Michigan Bucket List: The Dow Gardens

Caroline Samuelsen

| 3 min read

Located in Midland, the Dow Gardens is 110 acres of tall trees, running water, and beautiful blooming flowers. The botanical garden is the perfect place to take a day trip to disconnect from the world and take a nature walk.

Planning your Trip

There are a few options for purchasing admissions tickets. Dow Gardens offers a $30 annual pass, which includes unlimited visits for a year. Day passes are $15 per adult, $5 for a student ages 4-17, $5 for an adult student with proper ID, and children under 4 get in for free. Throughout the summer, the gardens are open from9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays.
The Dow Gardens are ADA-accessible with more than 1.5 miles of hard surfaces throughout the forest walk. They also offer wheelchairs that can be reserved free of charge. If parking is needed for those with disabilities, call (989) 631-2677 to reserve your spot.

Guided Tours

There is the option to explore the grounds as a part of a guided walking tour. These mile-long tours are available during the summer from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. Golf cart tours at 10 a.m., 12:30 p.m., and 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays can accommodate groups of up to five people. Register for any tour two weeks in advance by calling the Dow Gardens Group and Tour Program Manager at (989) 631-2677.
Dow Gardens also offers a narrated audio tour, available by calling (989) 495-4300 or online. With the audio tour, you can go at your own pace while gaining insights into the history behind the garden. Visit the Dow historic home, The Pines, in tours offered at 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays through November. This tour includes an additional cost on top of the entry fee.

Sections of the Dow Gardens

Dow Gardens has more than 3 miles of paved pathways and other woodchipped trails on 54 acres of forest, meadow, and ponds. You can enjoy the Stream Walk, the Estate Gardens, Boulder Pass with a waterfall, Pine Side Trail, the Color Garden, Children’s Garden, and the Exploration Garden. A highlight of the Dow Gardens is the Canopy Walk, an area accessible for all ages. It includes three lookout points, each 25 feet high with a view of the forest and ponds. The orchard view is 40 feet high with a glass viewing platform and railings. Younger visitors will enjoy the Playground and Education Center.
Whiting Forest Café offers concessions, or you can have an outdoor picnic.
For more information, check out the Dow Gardens website.

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