A Visitor's Guide to Chen Shan Botanical Garden in Outer Shanghai

••• A view of the park from the top of Chen Shan hill, Chen Shan Botanical Garden, Shanghai. © 2013 Sara Naumann, licensed

Introduction to the Botanical Garden

Chen Shan Botanical Garden (上海辰山植物园) is one of Shanghai's largest parks located in the suburb of Songjiang. With large open spaces, an enormous amount of different species of plants, grass for picnics and a small hill to climb, it makes for a fun day out for families and park enthusiasts.

Opening Hours and Entry

Chen Shan is open daily from 8:30am to 4pm.

There is an entry fee that is 40rmb in winter and 60rmb after April 1.

Tickets are less expensive for children and seniors.

Note: Opening hours and entry fees can change based on season.

Address, Location & Getting There

  • Address: 3888 Chenhua Road, Songjiang District, Shanghai | 辰花路3888
  • Location: The garden is in Shanghai's Songjiang district near Sheshan.
  • Getting there: Take Metro Line 9 to Dongjing Station (洞泾) and then take the Bus No. 19 to Chen Shan Botanical Garden.

Park Features

There are too many features to the park to list them all here. During my visit, there were no English-language maps available for taking but they might have simply been out. A map in Mandarin was available at the entry to the garden from the Main Building (Entrance No. 1).

There are a number of different types of gardens and the map I picked up at the entrance indicates which areas would be best in what season which makes it nice so that you can enjoy something at any time of year. Here's a short run-down of major features of the park:

  • Multiple gardens with individual themes, e.g. Australian plants, rose garden, Asian plants, osmanthus garden, children's garden, etc.
  • Chen Shan hill - a small hill with "Shanghai's only waterfall" tumbling down the side of the rock that has been quarried. The climb to the top takes about 30 minutes. (I did it with two children along.) There is a small pagoda at the top and some look-out spots.
  • Old Quarry path - you can walk along a path that takes you into the old quarry and through a small cave. It is here that we saw signs for long waits indicating it must get quite crowded here on holidays and weekends.
  • Boat pond - you can rent small boats (life jackets included) to drive around the small pond.
  • Greenhouse - there is an enormous set of greenhouses with boundless plants inside to explore.

Park Facilities

The Botanical Garden has a number of facilities:

  • Visitor's center and exhibition hall
  • Shuttle buses
  • Toilets
  • Small snack stalls and drink shops
  • ATM
  • First-aid station

Kid-Friendly?

Oh indeed, yes! This park is so kid-friendly that you can even walk on the grass (despite a serious set of rules - see photo above). The garden paths are mostly very smooth and paved with flagstones or asphalt so that kids on any kind of wheels will do well here (strollers, scooters, roller blades, bikes, etc.) The path up to the top of Chen Shan hill is all stairs so you won't be able to take a stroller there but kids can easily make the climb.

Expert Suggestions

  • Avoid going to this park on major holidays as signs around the quarry indicated lines for visiting the quarry and Chen Shan hill with waits as long as 90 minutes. Clearly, the park gets quite crowded.
  • Try to pick a cool day or overcast day to visit. As this park was only opened recently and so trees are still quite small. This means there is very little shade. While there are places to rest, the sun is quite strong so keep this in mind when planning to visit.
  • If you'll be there for a long day, I advise bringing along your own picnic or snacks. While there are shops in the park, the offering is mostly instant noodles and other junk food.
  • Kids can bring their wheeled gear. My kids brought their scooters along and had a great time on the smooth paths around the gardens.