Atlanta Botanical Garden in Atlanta
Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday from April to October and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. November to March
Location: 1345 Piedmont Ave., Atlanta
How much: $18.95 adults, $12.95 children 3-12, free to children younger than 3 and garden members
Contact: atlantabg.org or 404-876-5859
Atlanta Botanical Garden, A Smithgall Woodland Legacy in Gainesville
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday from April to October and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from November to March
Location: 1911 Sweetbay Drive, Gainesville
How much: $8 adults, $5 children 3-12, children younger than 3 and garden members are free
More info: atlantabg.org/visit/gainesville or 404-888-4760
While the Atlanta Botanical Garden lures tourists and gardeners alike to its facility in Atlanta, the garden at 1345 Piedmont Avenue does not forget to encourage the youngest generation to become plant lovers with an exhibit dedicated to them.
In fact, the Atlanta garden is set to reopen its revamped Children’s Garden soon.
The renovated garden will feature a larger splash pad, a new restroom building, more places for active outdoor play and more opportunities for hands-on play.
“It’s all going to look pretty new,” said Tracy McClendon, vice president of programs at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. “The structure of the garden is the same. The pathways are more or less in the same places. There are some familiar features but the aesthetic will be different. It will feel pretty different.”
Phase 1 of the project is completed but as of Wednesday hadn’t opened yet. McClendon said the garden was waiting on some permits and once they are received, it will open. That phase includes the splash pad, restrooms, a fruit and veggie garden, observation beehives and an amphitheater.
The splash pad will be nearly twice the size of the former area with plenty of room for parents and caregivers to sit. The new restroom will include a family restroom and large courtyard.
Phase 2 of the project is slated to open later in July, McClendon said. Phase 2 includes a bog and pond, a tree house and the gnome grotto. The tree house will have climbing nets, a climbing wall, slides and bridges.
“We enhanced the free play space, enhanced the opportunities to be active outdoors and I think the benefits of outdoor time for children and the benefits of unstructured play for children have really been our focus,” she said.
The garden has been closed for nearly a year while renovations were made.
“It’s a really engaging and immersive garden experience,” McClendon said. “It’s an opportunity to learn in a beautiful garden.”
The garden decided to update the Children’s Garden since it was built 16 years ago, McClendon said.
“We were one of the first botanical gardens in the country to have a children’s garden at all,” she said. “It opened in 1999 and meant a lot to families in Metro Atlanta.”
The mission of the Atlanta Botanical Garden is to develop and maintain plant collections for display, education, research, conservation and enjoyment. It’s hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday from April to October and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. November to March.
Admission is $18.95 adults, $12.95 children 3-12, free to children younger than 3 and garden members. For more information, visit atlantabg.org or call 404-876-5859.
The Atlanta Botanical Garden, A Smithgall Woodland Legacy in Gainesville also tends to its youngest customers. The Gainesville garden conducts several summer activities for area children, too.
“We’re part of the Atlanta Botanical Garden and do the same type of programs they do, just on a smaller scale,” said Wanda Cannon, education and volunteer coordinator at the Gainesville garden. “We want to bring children and families to come in and connect them to nature.”
Saturday, the park will host one of its monthly children’s performances. Scott Douglas will perform an engaging and interactive performance using a variety of musical instruments made from wood and plants from around the world. The performance is set for 11 a.m. June 25.
The event is free, along with the programs listed below, with paid garden admission or membership. Registration is not required.
Other children’s events at the Gainesville garden are:
* Story Time and Smiles at 10 a.m. Wednesdays
Young children enjoy weekly stories centered around nature and the gardens in Gainesville, such as butterflies, bees and ladybugs. Story Time is for children accompanied by an adult.
* Discovery Stations from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays
Nature-inspired educational stations showcase different topics on the garden’s natural environment. Summer themes are honey bees and herbs. Stations rotate seasonally.
*Budding Artists from 11 a.m. to noon the second Wednesday of the month
Children ages 4-6 accompanied by an adult may use their creativity to make seasonally inspired art.
* Terrific trains
Children can play with toy trains in the Model Train Garden from 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
* Children’s performances at 11 a.m. the last Saturday of the month from May to September.
Different artists such as musicians and storytellers are brought in each month for a children’s show in the Ivester Amphitheater.
The Gainesville garden is at 1911 Sweetbay Drive in Gainesville. The entrance is off Cleveland Highway a quarter-mile north of Limestone Parkway on what was formerly Lakehill Drive. Hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday from April to October and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. from November to March.
Admission is $8 adults, $5 children 3-12, children younger than 3 and garden members are free. For more information visit atlantabg.org/visit/gainesville or call 404-888-4760.