Even though TripAdvisor only ranked it at #6, I consider the Atlanta Botanical Garden the one thing you absolutely must do when visiting Atlanta, Georgia, USA. With 30 acres of land and 10+ types of gardens, there is no shortage of things to see. Trying to decide whether or not to add it to your Atlanta itinerary? Read all about my visit to the Atlanta Botanical Garden!
Tour of the Atlanta Botanical Garden
Kendeda Canopy Walk
When we first stepped into the Atlanta Botanical Garden, we decided to head to our right towards the Kendeda Canopy Walk. Standing 40 feet high and 600 feet long, the Kendeda Canopy Walk is considered one of the only tree canopy-level walkways of it’s kind in the United States. As you walk along, you can get an aerial view of the woodland garden below, which is full of azaleas, camellias, hydrangeas, and perennials. It’s a great way to get an overview of what to expect as you enter the garden.
Azalea Walk, Water Mirror, Glade Garden, and Bridges
At the end of the canopy walk, I suggest heading to the left. This way, you can explore the few things that are on the right side of the park before heading back over to the main road and onto the rest of the garden.
You have two options for getting to the Glade Garden and Water Mirror, both of which involve walking over beautiful bridges. I suggest strolling through the Azalea Walk before taking the John Imlay Bridge to the Glade Garden, because it gives a nice view of the water mirror before you actually make it there. You can take the Woodland Ramble path as you make your way back to the end of the canopy walk. From there, you can take the Garden Tunnel on to the rest of the garden.
Cascades Garden and Earth Goddess
Complete with a beautiful waterfall and pond along with several benches underneath a vine covered lattice, this garden is probably one of the most serene. The centerpiece of the garden is the Earth Goddess, a 25-foot sculpture that was originally part of the Imaginary Worlds exhibit. After the cold and frost lift and spring returns, the sculpture will be filled with 18,000 individual plants of all sorts of different colors.
If you can manage to visit when the plants are in full bloom, this place is truly a sight to see. Unfortunately, I went in mid-April, before the planting of the sculpture, but even without the plants, it was still very impressive!
Southern Seasons Garden, Lou Glenn Children’s Garden, and Trustees Garden
Once you leave Cascades Garden, you’ll end up back where you first entered near the beginning of the canopy walk and can explore the Southern Seasons Garden. I suggest heading right at the Longleaf Restaurant and up towards the Lou Glenn Children’s Garden. On the way, you’ll pass over another bridge with a beautiful dome-shaped lattice.
In the Lou Glenn Children’s Garden, you’ll find a fun snake path as well as stone frogs scattered throughout the surrounding ponds and waterfall. In the area, you’ll also find a fun rope walk as well as a try house disguised as a birds nest.
Next to the Lou Glenn Children’s Garden is the Trustees Garden. It’s a nice little patio area and on each end are benches with windows into the forest behind it.
Alston Overlook and Levy Parterre
After you’ve had your fill of the Lou Glenn Children’s Garden and Trustees Garden, head back towards the entrance (this time going left at the Longleaf Restaurant) and you’ll find yourself at my favorite part of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Alston Overlook and Levy Parterre. The whole place is beautiful, but for whatever reason, looking at the Levy Parterre garden from the Alston overlook was just stunning. I felt like the blue center piece and the frame of the lattice around the overlook made a picture perfect scene.
Rose Garden and Japanese Garden
Hidden over by the Day Hall and through a decent sized opening in the cement is the Japanese Garden. It’s quite small and compact, but most Japanese gardens are. It does well imitating the traditional water, stone, and other earthy materials typically found in Japanese gardens (although it doesn’t compare to the real Japanese gardens in Tokyo). From there, you can stroll through to the wonderful Rose Garden.
Perennial Garden, Edible Garden, and Outdoor Kitchen
Just behind the Japanese garden is the pathway that leads back through the Perennial Garden. There, you can not only find some beautiful flowers, but also a cute pond with a little boy statue (my mom and I just loved the look on his face and frogs in his hands!) and nice benches to sit and relax.
Keep following the path and you’ll eventually reach the Edible and Outdoor Kitchen Gardens. Personally, I enjoy gardens for the aesthetics, so vegetable gardens don’t particularly interest me. However, I was impressed by the size of these gardens and how many different types of fruits and vegetables there were. No doubt cooks would have really enjoyed this garden.
