Stand beneath the belly of this giant creature inspired by the creativity of Leonardo da Vinci centuries ago. Wander through the gardens surrounding the statue.
The American Horse is a large and imposing sculpture that looks similar to the creation by famous 15th-century Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. With a height of 24 feet (7.3 meters), the statue rises above the verdant terrain of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Have your photo taken beside the legs of this bronze behemoth for a sense of its size.
Note that renowned animal sculptor Nina Akamu built the horse in the 1990s. It was one of two casts of the sculpture that da Vinci intended to be the largest in the world at the time. The other resides in Milan.
Admire the design of the horse, one of its front legs rising forward in a half-trot. See how its neck is strained, with open mouth and flaring nostrils. The statue is striking in winter, when its black coat serves as a stark contrast to the white snow. Notice the intricate details, enlarged to fit the tall creature.
The horse diverges from the initial designs of da Vinci, who never finished his work. It’s said the Italian’s project was interrupted when his metal materials were confiscated for weapons. The statue in Grand Rapids in one of the highlights of the gardens.
Look for two other versions of the horse in the gardens. These include the 8-foot (2.4-meter) Homage to Leonardo and a tiny model made for the blind, who can feel its contours and details.
For entrance to the park, pay a fee, which is discounted for children, seniors and students. Toddlers are permitted free to the gardens, which open every day from morning until late in the afternoon.
The American Horse stands in the northern part of the Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. Reach the park on the eastern side of the city via a 45-minute bus ride from the downtown district. Walk through the park’s maze of trails to reach the statue.