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?

The following lots will be available for Colantha’s Garden Celebration event parking:

• Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD) (lower and upper lots)
• Pine Rest Clinic lot
• Copper Ridge Surgery Center lot

Volunteers will be posted at each parking lot with event handout maps for attendees. Look for their yellow safety vests!

Shuttle services will be available from 12pm-4pm and will be generously provided by The Magic Shuttle Bus and Bill Marsh Auto.

Don’t forget that Norte will be offering a FREE Bike Valet in the T.C. Community Garden! There is also a walking trail from the Copper Ridge area directly to Historic Barns Park.

Check out the interactive Google Map to see all your options!

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… and maybe an umbrella!

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! We’re excited to featuring a wonderful line-up of food trucks, snacks, treats and drinks from Moomer’s Homemade Ice Cream, Norma’s Tamales, Press On Juice, Rockwich, Sparks BBQ, GoGo Squeeze, Oryana Community Co-op, Grow Benzie with Planted Cuisine, and Heartwood Forest Farms! The Cathedral Barn will also be offering donuts, cookies and cider. 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.

Did you mention prizes?

Attendees of Colantha’s Garden Celebration can enter to win a gift certificate generously donated by some of the area’s favorite restaurants!

Pick up an entry form from the welcome tent and drop off your completed form in the Botanic Garden Visitor Center Gift Shop anytime during the event (between 12pm – 4pm).

This year’s participating restaurants are:
Boone’s Long Lake Inn
The Cooks’ House
The Franklin
Trattoria Stella


Enter to win a gift certificate generously donated by some of the area’s favorite restaurants! Pick up an entry form from the welcome tent and drop off your complete form in the Visitor Center Gift Shop anytime during Colantha’s Garden Celebration (between 12pm – 4pm).

This year’s participating restaurants are Amical, Boone’s Long Lake Inn, The Cooks’ House,  Sorellina, The Franklin and Trattoria Stella. No purchase necessary! Although we can’t guarantee you won’t spot something you just have to have in our beautifully stocked Gift Shop…

Questions about Colantha's Garden Celebration?

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Traverse City, Michigan

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