Botanical gardens are wonderful oases from busy city visits. You can immerse yourself in floral sights and smells and fully reconnect with nature. These are just five of the many breathtaking gardens worth a visit near major metropolitan areas.
1. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond, VA
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is 55 acres of garden on a historic property once owned by founding father Patrick Henry. Its classic domed conservatory is home to an orchid collection and an annual butterfly exhibit. There are over a dozen themed gardens such as a Rose Garden, Asian Valley, and Cherry Tree Walk. Monthly plant events are available such as the daffodil society show in April and a spring plant sale in May. Enjoy poolside lounging at Americamps RV Resort about fifteen minutes north after your visit.
2. Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Columbus, OH
Over 20 years ago Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens was the first conservatory in the nation to showcase a seasonal butterfly exhibit, which to this day still draws thousands of visitors. The conservatory and gardens are home to over 400 species of plants that grow in a variety of environments like the desert to the rainforest. The botanical garden also has an eclectic variety of exhibits scheduled: carnivorous plants, fairy gardens, living sculptures, and bonsai. If you’re looking to stay in the area for the night, sites are available about 20 minutes west at Alton RV Park.
3. United States Botanic Garden, Washington, DC
Established in 1820, the United States Botanic Garden is one of the oldest botanical gardens in North America. While it’s one of the smaller gardens, being adjacent to the Capitol, its conservatory and 2 outdoor areas are filled to the brim with a collection of over 65,000 plants. Its year-round free admission encourages the public to return again and again to enjoy its ever-changing exhibits and events. Stay at Washington DC/Capitol KOA nearby and catch one of their shuttles into the city.
4. San Francisco Botanical Garden, San Francisco, CA
The San Francisco Botanical Garden, located inside the Golden Gate Park, is renowned for its Annual Bloom event (mid-January – March) where hundreds of magnolia trees burst into colors, filling the gardens with fragrance. The Bay Area’s unique combination range of climatic conditions allow this botanical garden to grow and conserve plants from all over the world. Extensive garden collections can be found here such as its Andean cloud forest and ancient plant garden. Camping’s available just across the San Francisco Bay at Anthony Chabot Regional Park.
5. Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver, CO
Blend your passion for nature and art at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Amid their extensive collection of plants, the gardens also feature indoor and outdoor art exhibits ranging from landscape paintings, sculptures and photos. Their Science Pyramid includes interactive exhibits, where you can explore the scientific side of plants. They also have hands-on experiences and play for kids at the Mordecai Children’s Garden. Plus you can plan your trip around one of their many free days throughout the year. After your visit, head south and stay a night at the peaceful Bear Creek Lake/Indian Paintbrush Campground.
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