These 9 gardens and sculpture parks - selected as the finest in the United States by our readers - provide you the opportunity to relish in art while basking in the great outdoors.
Ponder upon the aesthetics and variety of the encompassing scenery as you marvel at creations skillfully embedded in the natural setting.
No. 9: Donald J. Hall Sculpture Park - Kansas City, Missouri
Situated within the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, this sculpture park houses the renowned shuttlecock sculptures, a set of four, alongside an array of other modern and contemporary artworks.
The park's location in the heart of Kansas City allows for not only an engaging art experience but also a unique perspective on the city's vibrant urban fabric.
Furthermore, the park frequently hosts a variety of events and programs, enriching the cultural lives of visitors and the broader community.
No. 8: Laumeier Sculpture Park - St. Louis, Missouri
Established in 1976, Laumeier Sculpture Park has the distinction of being one of the pioneering sculpture parks in the United States.
This St. Louis gem boasts over 70 impressive large-scale outdoor sculptures, dotting its sprawling 105-acre landscape.
Entry to the park comes without a fee. Additionally, this park is not just a haven for art enthusiasts, but also a refuge for nature lovers.
It offers an extensive network of walking trails and hosts a variety of annual events such as art fairs and educational workshops, making it an integral part of the local community.
No. 7: Olympic Sculpture Park - Seattle, Washington
The complimentary Olympic Sculpture Park, a part of the Seattle Art Museum, houses a variety of monumental artworks adorning the waterfront.
The park's 9-acre green space, the largest in downtown Seattle, presents not only artistic treasures but also breathtaking views of the Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound.
Furthermore, the park is home to a variety of native plant species, thereby promoting biodiversity and adding a layer of environmental education to the visitor experience.
No. 6: Brookgreen Gardens - Murrells Inlet, South Carolina
Established in 1931, the expansive 300-acre Brookgreen Gardens in Murrells Inlet serves as both a sculpture garden and wildlife sanctuary, built on the location of four former rice plantations.
This National Historic Landmark hosts one of the world's premier collections of American figurative sculpture.
Besides its art, the location also features a zoo with native animals, a display of historic plantations, and botanical gardens, making it a holistic experience of culture and nature.
No. 5: Michigan Legacy Art Park - Thompsonville, Michigan
Situated in northern Michigan, this 30-acre forested preserve showcases a compilation of over 50 sculptures, alongside rotating exhibits.
The park arranges drop-in programs for adults and children alike, aiming to foster connections with art, nature, and history.
This park not only provides an immersive art experience but also serves as a significant wildlife habitat, enhancing its ecological value.
No. 4: Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden - New Orleans, Louisiana
Nestled within the 11 acres of City Park, the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA) Sculpture Garden houses over 90 art pieces.
Visitors can appreciate these artworks amidst a serene landscape of mature pines, magnolias, live oaks, and dual lagoons.
It's a venue that combines the city's rich cultural heritage with its unique flora and fauna, offering visitors a truly unique artistic and natural experience.
No. 3: Grounds For Sculpture - Hamilton, New Jersey
Grounds For Sculpture, based in Hamilton, New Jersey, serves as an arboretum, a sculpture garden, and a museum, all in one.
Its focus lies in the playful and joyous intersection of art and nature. Spread across 42 immaculately designed acres, this sanctuary of art is home to nearly 300 contemporary sculptures.
It also frequently holds a variety of events and programs that engage visitors with the arts in a fun, interactive manner.
No. 2: Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park - University Park, Illinois
Located at Governors State University in Chicago’s Southland, the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park features a collection of 30 large-scale sculptures spread over more than 100 acres of prairie landscape.
This free outdoor museum also offers programs to help visitors engage more profoundly with art and nature.
The park's location within a university setting allows for a strong integration of art into academic and community life.
No. 1: Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Covering 158 acres in Grand Rapids, the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park blends outdoor gardens with a five-floor, 15,000-square-foot Tropical Conservatory.
The permanent sculpture collection exhibits more than 200 works, many of which are showcased throughout the 30-acre sculpture park.
In addition to its artistic appeal, it also offers educational programs and events that cover a variety of topics from horticulture and birding to concert series, adding diverse layers of enjoyment for visitors of all ages.