Friendship Botanic Gardens

Created for the Century of Progress Exhibition in the 1930s, this 105-acre Michigan City, Indiana, park features more than two dozen themed gardens.

Pond with fountain and willow trees at Friendship Botanic Gardens in Michigan City, Indiana (photo courtesy of Friendship Botanic Gardens)

A spectacular collection of formal gardens, old-growth forest and sprawling greenspace intersected by the winding Trail Creek come together to create Michigan City, Indiana’s Friendship Botanic Gardens. Originally created as an exhibition of international flora and global friendship for the 1933–1934 Century of Progress Exhibition, the gardens drew visitors from far and wide. They remained a popular tourist attraction for 50 years before falling into severe disrepair and financial ruin. 

In 2015, a small group of dedicated community members launched an aggressive turnaround campaign. Their efforts were successful, and the Friendship Botanic Gardens once again became a horticultural gem for the region. More than two dozen themed gardens are scattered within the 105-acre nature park. Native plantings and artwork represent many countries, such as Italy, Germany and Poland, and cultures, such as African Americans and Native Americans. 

The Children’s Garden, designed for both adventure and education, is appointed with splinter-free playground equipment and hands-on exhibits to inspire an appreciation for nature. The Cancer Survivors Garden invites tranquil meditation, while the Veterans of Foreign Wars Garden honors those who served in the defense of our nation. 

An arched, Chinese-style bridge, a gazebo,
globed streetlamps and other architectural features scattered throughout Friendship Botanic Garden enhance the diverse landscape. The serene Lake Lucerne, which is bordered by strands of graceful weeping willow trees, features a fountain that is illuminated with color at night. 

A pavilion sets the stage for concerts, weddings and other special events, and more than 3.5 miles of dog-friendly walking paths and hiking trails weave through the grounds. The Path of Nations is an easy paved route from the main entrance through the formal gardens, while the Wilderness Trail provides a rugged route that winds through a woodland valley. 2055 E. U.S. Highway 12, Michigan City, Indiana 46360, 219/878-9885,