Sunday, August 10, 2014

Atlanta Botanical Gardens Review

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Atalanta Botanical Gardens is a tranquil 36 year old, 30 acre garden nestled inside the hustling and bustling city of Atlanta. There is so much to see and do and something for every age at these gardens. There are several outdoor gardens like the Japanese Garden and Rose Garden. The Fuqua Conservatory and Orchid Center which features rare and endangered tropical and desert plants from around the world. The 600 foot Canopy Walk leading you on a journey through the treetops to the Woodland Gardens. The Edible Garden and even a Children's Garden. 

A moms review:
Immerse yourself with nature and experience both native and exotic plants and flowers. Children will especially enjoy the 2 acre interactive Children's Garden built in partnership with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Before you enter the garden make sure you check out the great Atlanta Botanical Garden Fountain. My kids had a great time dipping their hands in the water and listening to the fountain its also a great photo spot. After you pay you will enter the visitor center where you can grab your map and exhibit brochure. The garden features annual special exhibits including art, sculptures, special flowers and more. Make sure you look UP inside the visitor center to see an truly amazing glass light fixture.

The first place we headed was Children's Garden of course. I was amazed at how LARGE this area is. I really liked that there is only one paved entrance into the Children's Garden area making it feel a little more secured if a child happens to run off from you. After you cross over the Flower Bridge you will be greeted by the sunflower splash fountain which was a huge hit with my two. There is also a caterpillar maze, tree house, fossil dig, waterfall pond, bog garden and more. Children will learn so much in this hands on area. YES hand on!! Children can use many of their senses to touch, smell, listen, see. There are butterflies, birds, dragonflies, bees, fish and lizards hanging out in the Children's Garden. My daughter absolutely loved the Bog Pond where there are fish, frogs and carnivorous plants to see.

After the Children's Garden we headed to the Edible Garden. Along the way we stopped to admire some of the many beautiful garden fountains and Perennial Garden. The Edible Garden is amazing. Adults and children will find this garden amazing. There are tomatoes, peaches, watermelons, figs, herbs and lots of other yummy stuff growing in this garden area. There is an outdoor kitchen in the Edible Garden where some of Atlanta's top chefs offer cooking classes.

Next we headed to our favorite area of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens the Fuqua Orchid Center and Conservatory. Here you will take a trip around the World and feel like you are actually in a Rainforest or Desert far away. Make sure you keep a careful eye out for some of the animals living here. We spotted turtles, tadpoles and some fascinating birds. There is also a great poisonous frog exhibit in the center. The Orchids and Cactus's were probably our most favorite in this building.

We then made our way to the Canopy Walk. Along the way we made sure to check out the rest of the outdoor gardens where we saw Roses, Conifers, Camellias, Vines and more Perennials. The Canopy Walk extends 600 feet and takes you on a journey through the branches of native trees like Oaks, Hickories and Poplars. It is the only tree canopy-level walkway in the US. At the end of the Canopy Walk you will end up in the Woodland Gardens where you can leave the paved path and travel on a dirt mulch path to view native Azaleas, Hydrangeas, Trillium and largest Tulip Poplar in Atlanta.

We realized we forgot to check out the Japanese Garden so we made sure to check out the oldest  area at Atlanta Botanical Garden before we left. In this garden there are beautiful Japanese Maples, Irises and Azaleas. This is a small area but quite beautiful with a waterfall, pond, bamboo fence and 300 yr old lantern from Japan. This gave me a great opportunity to discuss a different country and culture with the kids.

We spent about 4 hours at the Garden and were able see everything during that time. Actually there were a couple of things we saw twice because the kids REALLY wanted to walk though the Fuqua Conservatory and Orchid Center again.

I didn't know that the amazing Piedmont Park a 185 acre park is located adjacent to the gardens so we missed visiting the day we went to the gardens. But next time we will be sure to squeeze in a picnic and some fun at the park!

Extra details:
  • The gardens are a little pricey $18.95 for adults and $12.95 for children 3-12. But a family membership is $99-$129 so if you plan to visit again this would be the way to go.
  • Plan ahead with these awesome itineraries to get the most out of your trip. Special itineraries for children are also available.
  • If your children will want to play in the splash fountain consider having them wear their bathing suit under their clothes. Oh and maybe a towel for when they get back into the car.
  • The gardens asks that you not bring in food or drink. There is a cafe on site with snacks, drinks and meals. Kids meals are $6.25 and lunch meal specials are $12 (2 items, cookie and drink).
  • Parking fee is required. 31-60 minutes $2, each additional 30 minutes is $1, max rate is $15.There is covered and uncovered parking available. If you plan to visit frequently consider purchasing a multi-visit pass.
  • There are several restrooms decently spaced throughout the park but not all of them have baby changing areas. 
  • Allow yourself time to also check out Piedmont Park. There are lots of things to do at this amazing park like have a picnic lunch, bike riding, play in the fountains, swimming (small fee), playing at one of the two playgrounds and more. 
  • All paths and buildings are handicap and stroller accessible with the exception of the Woodland Gardens which a dirt and mulch pathway.
  • Whistle at the birds in the Fuqua Conservatory they like to whistle back.
  • Educators and homeschool families can prepare children for their visit by utilizing these great resources on the Atlanta Botanical Gardens Website.
  • The Atlanta Botanical Gardens offer homeschool day programming a couple times a year, which include special programming and discounted admission rates.

Atlanta Botanical Gardens
1345 Piedmont Avenue
Atlanta, GA, 30309

Links to follow:
-Atlanta Botanical Gardens Website
-Atlanta Botanical Gardens Facebook
-Atlanta Botanical Gardens Twitter

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