Summer is just around the corner! One fun, family-friendly summer activity is to explore the Great Outdoors with a trip to a nearby botanical garden, seasonal flower show, conservatory, or arboretum. Most major cities have botanical gardens that are free of charge to visit! This experience is not only fun for children, but it is a great educational opportunity for children to learn more about the world around them. Here are the best flower shows and botanical gardens in the U.S.
Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is not only a National Historic Landmark, it is also the nation’s oldest botanical garden in operation! It’s 79 acres is home to countless horticultural wonders, founder Henry Shaw’s original 1850 estate home, a 14-acre Japanese strolling garden, and one of the world’s largest collection of rare orchids. This Garden hosts many annual events ranging from a summer music festival to a holiday flower show. Off-property, the Garden also owns the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House and the 2400-acre Shaw Nature preserve!
Large greenhouses and an ample 88-acre park make visiting this Garden easy year-round! Franklin Park Botanical Gardens aims to connect the community through educational, cultural, and social experiences by offering a variety of classes and camps where visitor can learn about gardening, cooking, fine art, and wellness. Indoors, take a look at the over 400 species of plants or the variety of artwork including glass works by artist Dale Chihuly. Step outside and enjoy the beauty of Franklin Park’s green space, art sculptures, and easy-going walking loops!
Illinois isn’t only corn fields! A 45 minute drive North of the Loop, the Chicago Botanic Garden does not disappoint it’s motto Urbs in Horto (“city in a garden”). With nearly 400 acres, 26 gardens, and 4 natural areas, this Garden is famously known for its collection of 185 bonsai, making it one of the world’s biggest public displays of these miniature masterpieces. This hidden gem has one of the largest memberships (over 50,000!) of any U.S. botanic garden and is certainly worth the hike out of the city and into to the North suburbs!
Who says there isn’t life in the desert? For over 70 years, the Desert Botanical Garden has been teaching visitors and community members about the preservation of specifically desert plants. The Garden’s 145 acres are home to over 50,000 plant displays including a unique collection of cacti. Visit during the spring when the wildflowers are in bloom to see the spectacular butterfly exhibit!
Known as the city that does it big, the Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden is no exception! This Arboretum is located on the shores of White Rock Lake, making it the perfect backdrop for summer concerts and year-round festivities. Known for it’s family-friendly orientation, the Arboretum boasts an 8-acre children’s area with over 150 interactive games and a 20-foot waterfall! Check out the largest flower festival in the Southwest during the spring, or visit during the fall when the Garden becomes a pumpkin village with more than 50,000 pumpkins, squashes, and gourds!
Have you ever visited a botanical garden? Which one is your favorite? Share in the comment section!