Activities & Resources
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden050in Minneapolis, MN 55403
about Minneapolis Sculpture Garden:
pedestrian overpass - itself a work of art (Armajani, 1988) blending form and function, and traversing 16 lanes of traffic to link the garden to Loring's green acres - you're likely to feel it right away: the city's bustle and traffic just...fade away.
The garden is peaceful and beautiful - and open and free - all year, and offers children plenty of space to run, climb, ponder, and explore. Many of the sculptures invite interaction, offering a playful view or texture or cozy nook. (But of course, please make sure kids heed the signs on pieces that forbid touching or climbing!)
Free brochures in boxes around the garden explain what there is to see, and offer insights into the artists' designs. There are works by Calder, Gehry, Moore, Noguchi, Segal, and many others. The north end of the garden is a garden, with a lush and shady arbor. Benches line the east and west sides, and the paths are crushed stone - not too hard on strollers.
How did we get this far without mentioning the garden's iconic Spoonbridge and Cherry fountain sculpture (Oldenburg & Van Bruggen, 1988), a well-recognized symbol of the city? Because while it's playful and fun - and offers a good spritz to viewers when the wind's just right - visitors coming only to snap that photo will be missing a lot. Even the often overlooked pond surrounding the sculpture has much to offer - eagle-eyed kids can spot frogs, fish, and more in its murky, reedy depths - though parents need to be eagle-eyed too, when kids venture to the edge of the water. And file this under little known facts: the pond is shaped like a linden seed, for the linden trees that line the paths around the sculpture.
In the Cowles Conservatory you'll find art installations, palms, blooms, and tropical plants - and, thankfully, public restrooms. There, too, the art is playful, and you'll need to look up, down, and all around to take it in, from Sarah Sze's Grow or Die found under foot, to Frank Gehry's soaring Standing Glass Fish, to Mario Merz's neon Untitled on the roof. In colder months, the toasty conservatory offers garden visitors a chance to get some feeling back in their fingers! Conservatory hours: Tue-Sat 10am-8pm; Sun 11am-5pm.
Free tours are offered Thursdays through Sundays, though visitors need to pay museum admission to join the part of the tour that includes the Walker galleries. The Sculpture Garden also hosts many Walker Free First Saturday activities during the summer.