Are you a lover of plants? What about landscape architecture? Do you enjoy leisurely strolls? If you answered yes to any of the above questions, check out one of these top five stunning botanical gardens located throughout the U.S. (Psssst: A visit to a botanic garden and a lunch at a lovely restaurant makes a perfect Mother’s Day outing.)
Brooklyn Botanic Garden (photo)
Located in the heart of New York City, this urban sanctuary is popular with Brooklyn residents looking for a nature escape and tourists alike. Take a free guided tour (beginning at 1:00 p.m. most weekend days—meet at the visitor’s center), or stroll the grounds on your own. While you’re there, take a stroll through Bluebell Wood, a wooded haven filled with blooming bluebells, as the name implies. 718-623-7200; bbg.org.
United States Botanic Garden
Located on the National Mall, the United States Botanic Garden is truly a national treasure. Admission is free, and there are a number of educational opportunities for children and adults. Visitor favorites include the rose garden, the butterfly garden and the First Ladies' water garden. 202-225-8333; www.usbg.gov.
Desert Botanical Garden
The 50-acre Desert Botanical Garden is filled with desert plants, including cacti and succulents. A unique aspect of the garden is the collection of 140 rare, endangered or threatened plants included on the groups. The Desert Botanical Garden hosts an annual spring concert series, called Music in the Garden, from March- June. 480-941-1225; dbg.org.
Atlanta Botanical Garden
The Atlanta Botanical Garden has a lot to offer on top of its beautiful landscaping. Check out the orchid conservatory or one of the visiting art exhibitions on view. Perhaps most impressive is the “canopy walk,” which allows lets visitors tour an urban forest from 40 feet in the air. 404-876-5859; atlantabotanicalgarden.org.
Chicago Botanic Garden
The expansive (385-acre) Chicago Botanic Garden is beloved by Windy City dwellers and tourists alike. It includes 24 display gardens and four native plant habitats (the vegetable gardens are especially impressive). Most of the gardens are located on islands,which just adds to their loveliness. There are also a number of classes, specialized tours, and various on-site educational opportunities for learners of all ages. 847-835-5440; chicago-botanic.org.
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