Beautiful Botanical Gardens
Escape the city with a tranquil walk through one of these top botanical gardens.
Whether you want to plan your next vacation around furthering your horticultural knowledge or if you just want to take in some lush greenery, a botanical garden can be the quiet escape you need from a busy trip. With nearly 700 botanical gardens and arboretums across the country, chances are your travel destination isn’t too far from a floral paradise.
If visiting our country’s most high-profile landmarks in Washington, D.C., consider a detour to the United States Botanic Garden. Located near the Capitol on the National Mall, the “small” botanical garden has been there since 1933 and is home to both desert and tropical environments. Like other museums in our nation’s capital, it’s free for visitors. If you happen to visit in March, you’ll want to check out the 34-greenhouse production facility in D.C.’s historic neighborhood of Anacostia where you can see the operation that supports the national garden.
The Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio, is another notable destination. Home to the first-ever seasonal butterfly exhibit, this garden includes 400 plant species and a buckeye tree incubator, a nod to Ohio’s official state tree. If you’re planning a visit, check out the Hot Shop to see daily demonstrations by local and professional glass blowers as they create beautiful blown-glass artwork. For travelers heading west, the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix boasts one of the best collections of arid-land plants in the world with 50,000 plants from desert climates.
For family travel, the Chicago Botanical Garden offers kids & family events, ranging from story time to special classes. In the summer months, its famous model railroad garden attracts both train and garden enthusiasts, young and old, with 18 trains running through 7,500 square feet intricately handcrafted tunnels, bridges, buildings and topographical landscape. Other great kid-friendly gardens include the Rio Grande Botanic Garden in Albuquerque and San Antonio Botanical Garden; both offer special children’s gardens, allowing kids to learn and play at the same time.
If the thought of researching several hundred garden destinations is a bit overwhelming, check out the Top 10 Best Botanical Gardens as voted by USA Today readers. If you’re heading out of the country, check out Travel + Leisure’s list of Great Botanical Gardens of the World for some added inspiration.
Do you have a favorite botanical garden we missed? Share with us and other Fast Park guests on our Facebook page!