By Carleen Nelson-Nesvig, STN Writer

On Friday September 29th, a group of adventurous seniors from the Saline Area and Pittsfield Township Senior Centers embarked on a journey filled with intrigue and artistry as they set off on a mysterious day trip that led them to the renowned Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. The 115-acre Sculpture Park, touted as one of the most significant collections in the nation, welcomed the group with its blend of natural beauty and world-class art.

The Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park, nestled in the heart of Grand Rapids, boasts an expansive outdoor gallery featuring over 50 major works by esteemed artists. These masterpieces, thoughtfully placed within diverse natural settings connected by waterways, meandering paths, lawns, meadows, and quiet walkways. The seniors took a forty-five-minute tram ride through the park, accompanied by guide Carl DeBruine who offered them a fascinating journey filled with history, art descriptions, and insights into the featured artists.

The art is not confined to the park. Works from this collection can be found in various interior and exterior locations, ensuring that art enthusiasts are provided with creativity throughout. The group ate lunch at a beautiful café on site.

The second destination was ArtPrize, an annual, international art competition and cultural event in Grand Rapids. Members were encouraged to visit the DeVos Place Convention Center and/or pop over to the B.O.B. (Big Ol’ Building), a 22-story, mixed-use building directly across the street from DeVos Place Convention Center with a variety of eclectic shops and eateries.

Twenty-six Saline residents and nine Pittsfield residents eagerly embarked on the two-hour journey to parts unknown. They were challenged to guess their destination along with the number of miles they would travel. Susan Long guessed both places correctly, she won a gift certificate to SASC, Pat Arnold was closest to the mileage for the day, she won a 2024 SASC Membership, and Cheryl Oliver and Marley Pagel each guessed one place correctly and took home a mum.

This year’s Mystery Trip, organized for SASC and Pittsfield Township seniors, was planned, and chaperoned by Nancy Cowen, Executive Director. Cowan had promised both mystery and adventure and shared that the trip did not disappoint. “The SASC Mystery Trip is an annual offering that is always full of adventure. I am already planning and looking forward to the 2024 Trip,” teased Cowen.

Riders share a special mention to Cheryl Garner, charter bus Driver who braved the construction and got us safely to and from our secret destination.

SASC runs numerous day trips each year for those age 45+. According to Cowen, SASC plans to do a full day trip to Fred Meijer Gardens in the Spring and ArtPrize in the fall. To see SASC’s full offerings visit; click on the current newsletter.

Photos by Carleen Nelson-Nesvig

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