2019 AHTA Conference Pre-tours

Horticultural Therapy: Digging in Together
October 4-5, 2019, Pre-tours October 3
DoubleTree Grand Rapids Airport Hotel
Grand Rapids, Michigan

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Note: You can sign up for the pre-tours during your conference registration. You can also update your registration to include a pre-tour if you did not initially sign up for one. Please contact the AHTA office to change your registration at [email protected] or 206-209-5296.

Pre-tour registration will be available onsite at a discounted rate of $65. You will need to bring your own lunch. Onsite pre-tour registration will be open Wednesday 4 – 8 PM only.

Pre-tour #1 - Frederik Meijer Gardens | Mast Young Greenhouses | River Walk Experience

Thursday, October 3 | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Registration fee: $75 (includes lunch)

Frederik Meijer Gardens

Enjoy a behind-the-scenes talk by David Rettig, Japanese Garden Horticulturist, about the gardens stunning Japanese garden.  He will encourage you to leave all cares behind as you pass through the garden’s gate.  As David leads you on a short tour, he will share the interesting history of the garden.  Visit the seven sculptures created by artists from different countries, the Zen style garden, a collection of bonsai, haikus etched into boulders, and several beautiful waterfalls.  David will share the therapeutic characteristics of the Japanese garden and give us suggestions about how best to enjoy the experience. Additionally, wind through the pathways in comfort during a private narrated tram tour of the sculpture park.

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Mast Young Greenhouses
Discover the world of wholesale greenhouse growing and explore the beautiful “Living Catalog” trial gardens complete with over 100 genera, 1200+ varieties, 400+ combination planters, pots, and hanging baskets, and 20 raised beds!  

River Walk Experience
Explore Grand Rapids popular Riverwalk and meander through some surprisingly quiet, peaceful places along the walk. Check out the beautiful parks and the boardwalk. Appreciate the interesting mix of old and new architecture and some fantastic public art, such as the Fish Ladder by American sculptor Joseph Kinnebrew (Maybe even see some fish in the fish ladder!).

Pre-tour # 2 - Blandford Nature Center | Benjamin's Hope | Lake Michigan Experience

Thursday, October 3 | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Registration fee: $75 (includes lunch)

Blandford Nature Center is a nature center whose passion is to invite the community to enjoy, explore, and learn in nature. They do this by allowing their visitors to get their hands dirty in nature – whether that be standing knee-high in water to learn about stream ecology or planting squash seeds to start a garden. This is accomplished through an active outdoor environmental lab, a team of passionate, knowledgeable people and a strong link from past to future promoting sustainability. Blandford offers a wide variety of experiences to support its mission and vision through dynamic partnerships and innovative programming for all ages. Enjoy a presentation and tour the historic buildings. Take some time in nature to enjoy their beautiful trails.  

Benjamin's Hope
Benjamin's Hope is a "live, work, play, worship" organization designed to address the multifaceted needs of adult individuals and families affected by autism and other intellectual and developmental differences. Founded in 2007, Benjamin's Hope has grown to serve 26 men and women through our residential and weekday engagement programs, plus hundreds of individuals from the community through our outreach and worship activities. Enjoy a tour of the history of Benjamin's Hope. Tour through the greenhouse, activity building, garden, and barn. Take some time in nature and enjoy their mile-long walking trail on campus.

Holland State Park-Lake Michigan Experience
The trip wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Lake Michigan! Holland State Park is best known for sugar sand beaches, beautiful sunsets and views of the iconic "Big Red" lighthouse. The park is home to two popular beaches, campgrounds, concessions, a new playground, and connections to non-motorized trails.