Gardens hosts more than 600,000 visitors annually, and has been ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums worldwide by the Art Newspaper.

Throughout the years, Frederick Meijer Gardens has grown exponentially to include the following areas:
• Sculpture Park
• Featured Art Exhibitions
• Horticulture Gardens
o Carnivorous Plants
o Arid Garden
o Woodland Shade Garden
o Perennial and Bulb Garden
• Tropical Conservatory
• Japanese Garden
• Children’s Garden
• Michigan Farm Garden
• Butterflies Are Blooming
• Amphitheater
• Holiday Exhibitions

The Sculpture Park contains more than 50 sculptures from artists worldwide, and is one of the largest collections of outdoor sculptures in the nation. Follow the pathways along the manicured lawns, grassy meadows, and tranquil ponds while viewing the sculptures. The current featured art exhibition showcases five large-scale steel sculptures by Bernar Venet, and can be viewed through October.

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The Horticulture Gardens feature plants from around the world and represent various regions and climates such as arid deserts, woodlands, and tropical rain forests. Plants are selected for year-round interest and each garden is unique, educational, and a natural work of art. The Tropical Conservatory also features the Butterflies Are Blooming Exhibit each spring from March 1 to April 30. It features tropical butterflies from around the world. There are 7000 butterflies and 50 species throughout the exhibition. It’s the largest temporary butterfly exhibit in the nation.



The Childrens Garden is both fun and educational. It encourages interaction and invites children to learn and explore. There are numerous activities including digging for fossils in the Rock Quarry, climbing around in the Treehouse Village, listening to a story or watching a puppet show in the Storytelling Garden, navigating and solving the Butterfly Maze, and more. There’s plenty of family friendly fun for everyone.

Newly opened this summer is the Japanese Gardens. These beautiful gardens were crafted to capture the essence of a traditional Japanese garden, and were designed with tranquility in mind. The gardens feature an authentic Japanese teahouse, a Zen garden, ponds and waterfalls, sculptures, a bonsai tree display, and beautiful plants such as bamboo, Japanese maples, and Japanese flowering cherry trees.

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In addition to gardens and sculptures, Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park features an outdoor amphitheater and hosts a summer concert series featuring both local and world renowned musicians and bands.

In celebration of their 20th anniversary, Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park has a calendar of spectacular events planned throughout the year. They also held a special 20th anniversary concert featuring 17-time Grammy Award winner Tony Bennett.

The Frederick Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is always growing and always changing. Whether it be with new plants and flowers in bloom, the addition of art or displays, annual displays such as Art Prize, Butterflies are Blooming, or Christmas Traditions Around the World, there is always something new and exciting to experience. For more information, please visit their website at

Please join us in congratulating Frederick Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park on their 20th anniversary!

Detroit-Based Better Made Celebrates 85 Years of Snacks

Better Made Snacks LogoBetter Made Snack Food saw its beginnings in August of 1930 as the Cross and Peters company, named after its founders first names.The company started out with one goal: to produce a better potato chip – this led to the company adopting the name “Better Made” in 1934.

Producing a Better Potato Chip

What Better Made believes sets it apart from competitors is using Michigan-grown potatoes 10 months out of the year. Long before locally-sourced became a trend, Better Made was making a commitment to supporting local potato farmers, and in doing so, creating a fresher, better product. The company packaged their potato chips in crude, grease-less, burlap bags, and sold them primarily from their own store outlets, and later on delivery routes.

It Keeps Getting Better

85 years later, Better Made chips are still made solely in the Detroit facility. Approximately 60 million pounds of potatoes are used every year, and from the time the potatoes leave the farm to the time you put a potato chip in your mouth, the product is completely untouched by human hands.

Flavor varieties of potato chips that have been introduced over the years include Bar-B-Q, Sweet Bar-B-Q, Red Hot, Sour Cream and Onion, and Salt and Vinegar. Better Made has also expanded their product line to include popcorn, pork rinds, pretzels, tortilla chips, and even beef jerky.

