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Need an escape? Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville offers activities for children and adults
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Gainesville's Atlanta Botanical Garden is offering a scavenger hunt for kids through October and a Wine in the Woodlands activity for adults. - photo by Scott Rogers

Paths of blooming flowers and quiet streams at Gainesville’s Atlanta Botanical Garden await adults and children eager to explore and seek serenity amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

“We feel like gardens are a great place to destress from regular life,” Mildred Fockele, Gainesville garden director, said. “A lot of people are under extra stress right now, and this is a place of great beauty and calm.” 

Something for the kids 

To give people more of a reason to seek the outdoors, the nonprofit has launched a scavenger hunt program for kids as well as a photoshoot activity. Parents and guardians can pick up instructions for the kids’ games at the visitor service lobby. 

Fockele said the scavenger hunt invites children to locate 12 items pictured on a card, such as a Northern cardinal, acorn or mushroom.  

“They just have to find all the objects in the garden,” she said. “Parents can help, and it’s easy to do on your own.” 

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Gainesville's Atlanta Botanical Garden is offering a scavenger hunt for kids through October. - photo by Scott Rogers

Families can also join in a photoshoot activity, which prompts participants to take pictures at several garden landmarks, like the friendly beast, Desmond the Dragon. People are encouraged to post their photos on social media with the hashtag, #atlantabggvl. 

Both the scavenger hunt and photoshoot opportunity will be available through October. 

At 10 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. on Wednesdays, the garden welcomes families for story time as the education manager reads nature-themed books. Fockele said one of the property’s lawns contains circles for people to sit inside, which are distanced from one another by 6 feet.  

At 10 a.m. and 10:45 a.m. on Thursdays, the nonprofit hosts “Garden Grooves” for children to sing and dance to kid-friendly music. Participants are encouraged to bring their own shaker instruments. 

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Gainesville's Atlanta Botanical Garden is offering a scavenger hunt for kids through October. - photo by Scott Rogers

Wine in the Woodlands 

Adults can wind down at the end of the week by taking a stroll through the garden, alcoholic drink in hand, during the Wine in the Woodlands experience. 

From 5-8 p.m. every Friday and Saturday through Nov. 1, visitors are invited to buy a glass of wine, beer or carbonated beverage from the bar and walk around the property. All purchases must be made by card. Guests are welcome to bring chairs or blankets for seating.  

For those wanting to enjoy a light meal with their drink, 2 Dog, a restaurant located in downtown Gainesville, is delivering meals to the garden. Visitors must place their order at least 24 hours in advance by filling out a form and emailing it to tina@2dogrestaurant.com. The form can be found at atlantabg.org/calendar/wine-in-the-woodlands/all/

Fockele said the experience is family friendly, offering an outlet for adults to relax as their children run and play around the property.  

“It’s a great time to come and bring the kids out and just enjoy the garden,” she said. “It’s also a great place to be outside and socially distanced from people. They don’t have to travel far because we’re right here in Gainesville.” 

All guests over the age of 2 are required to wear a mask or face covering while indoors. A limited number of people will be admitted every 15 minutes. People can purchase a ticket online for a specific time by visiting atlantabg.org/tickets. Members must also reserve their times. Entry is not guaranteed for those who purchase tickets at the gate. 

 Atlanta Botanical Garden in Gainesville 

Where: 1911 Sweetbay Drive, Gainesville 

When: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. 

How much: Adults, $8; children 3-12, $5; timed tickets required 

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Gainesville's Atlanta Botanical Garden is open with timed tickets for visitors. - photo by Scott Rogers
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