Increasingly, cities around the world are turning their attention toward greener initiatives and more family-friendly attractions. Gardens provide the best of both worlds, giving kids a chance to cultivate their green thumbs while learning valuable lessons about the environment. So, if your family digs the great outdoors, check out these 10 great gardens to visit with kids:

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

Gardens to Visit with Kids Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

[Above image “Minneapolis Sculpture Garden – Minneapolis, Minnesota” by Doug Kerr on Flickr – licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0]

Children adore the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, a grassy park filled with unusual, modern sculptures. What kid wouldn’t be enthralled by a giant spoon holding a shiny, red cherry? The glass-enclosed Cowles Conservatory is the year-round home to a lily pond, Mexican fan palms, orange trees, and a 22-foot Standing Glass Fish sculpture. The 11-acre park contains 40 permanent sculptures plus temporary works that keep things fresh for repeat park-goers. A visit here is fun all year, whether to admire the vine-covered arbor and flower gardens in warmer months or to marvel at the giant sculptures bursting from a frosting of snow in the Minnesota winters. Admission is free.

Ethel M’s Botanical Cactus Garden (Las Vegas, Nevada)

This cactus garden, located at the Ethel M Chocolate Factory, provides a sweet respite from the flamboyance of the Las Vegas Strip. After watching workers dip apples in tubs of caramel and pack chocolates into boxes during a walk-through factory tour, roam the four-acre cactus garden. Neatly manicured paths are cordoned off by rope for safety’s sake. The garden features 300 species of cacti, succulents, and other drought-tolerant plants. Be sure to purchase a piece of candy or two for the kids before you leave (like their best-selling peanut butter and jelly-filled milk chocolate). Best of all, you won’t just save with cheap Las Vegas vacation packages, you’ll also get to take a tour of the factory and garden for free.

San Diego Botanic Garden (California)

Gardens to Visit with Kids San Diego Botanic Garden

Meander along walking paths lined with beautiful plants and flowers from around the world at the San Diego Botanic Garden. In total, there are 27 themed gardens here. A visit to the Subtropical Fruit Garden allows children to see how some of their favorite fruits, like bananas and oranges, grow on trees. A walk through the giant stalks of bamboo in the Bamboo Garden feels otherworldly. Read the signs aloud to the kids so they can learn that bamboo is actually a grass that can grow up to 30 feet in one season!

The San Diego Botanic Garden contains not one but TWO children’s gardens full of hands-on activities like a sandpit filled with small plastic dinosaurs for little hands to dig up, a giant treehouse complete with rope bridges, tunnels, and a spiral staircase for exploring. Adult admission is $12, seniors, students, active military pay $8, and it’s $6 for children ages 3-12. Admission is free on the first Tuesday of every month.

Gothenburg Botanical Garden (Sweden)

Located on 150 acres, this garden is almost overwhelming in its size and beauty. The largest botanic garden in Northern Europe, Gothenburg Botanical Garden is home to nearly 20,000 species of flora and fauna. Its Rock Garden received three stars in the famed Michelin Guide for its 6,000 different marsh and shade plants. In warmer months, bring a picnic lunch to enjoy as a family amid the fragrant displays of colorful flowers. Open year-round, in winter months you can wander through greenhouses featuring thousands of plants from around the world, including a collection of 1,500 species of orchids. The voluntary admission fee is 2 euros.

San Francisco Botanical Garden (California)

Gardens to Visit with Kids San Francisco Botanical Gardens

With room to roam and gardens from around the world to discover, the San Francisco Botanical Garden has collections and settings sure to give your kids a global perspective on the outdoors. Explore the Garden of Fragrance with aromatic plants set in stone from a Spanish monastery. You and the kids can experience exotic locales when you see the plants of the Andean Cloud Forest and the flowers of Temperate Asia. The other-worldly Succulent Garden will spark the imagination while the Moon Viewing Garden will give a serene break. And, of course, make sure to stop by the Children’s Garden to see the lovely sunflowers when in bloom.

Related: 5 of the Best, Blooming Gardens to Bring in the Spring!

The Cornerstone Sonoma (California)

The Cornerstone Sonoma showcases designs from nearly two dozen of the world’s best landscape architects. Each designer was given a 1,800-square-foot parcel of land to create their masterpieces. From traditional plant-filled spaces to fields of plastic sunflower pinwheels, every member of the family will find a favorite garden here. In addition to being one of the best gardens to visit with kids, Cornerstone is also home to unique retail shops, art galleries, wine-tasting, and a café. Garden admission is free.

Hawaii Tropical Bioserve and Garden (Papaikou)

Gardens to Visit with Kids Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden

Billed as a “living classroom,” the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Garden offers kids a chance to experience the unique habitat created by fertile volcanic soil and trade winds in a 20-acre valley. You can wander nature trails past ocean views, gorgeous waterfalls, and over 2,000 plant species. Visit the aviary to see birds native to the area, and take the self-guided walking tour at your own pace to allow the kids to spend as much time as they like in each section. If you’re looking for a unique gift idea, the garden sells tropical bouquets that can be shipped on the same day they’re cut and arranged.

New York Botanical Garden (The Bronx)

Gardens to Visit with Kids New York Botanical Garden

If your kids enjoy a hands-on experience, the New York Botanical Garden has activities and settings designed just for them. This 250-acre garden is a lush oasis in the urban setting of the Bronx area of New York. In addition to over 50 specialty gardens, the New York Botanical Garden has set aside the Everett Children’s Adventure Garden complete with a maze, experiments, and boulders begging to be climbed. Kids can see pond vegetation like lily pads and cattails at the Pond Pavilion. Woodland and meadow environments are waiting to be discovered in this garden that encourages kids to interact with nature.

Singapore Botanic Gardens (Singapore)

Gardens to Visit with Kids

Exotic insects and animals, a rainforest, and a ginger garden make the Singapore Botanic Gardens a wonderland for kids of all ages right in the city center. This tropical garden has been around for 160 years and was made a UNESCO world heritage site in 2015. Your kids can check out the farm, lakes, and orchard spread across this vibrant setting and marvel at the 20,000 examples of orchids growing on the grounds of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Take a stroll among the sculptures and see if you can find the Elephant or the graceful Girl on a Swing pieces that captivate visitors. Finish the day playing in the Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden treehouses and meandering along trails curated especially for kids.

Peradeniya Royal Botanic Gardens (Kandy, Sri Lanka)

Gardens to Visit with Kids Royal Botanic Gardens

A feast for the senses awaits your kids in the Peradeniya Royal Botanic Gardens in the Central Province of Sri Lanka. Gaze at soaring bamboos and breathe in the scents of the aromatic spice garden. Be sure to look high in the treetops for the fascinating fruit bats who make the garden their daily roost, and have the kids listen for their unique sound. Troops of monkeys also roam this tropical garden. Kids will love strolling among the trees of Double Coconut Avenue, Cook’s Pine Avenue, Cabbage Palm Avenue, and the classic Avenue of Palms. Take a break and snap some family photos under the giant Java Willow on the Great Lawn.

Do you recommend any other botanic gardens to visit with kids? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

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