Norfolk Botanical Gardens

I'll preface this post by saying that when my mom told me she bought us a family pass to the Gardens, I thought to myself that I would never use it. I have to admit that I was so wrong. Out of everywhere that we have gone this summer, this is our most frequented place and my favorite. Without exaggeration, every time I go I find something new.
The Botanical Gardens is a 175 acre garden near the airport in Norfolk. On Sundays during the summer you can bring your dog inside, and from 4:00-7:00 you can ride a bike. There are several highlights that we always hit. One is the butterfly house, which opens in June and is an enclosed area that is full of butterflies. The surrounding gardens are made of all kinds of plants that attract butterflies and although they are not enclosed, they are everywhere. 

R's favorite part of the Botanical Gardens it the children's garden, called World of Wonder, where they display different ecosystems from all around the globe. They also have three splash pad areas for kids to play. Some other highlights here include the bongo drums in Africa, the treetop play area, and the play houses in the wooded forest. The teacher in me likes that the habitats are perfect for third grade curriculum and the Virginia grown plants and explorers are fit for a fourth grader.

There are several other awesome exhibits. There is an area where children can play on a sand mountain and tunnels to crawl through, a Japanese garden with impressive bonsai trees... I literally can't say enough! One of our new favorite areas it the airport overlook where you can watch planes take off and land on the runway. A cool aspect is that you can hear the pilots talking on the radios. If your kid is into planes, be sure to check this out! 

The daily prices are a little expensive, at $12.00 a day for an adult, but the membership prices pay for themselves. There is also reciprocity with the American Horticultural Society. We have the two year family pass, and we can bring up to six people when we go. I'm so sad that as summer ends the splash pad will be closing, but looking forward to fall bike nights very soon.