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.

Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden–Kaneohe, Hi

To be honest, there really is not a botanical garden on any of the Hawaiian Islands that isn’t a gorgeous trek-worthy spot to stop, but what we love about the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden (which is run by the city of Honolulu’s parks department) is that in addition to the breathtaking tropical grounds, there are family-friendly programs year round. Every Sat. & Sun. anyone can borrow a bamboo fishing pole and try their hand at fishing (catch and release). There’s also on-site camping and a preschool nature hour every Tuesday with a different theme. And did we mention admission is free? 

Good to know: The garden is open year-round except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. It’s about a 20-30 minute drive from downtown Honolulu.

Online: honolulu.gov/parks/hbg

photo: Patricia Barden via flickr




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

— Amber Guetebier, Christal Yuen & Gabby Cullen