Better Made also takes philanthropic strides to make their community better. For example, they took a portion of proceeds from their Family and Value Size Potato Chips and $0.99 Pork Rinds during the month of April, totaling over $23,000, and donated it to a former Detroit Red Wings player’s organization, the Ted Lindsay Foundation for Autism Awareness.

85 Days of Summer Celebration

For this monumental anniversary, Better Made wanted to thank their fans for 85 years of snacking, with the 85 Days of Summer Celebration. June 15th through Labor Day, Better Made will give away 50 cases of potato chips each week. Their trucks will show up in locations throughout the state of Michigan, surprising unsuspecting fans with the state-famous snacks. Additionally, one grand prize winner will win a trip to Soaring Eagle Water Park and Hotel in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

Weekly winner of the Better Made 85 Days of Summer Celebration giveaway

One of the weekly winners of the Better Made 85 Days of Summer Celebration giveaway

Mac Wood’s Dune Rides Celebrates 85 Years!

Mac Woods Dune Rides 85th yearThe Mac Wood’s Dune Rides were started by Mac Woods in 1930, as a way to entertain guests staying at his lodge. Soon, neighbors and visitors alike were encouraging him to make it a business.  Mac Wood’s Dune Rides have been providing safe, fun-filled, educational dune rides to the public ever since. Today, they are one of Michigan’s leading tourist attractions, with thousands of visitors experiencing the dune rides each year.

Growing up in West Michigan, I had always heard about Silver Lake and the dunes. However, until recently, I had never been.  I thought the only way to access the dunes was to have your own 4×4 vehicle.  So, I was pleasantly surprised to hear about the Mac Wood’s Dune Rides. I highly recommend taking this tour.  It really is the best way to see and experience the dunes.  They have access to areas of the sand dunes that aren’t accessible any other way- other than hiking.  This allows visitors to experience the dunes natural beauty.

Visitors climb aboard a 20-passenger “dune scooter” which is modified with aircraft tires, allowing for precise control out on the dunes. Be sure to buckle your seatbelt and hold on to your hat! The tour itself is about 7 miles long and lasts about 40 minutes. Our guide was very knowledgeable and good at mixing history and information with humor, making for a very entertaining ride. During the tour you’ll see the diverse eco-culture of the dunes, with breathtaking views of Silver Lake and Lake Michigan, all while experiencing a thrilling dune ride.


So, the next time you’re up for a day trip or find yourself visiting the Silver Lake area, I highly recommend experiencing the Mac Wood’s Dune Rides. Please visit their website for more information.

Please join us in congratulating Mac Wood’s Dune Rides on a successful 85 years!

Making Waves: Monroe Boat Club Celebrates 70 Years

Monroe Boat Club 70th Anniversary Logo“Friendliest club in Western Lake Erie.”
“You won’t believe how much fun it is!”
“Grew up going here… this is a big part of my family.”

These are just a few of the Monroe Boat Club’s glowing reviews on social media. Although its founders could hardly have imagined this type of success in 1945, they would surely find it in keeping with the club’s first bylaw–the “promotion, protection and encouragement of boating for pleasure and sport, with emphasis on good fellowship among its members.”

Boating? Check. A down-to-earth, family-oriented community? Check. And as the Monroe Boat Club marks its 70th anniversary this year, it’s showing no signs of slowing down.


The Monroe Boat Club Present Day

The Monroe Boat Club, Present Day

Founded in 1945, 2015 marks the Monroe Boat Club’s 70th Anniversary. The Monroe Boat Club is located in the Bolles Harbor of Refuge on Lake Eerie in Monroe, Michigan, and attracts competitive and hobbyist boaters alike.

The club’s roots date back to the late 1800’s, when the club was known as the Monroe Yacht Club, a social hub in Monroe, Michigan known for it’s Muskrat dinners just after the turn of the century. When the Monroe Yacht Club merged with Bolles Harbor Boat Club, the Monroe Boat Club was born.

