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Beauty blooms in these 5 gardens

  • NEW YORK TIMES / 2014

    A school group walks under cherry trees at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden in New York.

Awash in color, scent and texture, gardens are a gift from the natural world. Here are five places where beauty is blooming:

1. Desert Botanical Gardens

Phoenix

Tucked within the red-hued landscape of Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden hosts one of the world’s finest collections of desert plants. The garden is home to rare, threatened and endangered plant species from around the world. Families enjoy the magical Butterfly Pavilion, where beautiful winged creatures, native to the Southwest, sip nectar and gently perch on young visitors. You’ll learn about the butterfly life cycle in the caterpillar nursery and observe butterflies emerging from their chrysalis. Also, check out Cocoon, a new place for creative garden play.

Contact: DBG.org

2. Longwood Gardens

Kennett Square, Pa.

During spring, more than 20 indoor and 20 outdoor gardens flaunt their finest colors, and families are encouraged to explore the more than 1,000 acres of gardens, woodlands, meadows and fountains, plus a 4.5-acre conservatory. From family story time and scavenger hunts in the Children’s Garden to guided visits to a meadow and invigorating seasonal programs, this Pennsylvania gem offers a wealth of opportunity to learn about the natural world.

Contact: LongwoodGardens.org

3. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn, N.Y.

Toddler discovery, tree detective and family weekend programs combine to make this an outstanding place to inspire young naturalists. The expanded Discovery Garden, created for the youngest garden guests, provides hands-on opportunities to investigate plant and animal life in an immersive landscape. Don’t miss the winding pathways and unique beauty of the Japanese Gardens, for which the BBG is noted.

Contact: BBG.org

4. West Seattle Bee Garden

Seattle

Discover the busy world of bees during a visit to this intriguing bee garden. Your family can safely learn about the importance of honeycomb, nectar, honey and pollen and why we need to preserve the bee population. Take time to walk through the adjacent park and talk about plants and their role in the pollination process. An annual festival includes activities for kids, music and enhanced educational programs.

Contact: WestSeattleBeeGarden.com

5. Magnolia Plantation

Charleston, S.C.

See camellias, daffodils, azaleas and scores of other species in bloom within America’s oldest public garden. Founded in 1676 and open for visitors since 1870, the expansive and historic plantation is home to the last large scale Romantic Garden left in the United States. Naturalist guides will help the kids spot alligators, turtles, egrets and herons in their native habitat while on a tram tour of the plantation’s wetlands, marshes, lakes and forests. A 45-minute history tour details Magnolia’s role in moving from slavery to freedom. Kids will love the petting zoo and nature center where they can get friendly with white tail deer, pygmy goats and other small creatures.

Contact: MagnoliaPlantation.com

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