A sculpture garden where visitors touch, climb on and lie down in statues worth millions of dollars attracts those who rarely visit museums.

The Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, being formally dedicated Saturday, is on 71/2 acres of downtown city parkland and is the largest urban sculpture garden in the country, city and museum officials say.It features a giant cherry in a spoon by Claes Oldenburg, and sculptures by other such masters as Isamu Noguchi and Henry Moore.

"I see children playing around and among the sculptures. They become active participants like you probably couldn't have in a museum," said David Fisher, superintendent of the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

The $12.8 million joint project of Walker Art Center, the park board and the University of Minnesota's Landscape Arboretum provides hands-on experience for adults, too, with its 40 sculptures.

Visitors, who have been allowed in during the two years the project has been in development, can swing on a platform suspended from the large, steel-beamed sculpture "Arikidea" by Mark di Suvero, watching the beams overhead shift slowly from the motion of the swing.

They can lie on their backs in the aluminum human form that faces the sky and become part of Peter Shelton's "BLACKVAULTfalloffstone."

"The interaction has been one of the bigger things that we've pulled off," Fisher said. "To watch the pure joy of some people in their interactions has been a real delight to me."

The sculptures date from early in the century to the present, and range in style from classical realism to elemental abstractism. They were created by artists working in a variety of media, including bronze, stone and wood.

The garden is meant to attract art lovers as well as people who don't normally frequent museums.