Spring has arrived in Michigan, and with it, the memorable sights, sounds and smells that make the last few months all the more worthwhile. And as we appreciate the blooming flowers and trees, there are events popping up around the state that let visitors of all ages get up close and personal with them, and learn something along the way.

Discover just a few of these happenings below!

This landmark exhibition, presented by the Daniel & Pamella DeVos Foundation, will feature internationally renowned artist and activist Ai Weiwei at the iconic Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. Natural State is his first show in the upper Midwest as well as the first of its kind for the artist at a botanical garden or sculpture park. Known to work in a wide variety of contexts and scale, his ability to transform materials to share his ideas, concerns and vision has given rise to a critically acclaimed and widely appreciated body of work. While this exhibit is not specifically outdoors, a trip to Meijer Gardens is a can’t-miss for those looking to appreciate art and culture on Michigan’s west side.

Get your taste buds ready! The annual Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival is a delightfully small-town communal gathering that began all the way back in 1958. Pre-festival activities will include a parade, annual pageant, syrup candy making. And, of course, attendees are invited to savor the homemade sausage and pancake lunch with syrups from the locals. Not far south from Shepherd is Vermontville, which also has a Maple Syrup Festival on the same dates. Festival crawl, anyone?

The Tulip Time festival in the Dutch town of Holland may be the most iconic annual event in Michigan. Here, you’ll find nearly 5 million tulips planted & ready to burst forth in bloom in early spring. Tulips will be located in city parks, public attractions and along city streets meaning you’ll be able to explore this heritage-rich city in its entirety. In addition to the tulips, you’ll bear witness to the Dutch culture of the Holland founders with wooden shoe dancing, traditional Dutch food and dress. Head to the pristine shores of Lake Michigan for this family-friendly festival.

Each May on the weekend after Mother’s Day, Boyne City fills with hundreds of mushroom lovers from around the country who come seeking that elusive delicacy-the marvelous morel. Found in nearby woods and clearings, morels are favored by those who really know their mushrooms. This is the 57th year that Boyne City has hosted the National Morel Mushroom Festival, making it a bonafide staple within the community.

These are just a few of the countless outdoorsy events to enjoy across Michigan starting now, in addition to be unrivaled natural beauty that comes with spring.

What else is happening in your neighborhood? Find out on our other Empowered Community blogs.

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