All Hands On Deck

In its beginnings, the club hosted monthly meetings in a member’s barn. After several years, the club began to develop into the Monroe Boat Club we see today; a lumber donation and the hard work of club members brought a two-story clubhouse to fruition. By 1979, the club boasted permanent docks, an adequate sea wall, a bar, and a clubhouse addition used for parties and social events.

Monroe Boat Club in 1949

The Monroe Boat Club, in February of 1949

Further expansion came over the following decades, with additional bar space, a stronger protective sea wall, an outdoor shelter, and more docks.

The Monroe Boat Club has 135 docks accommodating boats of 16’ to 60’ in length, more than 400 members, and an enthusiasm for competitive sailing and power yacht cruises. Club events are numerous, including Regattas, Sail Fleet Races, an annual Commodore’s Ball, holiday parties, poker runs, and much more.

The Docks at the Monroe Boat Club

The Docks at the Monroe Boat Club

For its 70th Anniversary, a commemorative 70th Anniversary logo was created. The logo includes the words “Promote,” “Protect,” and “Encourage,” citing the club’s first by-law, which states that “The object of this club shall be the promotion, protection and encouragement of boating for pleasure and sport, with emphasis on good fellowship among its members.”

Congratulations to the Monroe Boat Club for 70 exciting years!

Windmill Island Gardens Celebrates 50 Years

Windmill Island Gardens Attracts Tourists from Around the WorldWindmill Island Gardens is a 36-acre park filled with gardens, canals, dikes, and picnic areas, located in Holland, Michigan. The focal point of the Gardens is the De Zwaan Windmill; this 250-year-old windmill stands 125 feet tall, and is the only authentic, functioning Dutch windmill in the United States. This year, the Windmill Island Gardens is celebrating it’s 50th anniversary, with a variety of events and special edition merchandise.

Windmill Island Gardens was previously known as Hyma Island, and was a vegetable farm owned by the Nelis family. During the Depression, the family decided to switch from growing vegetables to flowers, and began growing Daffodils by request of a cousin in the Netherlands. Over the years, they added Tulips to their farm, which resulted in a burgeoning of tourists who came to Holland for the Tulip Time Festival in the late 1930’s. In the mid 1960’s, the City of Holland purchased the De Zwaan Windmill from a retired miller in the Netherlands. The windmill was shipped to Muskegon and brought by truck to the island. The Windmill Island Gardens opened on April 10, 1965, and the grand opening was overseen by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the first official visitor to the park.

An Aerial View of Windmill Island in Holland, MI

Since it’s opening in 1965, the Windmill Island Gardens has become a popular tourist attraction in Holland, with around 55,000 people visiting each year between April and October. The park is home to over 115,000 tulips, replicas of buildings from the Netherlands including The Post House, classic Klompen dance exhibitions, an antique Dutch carousel, and more. The gardens are also often used for weddings, and see a large portion of their visitors attending during the annual Tulip Time Festival in the Spring.

For it’s 50th anniversary, the Windmill Island Gardens have a variety of events scheduled throughout the spring and summer, including:

  • A Golden Anniversary Party on Sunday, July 12th – Free activities for kids and their families throughout the day, including wooden shoe races, rolling hoops, rides on the antique Dutch carousel, a children’s garden and playground, Frisian horses, balloons, and refreshments. From 12-4pm, farm animals from the Critter Barn will be visiting for kids to interact with, and there will be a scavenger hunt let by De Graf Nature Center. There will also be Dutch children’s stories read at 1pm and 3pm.
  • A Golden Anniversary Concert on Thursday, August 27th – Bring your own blanket or lawn chair and enjoy the sounds of Orquestra Ritmo, a popular Michigan salsa orchestra. Kids activities will be offered from 6pm-7pm, and the concert begins at 7pm. The event is free, and food and beverages will be available for purchase.
  • A Golden Anniversary Community Day on Saturday, September 5th – This event is held annually, but this year’s Community Day is expected to be one to remember! Tickets are sold by Hope College and include admission to the gardens, a picnic lunch, and an admission to an athletic event at Hope College. For ticket information, contact the DeVos Ticket Office at 222 Fairbanks Avenue, or the Downtown Ticket Office at 100 E. 8th Street – Main Level. You can also call (616) 395-7890 for more information.

