The Atlanta Botanical Garden is an oasis in the middle of the city. It is a fun place to spend a day or part of a day any time of year. There are fountains, an indoor conservatory and orchid center, a garden with a view over the Atlanta skyline, a glass windowed restaurant with views over the gardens, Chihuly glass sculptures, and a fun children’s garden with a slide, a small swinging bridge, and other fun places to explore. Special events are held throughout the year, including holiday light displays from mid-November through the holiday season when the garden comes alive with lights at dusk. Listen to the podcast of this post by clicking on the audio bar at the bottom of the page.
Entering the Atlanta Botanical Garden
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is located adjacent to Piedmont Park. If you are driving or taking a taxi, Uber, or Lyft, enter the garden from Piedmont Avenue. The exact address is 1345 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta, GA, 30309.
There is a parking deck right in front of the garden. Parking is $2.00 per hour, up to a maximum of $15.00.
Purchase tickets at the entrance gate to the right. Tickets are $21.95 for adults and $15.95 for children ages 3 to 12. Children under 3 are free. If you will return again during the year, check to see if the season pass will save your family money. You may find that with the four free included guest passes, you will save money with a pass. Passes are also reciprocal for admissions at a number of botanical gardens and museums throughout the United States.
The park is open daily except Monday until at least 4:00 p.m. During the summer, the park is open until 7:00 p.m. During holiday lights season, the park is open nightly until at least 10 p.m.
After purchasing your tickets, proceed through the Visitor Center. Look up to see the Nepenthes Chandelier in the Visitor Center. The famous glass artist, Dale Chihuly, designed the hanging sculpture. He was inspired by the Garden’s tropical carnivorous pitcher plant collection.
After exiting the Visitor Center, follow the path to the left. When you come to the intersection with the main path, take a few minutes to view the Southern Seasons Gardens in front of you. Then, turn right to reach the Canopy Walk.
Follow the Kendeda Canopy walk to the right as it gradually rises to 40 feet in the air above the Storza woods. The 600 foot long walk has beautiful views over the gardens and forest. The walk is not strenuous, but there are a few benches to stop and rest while you enjoy the view. The canopy walk is stroller and wheelchair accessible. When you are at the top of the Canopy Walk, look to the right where you will see the Water Mirror fountain falling in stair steps from the large yellow Chihuly glass tree sculpture.
Walk to the left as you exit the Canopy Walk and follow the signs to the left to the Azalea Walk to get a close up view of the water mirror and Chihuly’s yellow neon Saffron Tower. The 30-foot tall sculpture towers above this Glade Garden area. At night, the neon of the tower reflects in the water mirror fountain as water flows down the stair steps back toward the Storza woods.
Follow the signs to the Woodland Ramble on the left as you face the Saffron Tower. Walk under the Canopy Walk and to the right through the Garden Tunnel. After passing through the Garden Tunnel, the giant Earth Goddess will be overlooking the Cascades Garden where the waterfall cascades into the pond on the right.
The 25-foot high Earth Goddess sculpture is covered with flowers in spring and summer. During the winter holidays, her hair shines with bright lights. Be sure to walk to your left to the area that juts out a bit into the pond to take some great pictures. Read more about the Earth Goddess on the plaque on the side of this area labeled, “One Impressive Woman.”
From the Cascades Garden pond, walk with the Earth Goddess behind you. After you pass under the Canopy Walk, follow the path through the Camellia Walk back toward the Visitor Center and the Entrance/Exit gate. When you approach the Visitor Center, turn right and walk toward the modern-looking glass building on the right, the Longleaf Restaurant. Turn right just before you reach the entrance of the restaurant, and follow the long pathway along the side of the restaurant’s outdoor tables and beyond to the Children’s Garden.
The Children’s Garden is a highlight of the Atlanta Botanical Garden for children and adults, too. So, even if you are not with children, take a stroll through the Children’s Garden. Walk across the small swinging bridge or the slightly larger slatted bridge. Climb on the corn snake sculpture. Kids will love climbing up the ropes to the boat, building a fort, and sliding down the slide. Don’t miss the frog sculptures, too!
Walk back the way you came toward the Longleaf Restaurant. This table service restaurant is right in the heart of the Atlanta Botanical Garden complex. It is a great place to enjoy lunch or dinner. There is indoor seating overlooking the garden through the large glass windows, outdoor seating on a shaded patio, and a rooftop terrace overlooking the gardens and the Atlanta Skyline.
The menu is based on fresh local ingredients. Menu items typically include burgers, shrimp and grits, seared mountain trout, griddled chicken breast, and a chicken salad sandwich. Salads, a cheese plate, wine, beer, cocktails and soft drinks are also offered.
The restaurant is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m, but the last reservation is taken at 6:30 p.m. A brunch menu is available on Saturdays and Sundays until 3 p.m. Check current times and make reservations at www.OpenTable.com.ecially if you will be visiting on weekends or holidays to make sure you are about to be seated.
There is a quick service option if you would like to take out a limited selection of grab and go items. These include sandwiches, salads, and desserts.
As you exit the Longleaf Restaurant, walk over to the large blue Chihuly fountain. In this one-of-a-kind sculpture, Dale Chihuly used blue and white colors to represent the shapes and colors of water, ice and sky. It is especially beautiful when it lights up after dark.
Continue walking to the right along the side of the Great Lawn toward the big building at the end of the Botanical Garden. Just before you enter, look to the left at the long, narrow lily pad garden in the pond in front of the conservatory.
Enter the Conservatory and walk to the right. Before entering the tropical greenhouse, look at the rare frogs on both sides of the entryway. Don’t miss the bright yellow and green toxic frogs in the glass cases on the left.
Next, walk through the doors into the large high-ceiling building, the Tropical Rotunda. This part of the Conservatory houses many of the flora and fauna of tropical regions of the world, including plants from the rain forest.
From the back of the Tropical Rotunda, walk through the covered glass entryway to the Orchid Center. This formal garden displays orchids throughout the building highlighted with geometrically shaped design elements and architectural accents. Exit the side of the Orchid Center to the left as you face the front of the Orchid Center, and walk behind the Conservation Center. Look through the windows to see rare orchids growing in small containers. Exit the hallway and turn right. Walk through the Edible Garden and turn right. Pass the snack center, walk back across the Great Lawn toward The Conservatory, and then enter the path by the Rock Garden leading to the Skyline Garden.
Atlanta Skyline Garden
Continue walking to the left until you reach the end of the Skyline Garden area for a great view over Atlanta. Be sure to see the pond with greenery running through it. Walk back through the Anne Cox Chambers Flower Walk to the Rose Garden. Pass the Japanese Garden, and walk back toward the Visitor Center when you are ready to exit. As you exit through the Visitor Center, check out the excellent gift shop on the right as you end your perfect day at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
Garden Nights, Holiday Lights – Holiday Season
During the special Garden Nights, Holiday Lights event trees and plants are lit with thousands of strands of synchronized dancing lights strung high over Storza Woods. There is a special Walk of Flames and a Tunnel of Light along with Orchestral Orbs, a Glittering Galaxy, a Radiant Rainforest, and Model Trains that are a highlight for children. Separate admission is required for the annual event.
For information about the Atlanta Botanical Garden, check the main website at the link below:
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