October 7, 1999: The American Horse by Nina Akamu A total of 4,800 guests witnessed the dedication of The American Horse, a 24-foot-tall sculpture created by Nina Akamu that pays homage to a never-completed design by Leonardo da Vinci. The addition of the sculpture increased visitation fivefold in October and fourfold in November of that year. Over a decade after its installation, the sculpture continues to drive visitation to Meijer Gardens.
September 17, 2000: Sculpture Galleries Open The addition of indoor galleries provided opportunity for changing exhibitions and enhanced the collections program. Two exhibitions premiered in the new sculpture galleries: Richard Hunt: American Visionary and Imaging the Divine: Religious and Spiritual Themes of Marshall Fredericks.
January 10, 2001: Acquisition of Eve Eve, by Auguste Rodin, was unveiled as the cornerstone of the permanent collection. She was displayed indoors and then unveiled again the following May in her permanent home in the Sculpture Park. Rodin used an Italian woman as the model for Eve, and many of his later projects, as he greatly admired her statuesque and muscular form and her ability to hold an unorthodox or non-academic pose through which he could manifest dramatic narrative and emotional power.
October 27, 2001: Carnivorous Plant House The Kenneth E. Nelson Carnivorous Plant House opened with one of the largest carnivorous plant collections in the nation. Carnivores on display include the Venus flytrap, colorful pitcher plants, sundews and butterworts. Today it remains the only publicly displayed plant collection in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to carnivorous plants.
May 16, 2002: Sculpture Park Dedication Home to a majority of our permanent sculpture collection, the Sculpture Park opened to the public with six of the international artists represented in the permanent collection present for the dedication. The Sculpture Park has since captured the attention of the art world with thoughtfully created installations of major works by an ever-growing roster of artists.