Atlanta Botanical Garden: Green Paradise in the Heart of the City

Atlanta is a beautiful, verdant city. It is also a bustling, fast-moving city, always under construction, which can make it difficult for residents and visitors to appreciate its beauty. One of the best places to make up for this flaw is the Atlanta Botanical Garden.

This is one place devoid of many concrete structures and dusty vehicles. All you can see is greenery and colorful flowers along with birds and tree-borne animals. Popular with the young and the old, natives and visitors alike, the city has this place to save its transient face like you read full review of an otherwise incomplete website.

A healthy place to play

Located on Piedmont Avenue in Midtown Atlanta, the ABG features 15 acres of lush flora and fauna from around the world. Since 1999, families have had a special reason to visit the ABG: the fabulous two-acre Children’s Garden.
The Children’s Garden
Built in partnership with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, one of the USA’s largest providers of pediatric health care, the Garden’s focus is on health and wellness for the mind, body and spirit. However, like most memorable educational experiences for children, it is also a lot of fun. The Garden’s theme is “Live, Learn and Laugh,” and children will most certainly do all three.

To access the Children’s Garden, you must cross the Flower Bridge, a gray stone structure lined with rows of planters, which overflow with brightly-colored flowers and multihued foliage, and topped with a great arching trellis covered in flowering vines. Waiting to greet you at bridge’s end is the Green Man, a friendly-faced stone sculpture who doubles as a fountain. Make a left at the Green Man to enter the “Laugh Garden,” and immediately you feel a bit like Alice entering Wonderland, as you find yourself standing under a giant, branching sunflower plant.

Flora, fauna and fun
The Sunflower Sprinkler, as it turns out to be, is one of young Atlanta’s favorite cooling-off spots during the long hot summers. The sprinkler operates from 9 am to 7 pm during the warm months.

Moving into the garden proper, you come face-to-face with a giant caterpillar, whose mouth forms the entrance to the Butterfly Maze. Older children can read signs throughout the maze that detail the life cycle of a butterfly, while younger children enjoy skipping along its twisting paths, through the butterfly turnstile and under the colorful spotted vinyl tunnels that comprise the caterpillar’s body. The maze ends in the Butterfly Pavilion, an airy bower of wrought iron and steel featuring huge butterflies on its gates.

Next is the “Live Garden,” accessed through a stem-shaped tunnel, where visitors find a row of oversized fiberglass flowers. Children can push their pistils to hear information on plants’ roles in providing the air we breathe, then exit the Live Garden down a leaf-shaped slide.

Perhaps unexpectedly in a space devoted to nature and the outdoors, the “Learn Garden” contains literary overtones. A whimsical copper statue of a large frog, seated on a bench reading to a baby frog perched on its knee, enlivens the pathway to Peter Rabbit’s den, a large, hollowed-out tree trunk in which little ones can stop for a rest and a reading of Beatrix Potter’s classic tale. Afterward, they can pass through a white picket fence into Mr. McGregor’s vegetable garden and visit his shed for a peek at the giant watering can inside which Peter hid.

Science and nature combined
Next up is the Dinosaur Garden, where a duckbill dinosaur guards a large sandpit. Older children enjoy the challenge of sifting through the sand to find plant fossils, ancestors of the species planted in this area, while younger ones relish the opportunity to get down and dig.

A variety of classes and presentations are offered throughout the year in the nearby amphitheatre. In addition to the Young Sprouts program, for children ages three through five and their parents, the ABG offers a variety of drop-in classes and family programs throughout the year, all of which are free with Garden admission.

In the summertime, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta presents educational seminars with safety themes, teaching kids about natural hazards, like stinging insects and poisonous plants, and environmental concerns, such as smog and asthma.

The theme of living in harmony with nature and the land resounds strongly in the Indian Garden, which features a wattle and daub house, made of branches and mud, and displays Georgia plants used by native peoples for food, medicine and shelter.

A different journey to the past appears next, in Grandma’s Garden. Designed to reflect the 1850s, after Europeans settled in the South, Grandma’s Porch is a throwback to the old days, where you can “sit and rest a spell” on a rocker while appreciating the plants that were once used for food, medicine and decoration back in the day.

Games creatures play
Lest you fear the garden has become too serious, step through Grandma’s door into a garden of quirky painted creatures, such as a pajama-wearing cow busily brushing his teeth, and fantastic machines, like the huge spigot that emits bubbles. Kids can measure themselves against a huge mural of flowers and laugh at their reflections in a series of funhouse mirrors.

Gigantic insects dot the nearby Beehive Meadow, where bees and butterflies hover near the observation beehive (displayed during the warmer months), while a bowler-hat-wearing robin surveys the scene from a distance. Learn about pollination while navigating the stepping stones in front of the beehive, which are arranged in a bisected circle and contain instructions, such as “Buzz three times” and “Flap your wings.”

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The hustle and bustle of the bees fall away as you walk past, or under, a waterfall en route to the Woodland Treehouse. This multilevel structure, accessed by multiple stairways and exited via a twisting slide, illustrates the life cycle of trees and the balance of nature in woodland habitats.

The rest of the Atlanta Botanical Garden is equally delightful, with winding pathways, eclectic statuary, and of course thousands of plants and trees of all shapes, sizes and colors. Visitors of all ages can appreciate its beauty and serenity, all year round.

For directions, hours, or further information, call (404) 876-5859, or visit www.atlantabotanicalgarden.org.the end

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