An urban oasis in the heart of Midtown, the Atlanta Botanical Garden is 30-acres of outdoor gardens, including an award-winning children’s garden, canopy walk in Storza Woods and Skyline Garden. Founded in 1973, the garden has grown to include 16 distinctive gardens of world-renowned plant collections, beautiful displays and spectacular exhibits.
Don’t miss our personal favorite, the Earth Goddess living sculpture, residing in the Cascades Garden. The 25-foot sculpture was originally part of a temporary exhibition, but was so popular that she became a permanent resident. The goddess and her flowing locks are made of 18,000 meticulously groomed annual plants. You can likely catch the staff at work, as constant shearing is necessary to preserve the sculpture’s artistic lines.
One of our favorite features in the garden actually isn’t growing at all. The incredible glass sculptures of artisan Dale Chihuly were first on exhibition here in 2004, with an encore exhibit in 2016, and now several iconic works are part of the garden’s permanent exhibition. The current exhibits include Glass Art in Bloom by Jason Gamrath (13 installations of about 150 pieces of large-scale contemporary glass sculptures representing blooming plants) and Aerial Art in Motion (a massive, custom-created experiential aerial installation of streamers seemingly floating in the air) by Patrick Shearn.
If this is all just too much for you, the website (atlantabg.org) has a super helpful Garden Guide to help create an itinerary based on whether you’re flying solo or having a family adventure, what day you want to visit and how much time you have and your interests.
Atlanta Botanical Garden Gainesville
1911 Sweetbay Drive | Gainesville
The Gainesville Atlanta Botanical Gardens location opened in 2015 and is home to the largest conservation nursery in the southeast. The Gainesville location features nine different garden spaces, but where this garden really shines is in its children’s area. The Ada Mae Pass Ivester Children’s Garden. This 2.5-acre garden, situated atop the highest point on the property, features carnivorous plants, a treehouse, fairy gardens, model trains, dragons and giant frog plant sculptures and water that magically leaps from bowl to bowl!Visitors to the Gainesville location can enjoy the current exhibit, Wings of Wonder: Towering Works of Nature, by Massachusetts-based artists Donna Dodson and Andy Moerlein. The sculptures – three 15-feet tall birds – are made from natural materials such as bamboo, tree saplings and found objects, meant to last only several years before fading away.