If you are lucky enough to live near any botanic gardens (or other wonderful parks) in your area then you may already be aware of what a good choice they can be to visit. But if you don’t, you might want to consider adding a visit to one on your next holiday. Here you’ll find some reasons why they are great to visit and some suggestions on where to go.
Often they are completely free to visit (and usually the guided tours are as well, although check their websites!) You are able to bring your own snacks and you will find some water fountains around the gardens to refill your water bottles. Therefore it is a very budget friendly activity.
They are a wonderful way to ‘get back to nature’. Research shows that getting outside and going for a walk in nature is beneficial to both your physical and mental health. That goes for people of all ages!
Gardens are wonderful resources for children to develop their skills and learning through play and observation. Sensory play is also learning as they absorb what is happening around them through their senses of touch, smell, sight, sound and taste (well, maybe not taste in this case…) A baby feeling grass, a preschooler identifying colours on flowers, a school child reading the names on signs are all part of learning while having fun.
Botanic gardens are essentially living collections allowing us to observe a variety of plant life that we otherwise may not get to see. They are also often peaceful, restful places that allow you the time to wonder at your own pace and take it all in. Yet, they are also very welcoming of families and with so much space it doesn’t feel crowded.
You may spot some wildlife! Often you will find various birds, some insects, lizards and other animals within the gardens. The general rule is to not feed them. As always, be cautious when walking about and going off the paths. In particular keep a look out for snakes – we once spotted a green one up in Darwin!
Extra features! While the Botanic Gardens have a wonderful collection of nature on display some also have playgrounds for the children to go on and children’s gardens to explore, especially for them. Just an extra way to get them involved!
Adelaide Botanic Garden
My boy was almost 10 months old when we took him here. At this age, simply having the opportunity to sit and move around on the grass and play with sticks was a good sensory experience for him to have (particularly as there was no grass at our house). We also saw several birds within the gardens.
We have also visited a few other times and the Bicentennial Conservatory and the Amazon Waterlily Pavilion are areas that are also recommended to see while you’re there. Some of these areas may close earlier than the rest of the gardens so be sure to check their website for more information and to find out about any free guided tours.
Are you planning a trip to Adelaide? Check out the Adelaide Zoo and the South Australian Museum which are both nearby.
Brisbane City Botanic Garden
We spent most of our Brisbane trip walking everywhere and this one was so close to the city it was easy to access. Within these gardens is also a playground and we spent some time there, particularly enjoying the swings. We were a few months shy of our boy being two at the time of our visit but he loved getting out and wondering around, stopping to sit and play in the leaves or wave to the lizards and birds.
I really liked the Banyon trees and there are many other things to look at such as the fountains, weeping fig avenue trees, roses, and a river walk. Did I mention the lizards? We saw so many!
Guided walks and self-guided walks are available and they often have activities scheduled in the gardens. The playground is also labeled as an ‘all abilities playground’ making it inclusive for more children. More information can be found on their website.
Are you after more recommendations for Brisbane? The Roma Street Parklands were also beautiful to visit (and also have a playground) or if you’re willing to head out of the city you may wish to explore Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens.
You can read about our trip to Brisbane here.
Royal Botanic Garden Melbourne
At two and a half our child basically spent the entire time walking around on his own (only hopping in the pram when tired) and he loved seeing the ducks flying in and out of the water. There were several areas to explore, with colourful flowers, bamboo trees and more. They have a variety of collections to observe. They also have The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden which sounds like a wonderful place for the children to really get in and explore hands on, however it was closed on the day we visited. Definitely check the website for details and let me know if you’ve been there!
Melbourne can sometimes be very cold and rainy so if the weather isn’t great you may want to check out The Shrine of Remembrance which is nearby.
Other recommendations that we have visited before we became parents….
Kings Park and Botanic Garden – Perth, Western Australia
As a bonus you’ll get some great city views!
George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens – Darwin, Northern Territory
So much greenery! Make sure you have some water with you, especially on those hot, humid days.
Chinese Garden of Friendship – Sydney, New South Wales
A peaceful place, right within the city!
Christchurch Botanic Gardens – Christchurch, New Zealand
Possibly the prettiest gardens I’ve been too! And if you’ve planned a trip to Christchurch the Canterbury Museum is right next door (and highly recommended!)
Let me know if you’ve been to any of these locations before or perhaps tell me your recommendations in the comments!