The Dow Gardens were started in 1899 by Herbert Dow, founder of The Dow Chemical Company, with his wife Grace, and gardener Elzie Côte, on eight acres of flat, sandy land. Subsequent generations of the Dow family continued to develop the gardens, and it has grown to 110-acres, with more than 1700 varieties of plants hardy in mid-Michigan. Dow Gardens has two main botanical attractions, the Gardens and the Whiting Forest.
The displays of annuals and perennials in the gardens are punctuated by distinctive bridges, the estate garden, the color garden, an award-winning children’s garden, towering pines, and delightful water features, including a waterfall and the stream walk.
Whiting Forest features 54 acres of woodlands, ponds, apple orchard, meadows, and stream. The nation's longest canopy walk, 1,400 feet long, soars up to 40 feet above the ground. Other features include a playground, apple orchard, Whiting Forest Cafe, restoration of Snake Creek, and two pedestrian bridges.
The Herbert H. Dow House, called "The Pines," is located in the southwest corner of the gardens. It is a National Historic Landmark.