Seattle is chock-full of beautiful gardens, but none are more inviting and more peaceful than our city’s botanical gardens. No, you won’t find play equipment or splash pads at these spots, but what you will find are blooming blossoms, rushing waterfalls and plenty of nooks and crannies to explore along with the calm and tranquil environment you’ve been craving this summer. If you and your crew could use some quiet time before school starts, read on for the best places to take a timeout.

photo: Rachael Brandon

Kubota Garden

This beauty located in South Seattle covers 20 acres and combines Japanese gardens with plants local to the Northwest. It is an impressive mix of hills, valleys, streams, waterfalls, ponds, bridges and plants.

Good to Know: There are no drinking fountains, so be sure to pack drinks to keep the wee ones hydrated. Dogs are allowed as long as they are on a leash.

9817 55th Ave. S.
Seattle, Wa 98118

Admission: Free
Hours: Daily, sunrise to sunset

Seattle Japanese Garden

Located within the Washington Park Arboretum, this garden is a must-see in the spring, summer, winter or fall. The colors are vibrant, there are bridges to cross over, koi fish to spot and turtles to admire. It’s basically a wonderland of adventure for little explorers. Psst...there’s always something going on so be sure to check their events page for fun family activities.

Good to Know: In order to preserve the beauty of the park, picnics and pets are not allowed. The garden is free on the first Thursday of each month from 3 p.m-closing.

1075 Lake Washington Blvd. E.
Seattle, Wa 98112

Admission: $8/Adults (18-64); $4/Youth (6-17), Seniors (65+) and Students (with I.D.); 5 & under Free. $6/City of Seattle residents with I.D. 

Hours: Times vary depending on the season, check their website for the specifics.

Parsons Gardens

Few people know about this quaint garden located on Queen Anne, but it’s one definitely worth checking out when the need to become one with nature strikes. It may be small, but it is big on green foliage and beautiful flowers. Plus, you can’t beat the view of the city from the popular Kerry Park located right across the street.

650 W. Highland Dr.
Seattle, Wa 98119

Admission: Free
Hours: Daily, 6 a.m.-10 p.m.

photo: Shelly Smith

Woodland Park Rose Garden

You're probably familiar with Woodland Park Zoo, but do you know about the secret garden (aka Woodland Park Rose Garden) located nearby? It is full of rose bushes, hidden pathways, butterflies and birds. For inquisitive kiddos, be sure to check out the sensory garden where it’s possible to smell and touch different plants and flowers. And be sure to find the center pond and count how many water lilies you can spot.

Good to know: The ideal time to visit for the best blossoms is May-August.

750 N. 50th St.
Seattle, Wa 98103

Admission: Free
Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.

photo: Cindy Shebley

Volunteer Park Conservatory

First built in 1912, this over 100-year-old garden complete with a glass-paned greenhouse is an awesome way to spend a day, rain or shine. You’ll see many varieties of plants including cacti, ferns and other carnivorous plants. Each plant has a brief summary beneath it, so it’s not only a cool place to hang, but also educational. Fun and learning is a win-win in our book!

1400 E. Galer St.
Seattle, Wa 98112

Admission: $4/Adults; $2/Youth (13-17); 12 & under Free. Admission is always free the first Thurs. & Sat. of the month. 
Hours: Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-3:45 p.m.; Closed Mon.

Bellevue Botanical Garden

A beautiful 53-acre garden located in the heart of Bellevue that has a suspension bridge? Sounds amazing, right? We couldn’t agree more, which is why we highly suggest checking out this garden full of dahlias, rhododendrons, ferns, roses and so much more. Take the Tateuchi Loop Trail and be sure to look for the troll house. Psst...for a completely different experience, check out Garden d’Lights, the garden's stunning light show that runs from the end of November until the first of January.

12001 Main St.
Bellevue, Wa 98005

Admission: Free (Garden d’Lights is $5/Adults; 10 & under Free)
Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk

Point Defiance Rose Garden

If roses are one of your faves, be sure to check out this piece of heaven in Tacoma. It boasts over an acre of rose bushes, the oldest dating back to 1895. In addition to roses, you’ll also find a wishing well and picturesque gazebos. Grab your cameras and plan on staying awhile!

5400 N. Pearl St.
Tacoma, Wa 98407

Admission: Free
Hours: Daily, sunrise to sunset

Krukeberg Botanic Garden

This Shoreline garden, set in a wooded area over 4 acres, will make you feel as though you are in the mountains rather than the city. With over 2,000 species to see and learn about, you’ll most likely need to visit again and again to cover everything. Pack your hiking shoes and get ready to learn about native Northwest plants and exotic plant species not common to our area. Psst...check their website to learn about fun events suitable for the whole family.

20312 15th Ave. N.W.
Shoreline, Wa 98177

Admission: Free
Hours: Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

Highline SeaTac Botanical Garden

This hidden gem located one mile north of the SeaTac Airport might not get a lot of attention, but it is one of the top botanical gardens around. A few of the highlights are Elda Behm’s Paradise GardenSeike Japanese Garden and the Sensory Garden.

13735 24th Ave. S.
Seattle, Wa 98168

Admission: Free
Hours: Daily, dawn to dusk

Carl S. English Jr. Botanical Garden

Located adjacent to the popular Hiram M. Chittenden Locks, this garden may be small, but it’s huge on ambiance and green space. You’ll find English-style gardens and historical architecture. After exploring the garden, keep the fun going by checking out the nearby fish ladder and boats. We’re sure your little sidekick won’t mind at all!

3015 N.W. 54th St.
Seattle, Wa 98107

Admission: Free
Hours: Daily, 7 a.m.-9 p.m.

photo: Rhododendron Garden

Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden

This Federal Way attraction is one of the largest rhododendron gardens in the world which showcases over 700 of the 1,000 species. In addition to rhodies, you’ll find azaleas, a bonsai garden, an iris field, a fern garden, a conservatory and blue poppies. Bring a pair of good walking shoes and get ready to do some good ol' plant learning.

Good to Know: Peak bloom time for the rhododendrons is mid-March through mid-May.

2525 S. 336th St.
Federal Way, Wa 98003

Admission: $8/Adults; $5/Seniors, Students and Kids (12  & under); military personnel Free
Hours: Tues.-Sun., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Closed Mon.

—Kristina Moy, Jeffrey Totey & Allison Rasmussen


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