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.

New York Botanical Garden–Bronx, Ny

In the Ruth Rea Howell Family Garden it’s all about digging and getting dirty. Learn about growing vegetables in a garden, sign up for one of the Edible Garden events where kids (and you) get to try different foods made with fresh vegetables like the ones grown in the Family Garden. The Children’s Garden, the other garden for younger visitors, is perfect for little adventurers. There are plants to touch, mazes to explore, rocks to climb and an indoor lab where kids can do experiments and look at plant life under a microscope.

Good to know: Visiting with little ones in tow? You don’t have to walk all 250 acres on foot (whew!). There’s a tram that will take you around the gardens.

Online: nybg.org

photo: courtesy New York Botanical Garden




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

— Amber Guetebier, Christal Yuen & Gabby Cullen