If you're driving through Battle Creek on Michigan Avenue, specifically the western part of town, you have PROBABLY seen some strange things on the north side of the road.

Just on the edge of the Leila Arboretum, a world of fantasy shows its face, and it's a pretty cool place to transport yourself into a fantasy, and take in some fresh air.

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The Fantasy Forest seems very out of place at first, but once you learn more about why it's there, then it's home at the Arboretum makes sense. These two-dozen-or-so carved wood sculptures are primarily made from Ash trees that are at risk, or were already destroyed by an invasive species of beetle - the Emerald Ash Borer.

This invasive beetle is originally from Asia, and has killed more than 50 million ash trees across the country. It first appeared in Michigan around 2002. Currently some 7.5 billion trees are at risk from the Emerald Ash Borer.

BUT, out of the bad, comes something good, to not only bring attention to the invasive bug, but also have a little fun, and provide some pretty incredible art for the communities of southwest Michigan.

Enter... the Fantasy Forest. All of the sculptures are made by artists from Michigan, and other states suffering from the beetle invasion, and all of the trees and stumps used were too far gone to save. So, they were turned into sculptures of centaurs, gnomes, trolls, dragons and even Groot.

So take a virtual tour through the Fantasy Garden and see some of the incredible sculptures, and be sure to visit the site in person some time this summer.

Battle Creek Arboretum's Fantasy Forest

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