While planning your next trip to Atlanta, don't miss this family-friendly destination in the heart of Midtown. From the 30 acres of outdoor gardens to art installations to its rare orchid collection, edible garden, children's programming and more, this urban oasis offers year-round activities for the whole family. Here's your complete guide so that you can plan a visit.
In 1973, a group of civic-minded Atlanta citizens petitioned the city for a botanical garden. Three years later the Atlanta Botanical Garden was incorporated as a non-profit, and the organization secured a 50-year lease for its current site in 1980.
Within three years, the garden had organized social events, educational programs and other activities — surpassing 50,000 visitors before building a permanent structure.
That would come in 1985 with the centerpiece Gardenhouse. The garden launched the popular "Concerts on the Lawn" in 1992, the award-winning Children's Garden in 1999 and the Fuqua Orchid Center, the largest devoted to the flower in the United States, in 2002. In 2010, the opening of the Kendeda Canopy Walk, Edible Garden and Cascades Garden doubled the size of the garden, and today the space is home to permanent art and plant exhibitions, educational programs and more.
What to Do
Start your visit at the Kendeda Canopy Walk — the largest walkway of its kind in the United States. The 40 foot suspension bridge offers views of Storza Woods, one of the city's last remaining urban forests, and links to the main botanical garden property.
Then stroll through the gardens to view dozens of permanent art installations, such as the 25-foot sculpture "Earth Goddess," whose structure includes a water feature and more than 18,000 live annuals. In addition, the garden has the Southeast's largest permanent display of works by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.
Little ones will be mesmerized by the Lou Glenn Children’s Garden, which includes interactive displays, a splash fountain, vegetable garden, Venus flytraps and an observation hive of honeybees.
Indoor exhibitions include the Fuqua Conservatory, dedicated to the conversation and display of tropical and desert plant life as well as the Fuqua Orchid Center, the largest devoted to the flower species in the United States.
The garden also hosts a popular summer concert program with artists like Old Crow Medicine Show and Emmylou Harris, an instructional Edible Garden, story time for children and seasonal events like "Garden Lights, Holiday Nights," a display that uses one million energy-efficient LED lights each holiday season.
Take a break from exploring and enjoy lunch or dinner at Longleaf, a two-level cafe that offers grab and go options as well as sit down dining, including a rooftop terrace offering skyline and garden views. There's also a snack bar in the Garden that offers sandwiches, snacks and drinks for refreshment during your visit.
How to Visit
The garden is located off Piedmont Avenue, directly east of the Midtown and Ansley Park neighborhoods and west of Morningside and Virginia-Highland. It's accessible via the 14th Street exit of I-75/85N and S and is about a mile walk from both the Midtown and Arts Center MARTA stations.
From April through October, the garden is open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, with extended hours to 9:30 p.m. each Thursday from May through October. From November through March, hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. For hours for Garden Lights, Holiday Lights and other special exhibits, check the website for the latest information.
Admission is $21.95 for adults, $18.95 for children ages 3-12 and free for children under 3. Garden members get in for free.
Things to do Nearby
The Atlanta Botanical Garden is near several popular Atlanta attractions, including Piedmont Park, the city's version of Central Park. Explore the playgrounds, walking trails, splash pad and more. From the park, rent a bike, scooter or simply walk down the bustling Beltline Eastside Trail, a 1.5 mile mixed use walkway that connects the park to Krog Street and the neighborhoods of Inman Park and Cabbagetown. Stop by Ponce City Market, the city's largest adaptive re-use project, for a bite in one of the food stalls, some shopping at local and national retailers or games at the rooftop Skyline Park. Or walk into neighboring Midtown to visit the Center for Puppetry Arts, High Museum of Art or the historic Fox Theatre. You could also take MARTA downtown to visit Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center and other family-friendly attractions.