Taking your kiddos to the playground is one thing, treating them to a dose of nature’s playground is a next-level experience they’ll want again and again. The following botanical gardens across the country are not only bursting with rare blooms and exotic trees, they’re also centers for learning about everything from saving the bees to fishing to fairies. And as it turns out, there’s plenty of fun for mom and dad, too. Click through the gallery to find out 18 sweet spots for budding botanists.

Chicago Botanical Garden

The Membership: Admission to this natural paradise is free, but there is a charge for parking, which is taken care of once you're a member. Household membership costs $125 for one year and $240 for two years, and includes a pass for two vehicles.
Compare That To: Daily parking rates (covered in your membership) cost $25 per car on weekdays and $30 on weekends and per van.
The Biggest Perks: In addition to the parking, members get a 10% discount at The Garden View Café and Garden Shop; access to free Wednesdays for the Model Railroad Garden, Butterflies & Blooms exhibition and tram tours (usually ticketed attractions); discounts on camps for kids; and free admission to 300 botanic gardens and arboreta nationwide.

1000 Lake Cook Rd.
Online: chicagobotanic.org




What’s your favorite garden to visit? Let us know in the comments below! 

— Amber Guetebier, Christal Yuen & Gabby Cullen