Successful lawyer and keen art lover, Anthony Grant, had spent many years collecting art to the point where he had so much he had to store it in warehouses. Eventually he felt it was time to share his collection with the public so he and his wife, Sandra, spent around 10 years developing these beautiful and unique gardens and galleries. They chose the name Sculptureum, a combination of sculpture and museum, to reflect the idea that his gardens are a repository for museum quality sculpture and art. They intended it to be colourful, whimsical, fun and enriching. It is all of these things.
The three immaculately groomed gardens are diverse and broken into themes including the classical
garden, a philosophical garden, a whimsical garden, a palm garden and the famous pink snail garden. There are live birds in aviaries, turtles in eye level tanks and rabbits which are housed in a cleverly designed, escape proof run called Rabbiton. The six galleries display glass art, abstract art, and art made from recycled materials. Thrillingly there are pieces by Picasso, Cezanne and Rodin along side inexpensive but quirky works included just for fun. The centrepiece of one gallery is the astonishingly beautiful large glass chandelier by artist Dale Chihuly
|And here I am just hanging out with Mark Twain|
Left: Some quotes in the philosophical garden
|The snail garden is very popular with visitors. Note the meerkats up a tree in the background and the bright red pig to the side. There is something to see everywhere you look.|
|Dale Chihuly's chandelier|
|Wind tree from recycled material|
|This goat is made from hundreds of forks|
Since we had a four year old in tow we intended to spend only a couple of hours at The Sculptureum but ended up spending around three and a half. The four year old loved it. There were plenty of magical, whimsical pieces to keep her happy and, of course the rabbits.
There is also an excellent quality restaurant on site called Rothko where you can have meals or simply light refreshments.
My photos really don't do these gardens and galleries justice. I was so busy and happy looking I forgot to take photos.
The Sculptureum is a world class attraction and an absolute must if you are visiting Auckland for a few days. I can't wait to go back and now have it firmly on my list of things to do with overseas visitors.
The Sculptureum is at 40 Omaha Flats Rd, Matakana, North of Auckland
Open: Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday
Closed: Tuesday and Wednesday
Buy tickets on line @ www.sculptureum.co.nz