Anne Cox Chambers Flower Walk, Robinson Gazebo, and Skyline Garden
Before heading into the conservatory, cross over the great lawn and make your over to the left side of the conservatory to catch the last outdoor garden. As you make your way over, you’ll pass through the Anne Cox Chambers Flower Walk, a beautiful walkway filled with particularly colorful flowers. As you near the Skyline Garden, you’ll quickly realize how fitting the name is. In the background of the garden is a decent view of the Atlanta skyline (although the trees do obstruct it slightly).
Once you arrive at the skyline garden, I suggest standing at the top of the steps under the Robinson Gazebo to get a bird’s eye view of the cool tree-shaped plants that seem to float on the water of the pond.
Fuqua Conservatory and Orchid Center
We chose to stop by the conservatory last, that way we didn’t loose track of which of the outdoor gardens we had yet to see. Since we had visited in mid-April when the weather was still a little brisk, it was nice stepping into the warm conservatory.
Inside, we chose to head through the main doors in front of us and into the rain-forest like garden. Here, we found ourselves completely surrounded by all sorts of tropical plants. Although, I think my favorite part was walking over the bridge with the vines hanging down. I felt like I had stepped straight into the Amazon.
Further into the conservatory was the “Desert House” which was a garden full of plants found in the more desert like conditions of Madagascar and Southern Africa. Despite the fact that many of the plants have thorns like cactuses, they are not actually cacti. Cactuses are only found in the Americas, but the same desert like conditions have caused the plants in the Desert House to evolve similar thorns.
In the back part of the conservatory is the Fuqua Orchid Center, which is arguably the most beautiful part of the Atlanta Botanical Garden. The brick walking paths, reflecting ponds, and bright flowers really make the place absolutely stunning. As part of the recent “plant giant” exhibit, there is also a large peacock shaped plant located near the entrance.
Atlanta Botanical Garden General Information
Phone Number: 404-876-5859
Address: 1345 Piedmont Avenue, Atlanta, GA, 30309
Atlanta Botanical Garden hours vary by the time of the year and events.
|Time of Year||Hours|
|April||Tues – Sun: 9AM – 7PM|
|May – October||Tues – Wed: 9AM – 7PM
Thurs: 9AM – 9:30PM
Fri – Sun: 9AM – 7PM
|Nov 1st – Nov 9th||Tues – Sun: 9AM – 5PM|
|Nov 17th – Jan 13th||Tues – Sun: 9AM – 4PM|
The garden also has special hours during most holidays. Dates and times can be found on their website.
How Much Are Tickets to the Atlanta Botanical Garden?
All pricing information is accurate as of May 2018. Please check their website for the most up-to-date information.
|Ticket Type||Price in USD|
|Child ages 3 to 12||$15.95|
|Child under 3||Free|
For those that are located in the Atlanta, Georgia are (or are frequent visitors), the Atlanta Botanical garden also offers membership rates.
Special rates are also available for group and school tours.
When is the Best Time to Visit?
Personally, I visited during the middle of April and found that I wished I had visited a little later in the year. When I went, many of the flowers hadn’t quite started to bloom yet, so I feel like I didn’t get to see the Atlanta Botanical Garden in its full glory. I’d recommend visiting more at the end of spring or early summer. The Atlanta Botnical Garden website has more information about what’s currently in bloom.
I visited the garden on a Sunday because that’s how my Atlanta itinerary happened to fall, and pretty much had the garden to myself. I only ran into a few other people. This might change during the summer after the flowers are in full bloom, but I don’t think there is necessarily a day of the week you should avoid visiting. I would just check the schedule of events to make sure this isn’t a special event that would interrupt normal operating hours.
Where is Parking for the Atlanta Botanical Garden? Do I Have to Pay?
The entrance to the garden and parking lot are marked with a big Atlanta Botanical Garden sign next to the road, since the parking lot and garden are hidden behind some trees and hard to see.
|Drop-off period (0 – 30 minutes)||Free|
|31 – 60 minutes||$2.00|
|Each additional 30 minutes||$1.00|
|Maximum daily rate||$15.00|
There is also legal street parking in the surrounding neighborhoods.
Events at the Atlanta Botanical Garden
The Atlanta Botanical Garden also hosts special events such as wine and cocktails, features from great landscapers and designers in the Atlanta area, and various concerts with famous performers like Sheryl Crow.
During the winter time, the entire place is lit up with Christmas lights for their event, “Garden Lights, Holiday Nights.”
Various sections of the Atlanta Botanical Garden can also be rented out for large events like weddings and banquets.
Ready to Visit?
What do you think of the Atlanta Botanical Garden? I definitely think it’s well worth a visit! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
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