Art Along the Way: Bike Rides to Sculpture Gardens
One of the best ways to make memories when you’re traveling is to spend some time viewing art along the way. Next time you’re on a bike ride, keep an eye out for colorful public art pieces. Maybe you’ll see bike pieces along your favorite rail trail. You might visit a huge, bright mural. Hopefully you’ll get off your bike for a few minutes to take a breather in a peaceful zen garden.
At Wilderness Voyageurs, we want to show you the real local highlights – even if they’re off the beaten path a bit. In this article, we’ve collected a few tours that visit exceptional and unique sculpture gardens.
What is a sculpture garden?
A sculpture garden (or sculpture park) is an outdoor garden or park with several permanent, outdoor artworks. These might be private, or owned by a museum or gallery. Some cities own large numbers of public sculptures, which are often set in city parks.
Exhibits range from individual, traditional sculptures to large site-specific installations. Sculpture gardens may also vary greatly in size and scope, either featuring the collected works of multiple artists, or the artwork of a single individual. There are around 300 sculpture parks and gardens in the U.S. Read on to discover some of the spectacular sculpture gardens we visit on our bike tours!
Modern sculpture in New Mexico
Santa Fe is a magnet for artists and art lovers. Every corner of this adobe city has a jeweller, an art gallery or a super-chic cafe. Santa Fe’s famous Canyon Road is one of the densest art markets in the whole country in a short, half-mile stretch nestled under the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. If you know the right people, there are even art parties lasting into the early hours of the morning and secret, invite-only gallery openings. With its gorgeous weather and famously clear light, Santa Fe is a beacon for contemporary artists.
Opened in 1971, Shidoni is the oldest gallery in the Santa Fe area under the same ownership. Spanning five acres, Shidoni includes a spacious Arts Gallery, intimate Bronze Gallery, and peaceful Sculpture Garden with plenty of outdoor seating. Leave your bike at the entrance and wander among the largest selection of contemporary sculpture found in the Southwest.
Bonus: Just across the street is the Tesuque Glassworks, a locally owned glass studio founded in the 1970s. Stop in and admire the otherwordly glass art. If you’re lucky, you might even catch an artist making a glass sculpture in the studio!
A Washington Island Sculpture Forest
Our Olympic Peninsula bike tour is a five-day tour jam-packed with sights to see! You’ll hike to a waterfall in a national park, stroll charming Victorian towns, sail across the water on ferries, ride along the Olympic Discovery Trail and eat locally sourced meals from Puget Sound. You might think there’s no time for a side trip! Trust us, this one’s worth it.
On our day trip to Whidbey Island, you can visit the ethereal Price Sculpture Forest. From downtown Coupeville, ride up the hill to this amazing outdoor art display. Leave your bike at the entrance and stroll through the Sculpture Forest.
This park is set in a forest of century old trees, rhododendrons, and native understory, and the forest is alive with surprise. Discover art at your side, hanging from trees, or hidden behind foliage. Experience an outdoor interactive museum where you are encouraged to wander the trails, investigate outdoor art, and be immersed in the natural world!
Seaside Sculpture in the San Juans
Our Washington San Juan Islands bike tour is another one that’s full of fun, memorable activities. But don’t miss the San Juan Islands Sculpture Park! This 20-acre outdoor park with more than 150 unique sculptures in a beautifully landscaped setting. Trails are mapped and marked to follow on a self-guided tour.
The San Juan Islands Sculpture Park was founded in 1998 and it was originally called the Westcott Bay Institute for Art & Nature. The Park has evolved to offer its visitors a quality experience of art and nature working in harmony.
Be sure to make your way over to the Friendship Totem, one of several interactive exhibits at the park.
The 30-foot pole was envisioned as a way to establish an artistic connection between park visitors from all over the world, who were encouraged to engrave their names into the totem. By 2016, the pole was covered with over 12,000 signatures and was erected, with six shorter poles added around it that visitors can now sign.
Park visitors are encouraged to permanently engrave their name, where they are from and the date of their visit on one of the poles. Tools are provided for engraving.