Join us on Sunday, September 30th

We are pleased to announce the celebration of Traverse City’s beloved bovine Colantha has officially moved just down the road to Historic Barns Park, where Colantha herself spent her days.

Sunday, September 30th
12:00pm – 4:00pm
Historic Barns Park

Attendees of Colantha’s Garden Celebration can look forward to an afternoon of special activities to mark the harvest season and the beginning of a new school year. This event is designed for all interested persons, with a particular emphasis on families, and will be open to visitors without charge. The day will include educational activities about nature and the environment that are tailored to visitors from preschoolers through adults, along with activities just for fun.


About our beloved Traverse Colantha Walker

Ordinary cows simply don’t have their own celebration. However, Traverse Colantha Walker was no ordinary cow.

Colantha was one of 96 Holstein-Friesian cows in a herd belonging to Traverse City State Hospital. The hospital was in operation from 1884 to 1989, running as a self-sustainable facility with crops and livestock tended by hospital staff and patients.

Colantha put Traverse City on the map in 1926 when she produced 22,918 pounds of milk in a single year, making her the highest producer in the world. By comparison, the state average was only 3,918 pounds of milk per cow in a single year. The beloved bovine’s legacy didn’t end there; over the course of her lifetime, her total production was a remarkable 200,114.9 pounds of milk.

Upon Colantha’s death in 1932, a banquet was held in her honor and a memorial headstone was placed at her gravesite. The Master Plan for The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park includes a garden in Colantha’s honor with her favorite flowers – buttercups and milkweed.

How to find Historic Barns Park


Where should I park?

More information coming soon! Our sincerest thanks to The Magic Shuttle Bus and Bill Marsh Auto for providing much-needed transportation and shuttle support for attendees.

What should I wear?

Please wear comfortable shoes that are accommodating for exploring uneven terrain and that you don’t mind getting a little dirty, and dress in layers appropriate for the day’s forecast. Sunscreen is also a great idea!

What's the restroom situation?

We have three handicapped-accessible restrooms in the Visitor Center (two on the lower level and one on the upper level) and will also offer additional sets of water stations and porta potties within the Park.

Will there be food and drinks?

Yes! Food trucks and Moomer’s Homemade Ice Cream will be ready to serve attendees this year. The Cathedral Barn will also be offering refreshments. There will be two sets of water stations in the Park as well.

What if the weather isn't great?

The show must go on! There are several covered structures within Historic Barns Park that will be used if we experience inclement weather. We’ve also heard that flowers can’t grow without rain so we’re not afraid to get a little wet!

What's Historic Barns Park like?

Historic Barns Park features many areas of uneven terrain that include bright sun and areas for shade, grass, stone and rocks, dirt, flowers and trees, insects, water features and more. There are several flatter gravel and dirt pathway areas for those to enjoy who can’t easily traverse uneven terrain. There are also several benches throughout the park for those who would like to take a break and rest.

The Botanic Garden is thrilled to offer increased accessibility to those who may need it. In addition to our golf carts, we have a new automatic door opening system for the upper level of the Visitor Center, supported through the generosity of the Rotary Good Works Fund, that serves as a tremendous help for visitors who use wheelchairs, walkers, or scooters, as well as families with children in strollers. The Estes Family ADA Ramp continues to allow those who need it to smoothly traverse the terrain from the front garden spaces through the Native Plant Garden, past the top of the Water Fountain, up to the Pavilion and upper level of the Visitor Center.

Historic Barns Park is rich in history and features many original structures with fascinating stories to tell. We ask that attendees enjoy the park in respectful ways to help ensure that future generations of visitors can enjoy the park as well.

Want to become a sponsor of Colantha's Garden Celebration?

11 + 1 =

Want to be a vendor at Colantha's Garden Celebration?

4 + 13 =

Questions about Colantha's Garden Celebration?

4 + 1 =

Visit the Garden

1490 Red Dr
Traverse City, Michigan

Garden Clippings

E-newsletter sign up

Give us a call

(231) 935-4077