In addition to special events, Windmill Island Gardens is also selling commemorative 50th Anniversary Celebration memorabilia, including:

  • A commemorative ornament
  • Lapel pins, mugs, and tote bags
  • A special 50th anniversary cloth bag filled with flour ground at DeZwaan
  • The new book “DeZwaan: The True Story of America’s Authentic Dutch Windmill”

Congratulations to Windmill Island Gardens on 50 years of bringing history, joy, and beauty to the community of Holland, Michigan and all of it’s visitors!

Dairy Queen Celebrates 75 Years

dairy-queen-signThe history of Dairy Queen® began with a unique soft serve recipe whose popularity created an industry. John Fremont McCullough and his son Bradley created the unique soft serve recipe in 1938 and convinced family friend Sheb Noble to try it out in his ice cream shop. The first day, he dished out more than 1,600 servings of the dairy delight, and they knew they had a hit.  Two years later, the first Dairy Queen® opened in Joliet, Illinois on June 22, 1940. Sadly, the original restaurant closed in the 1950’s but by then Dairy Queen’s popularity was exploding, franchising was becoming popular, and there were already well over 1,500 locations nationwide. Today, Dairy Queen® continues to grow, has over 6000 locations worldwide, and is standing strong as one of the most popular fast food restaurants. Their new slogan is: “We make Fan Food. Not fast food”.

Dairy Queen® is perhaps most well known for their signature soft serve vanilla ice cream, which is used in many of their ice cream treats including the iconic Blizzard®. Additional DQ® favorites include the Dilly® Bar, Buster Bar®, DQ® Sandwich, Orange Julius® fruit smoothies, and more recently the MooLatte® Frozen Coffee drinks.

However, Dairy Queen® is so much more than just a restaurant.  They have become a symbol of small town America.  They are often a pillar of social life in small towns- where you will find kids’ birthday parties, families spending time together, teens to hanging out, and couples on a date night.

DQ BlizzardIn honor of their 75th Anniversary, Dairy Queen® announced the Birthday Cake Oreo Blizzard® treat as the Blizzard of the Month flavor for January.

Also in celebration of their 75th anniversary, on March 16, 2015 which is the 75th day of the calendar year, participating Dairy Queen® and DQ Grill & Chill® locations served customers a free small vanilla soft-serve cone with the signature curl on top. Dairy Queen® will be accepting donations for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals®

For information on upcoming Anniversary events and delicious innovative treats this year, we recommend following Dairy Queen® on Facebook, or by visiting their website at

Please join us in congratulating Dairy Queen® on a successful 75 years!

50 Years Fresh: Tim Hortons Celebrates Golden Anniversary

It was a scene straight from the 1960s, with all the trappings: jazz, vintage cars, and a classic donut shop. In fact, if you had been in downtown Toronto last spring, you might be forgiven for thinking you’d stepped back in time:

Tim Hortons, 1964

Tim Hortons, 1964

Tim Hortons 50th Anniversary, Toronto

Tim Hortons 50th Anniversary, Toronto







And that was exactly the intent, as iconic restaurant chain Tim Hortons celebrated 50 years of success (or, more appropriately, “donut domination”). Employees dressed in 60’s era clothing and the original uniforms, handing out complimentary birthday donuts to passerby.

Luck…and Donuts

How did a humble donut shop in Hamilton, Ontario become a household name, with over 4,000 locations across Canada and the U.S.? Well, it helps to have a famous co-founder. Named after Toronto Maple Leafs hockey great Miles Gilbert “Tim” Horton, the restaurant opened  just a few weeks after Horton and the Maple Leafs won the coveted 1964 Stanley Cup.

But an auspicious start was just part of the story. Tim Hortons earned staying power by being the best at the basics. Its coffee, always served within 20 minutes of brewing, has become the stuff of legend. And its signature Timbits (otherwise known as donut holes), became instant crowd pleasers after their mid-1970s debut.

