GRAND RAPIDS TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Thousands of people waited in line at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park Thursday to experience the rare blooming of a corpse flower.

Horticulturists at Meijer Gardens said Thursday would be the best day to come see — and smell — it. 

“Rotten garbage I think that’s a good description,” said Michael Zalewski, who visited the exhibit with his wife and grandson.

“It was stinky,” Zalewski’s grandson told 24 Hour News 8. “It smelled like rotten cheese.”

Dozens of people were lined up out the door before Meijer Gardens opened Thursday morning. Most reactions from the corpse flower’s fans were as obvious as its odor.

“It smelled like rotten meat to me and when I really got close to the plant, it was just spectacular to see,” said Rebecca Smiggen, who visited the flower earlier this week before it bloomed.

“It’s a beautiful plant even though it smells kind of nasty,” Smiggen said after taking pictures by the flower, cleverly named Putricia.

There were mixed reviews throughout the day. Some people said they smelled it from afar, but not when they got close. Others expected a more offensive smell.

“It has a sweet smell, but it also has like a stinky smell at the same time,” Helen Schmidt said.

“It’s not half as bad as I thought,” she added.

Steve LaWarre, director of horticulture at Meijer Gardens, has been nurturing the flower for 18 years. This is the first time it’s bloomed.

The long-awaited stench lived up to the hype for him.

“You have to be in the right spot,” LaWarre said, noting that the air flow in the conservatory wafted the smell.

The staff redirected traffic after a few hours to make sure everyone hit what LaWarre called the “sweet spot,” an area between Putricia and the cave.

WOOD TV8 has partnered with Meijer Gardens to set up a livestream of the flower in case you can’t make it out:

>>App users: Watch our livestream of the corpse flower

The flower’s spathe started to open Wednesday night. As the flower opened, it revealed a maroon interior and began to give off its signature unpleasant smell. The color and odor attracts insects, which pollinate the plant.

Putricia should start to close by Thursday evening and be completely closed by the end of Saturday.