10 Beautiful Botanical Gardens to Visit this Spring

As Spring swings into full bloom, what better way to enjoy the warm weather than strolling through a well-manicured, gorgeous garden? From cherry blossoms to cactus, Japanese gardens to greenhouses, and canopy walks to living sculptures-- botanical gardens highlight the beautiful array of nature’s flora. Visiting botanical gardens may not be your first thought when you’re making your weekend plans but with concerts, shows and exhibits, there’s more to do than just look at pretty flowers. So, in honor of National Garden Month, here’s a list, in no particular order, of ten of most lovely botanical gardens in the US:

Chicago Botanic Garden

Image courtesy of Chicago Botanical Garden 

Image courtesy of Chicago Botanical Garden 

This 385-acre awe inspiring Great Basin garden spans nine islands with unbelievably beautiful bridges and terraces in the Cook County Forest Preserves. With over 2.4 million plants, it features 27 display gardens in four natural habitats: McDonald Woods, Dixon Prairie, Skokie River Corridor, and Lakes and Shores. With 50,000 current members, this garden has the biggest membership of any public garden in the USA and it definitely makes sense why!

 
Image courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden. 

Image courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden

This National Historic Landmark was created back in 1859 and is the oldest botanical garden in the country. Located in St. Louis, this 79-acre oasis feature: a Japanese garden, the Climatron geodesic dome conservatory, a children's garden, a pioneer village, a playground; a fountain area, a water locking system, an Osage camp; and Henry Shaw’s original 1850 estate home. With so many things to keep you entertained and the fact that it’s the oldest garden in the country, it’s a must!

 
Image courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Image courtesy of Atlanta Botanical Garden.

Wow! This 30-acre garden is jaw dropping. With over a dozen living sculptures and a 600-foot-long, 40-feet high canopy walk, the garden is incredible. Not mention, the Dorothy Chapman Fuqua Conservatory is truly unique, featuring plants from deserts and tropical rain forests.  Can you believe all this is situated next to Piedmont Park in Midtown Atlanta?

 
Image courtesy of Scott Dressel-Martin

Image courtesy of Scott Dressel-Martin

Talk about having it all; this garden offers a wide range of activities for the whole family. There’s art and sculptures, a Japanese garden with an authentic tea house and an incredible science pyramid with all sorts of interactive activities. This 23-acre garden even has a sunken amphitheater that host concerts in the summer. While undeniably beautiful, this garden is a no brainer to visit when in the Denver area.

 
Image courtesy of Ari Kane.

Image courtesy of Ari Kane.

Located in Coral Gables, this 83-acre garden is home to a variety of tropical flowers and plants, with the garden’s intent of preserving biodiversity. There’s a wide range of exotic flowering trees, vines, palms and cycads to gawk at as you stroll around this extensive area. More than just a pretty garden, it also includes a museum, laboratory, research facility and learning center. If you’re interest in learning a lot while visiting a garden, this is the spot for you.

 
Image courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden.

Image courtesy of the New York Botanical Garden.

Every year, over a million guests visit the million plus range of plants living in this remarkable 250-acre garden in NYC. Originally built by industry giant, David Rockefeller, as a rose garden for his wife, this garden has evolved into a beautiful beacon with the local community.  Around 90,000 yearly visitors are children from underserved neighboring communities, coming to learn about plant science, ecology and healthful eating through NYBG's hands-on, curriculum-based programming. Not only is this garden stunning, it’s using its beauty to help serve its local community. How awesome is that?

 
Image courtesy of David Kruse-Pickler

Image courtesy of David Kruse-Pickler

Known for its rare magnolias, redwood grove and cloud forest, this 55-acre garden is one of Golden Gate Park’s staples. The highlight of this garden is the blooming of the vibrant magnolias occurring from mid-January to March. Yet, there’s enough to see if you miss the magnolia blooms, with over 50,000 individual plants from all over the world. Just be sure to stop by the park’s Japanese garden, too.

 
Image courtesy of Adam Rodriguez.

Image courtesy of Adam Rodriguez.

Named as Phoenix’s Point of Pride, this unprecedented 145-acres devoted solely to desert plants is one of a kind. There’s over 21,000 plants with 139 species of rare plants and, of course, there’s also a collection of unique cacti.  Ideal in spring when the wildflowers are in bloom, this garden is still magnificent year-round with all the different types of desert fauna represented.

 
Image courtesy of 3North.

Image courtesy of 3North.

Situated in Richmond, Virginia, this classical garden sure is a southern gem. 50-acres of beautiful flowers, domed conservatory houses and a huge tree house for kids, this garden will keep you and your family entertained all day. Open year round the garden goes all out in the winter with a magical display of lights. When you stop by the garden, be sure to check out the orchids.

 
Image courtesy of Ian Watt.

Image courtesy of Ian Watt.

While technically five gardens, this non-profit institution is home to some of the most exquisite gardens in the world.

The locations include:

The Allerton Garden’s Moreton Bay Fig Tree may look familiar if you’ve ever seen the movie Jurassic Park. These exotic gardens are truly magnificent and without a doubt a necessity if ever in Hawaii or Florida.

Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to walking in a garden to know it
— Rumi

While you may not be planning a trip to any of these states any time soon, it’s good to know these gardens exist when you do. Although it’d be nice to check out all these gardens or even a few, it may not currently be possible for you to take a trip. But, hopefully this list will inspire you to research the local botanical gardens in your area and check them out this weekend!