The Taste Test

Clearly, this chain warranted a taste test, and I felt up for the challenge (spoiler alert: Tim Hortons’ passed with flying colors). I visited the Greenville, Michigan location and was pleasantly surprised to discover that beyond just donuts, they offered classic sandwiches and paninis.

I ordered a lunch combo that included a panini sandwich, drink, and choice of chips or fresh bakery item. Rather than getting chips with the combo, I indulged in a pumpkin spice muffin.  And of course, I had to try a small order of assorted Timbits. The verdict? I have to say that Tim Hortons wins my vote for “fast food”, and being able to pair a fresh bakery item with a sandwich (rather than other fast food restaurants’ greasy fries) is brilliant.

Celebrating All Year

In addition to the celebration in Toronto, Tim Hortons extended its birthday celebration to all of its 4,000+ stores. Customers savored free birthday cake donuts, and loyal fans were able to purchase one-of-a-kind 50th anniversary travel mugs and reusable beverage cups. All year long, Tim Hortons beverages were served in cups featuring the 50th anniversary logo, along with the take-out boxes and bags.

Tim Hortons also held a “Dueling Donuts” challenge, encouraging customers to create and enter their own donut into a contest to win $10,000 and have their donut added to the Tim Hortons menu. The winning donut? Love REESE’S® To Pieces, featuring chocolate frosting and pieces of REESE’s candy sprinkled on top.

Please join us in congratulating Tim Hortons on a successful 50 years of donut domination!

Whitetail Woods Regional Park Celebrates Grand Opening

Room to Roam: Whitetail Woods Regional Park Celebrates Grand Opening

Years of planning, strategy and preparation finally came to a head, as Dakota County, MN officials officially unveiled Whitetail Woods Regional Park—the county’s first regional park in three decades—on a sunny September afternoon.

As visitors flew kites, listened to live music, and enjoyed horse-drawn wagon rides, they described their impressions enthusiastically: “Beautiful.” “Great for families.” “Nature-filled.” “Big spaces.”

Emphasis on the “big”—456 acres, to be exact. Whitetail Woods offers over 10 miles of summer hiking trails and over 6 miles of ski trails traversing rolling prairie, pine forest, wetlands, and Empire Lake.

But an even more fitting descriptor for Whitetail Woods might be “one-of-a-kind.” Top of the List’s Audrey Flack attended the park’s grand opening festivities with her family and noted several standout features that make the park, in her words, “worth the drive.” Here are few of her top picks:

Fawn Crossing Nature Play Area

For kids, Fawn Crossing Nature Play Area offers a change of pace from the traditional playground, using the landscape itself to encourage creative play. Hills, hollows, and rock walls become places to build forts, play with sand, pump water, and jump across tree stumps and logs. Flack and her two young sons took full advantage of these opportunities:


And to help ease the wintertime doldrums, the hilly portion of the play area becomes a 915-foot lighted sledding hill. Post-sledding, groups can use a nearby king-size outdoor fireplace to toast smores beneath the stars.

“Treehouse”-style camper cabins

Open for just one month, Whitetail Woods’ one-of-a-kind camper cabins have made a big impact. When reservations opened at 10 a.m. December 1, there were 45 requests within the first 60 seconds. The three cabins have sold out completely through April 2015.

The cabins offer soaring views of the surrounding forest, while still remaining ADA compliant. Each cabin houses up to six people on simple full-size and twin day beds and can be used year-round.

Treehouse at Whitetail Woods

Looking ahead: A regional destination

At the Whitetail Woods grand opening, visitors learned of future plans for the park, including a paved trail around Empire Lake, an arbor for weddings, a dog park, disc golf course, visitor center, lighted ski trail, and up to 30 camper cabins. Programming for children and adults began in the fall, which attracts visitors from across the county and beyond.

A nature-lover at heart, Flack is eager to return. “Connecting with nature has been a key form of stress relief throughout my life,” she said. “I can’t wait to share the beauty of Whitetail Woods with my boys as they grow.”