Stunning Botanical Gardens to Visit with Mom on Mother's Day

What better way to celebrate spring and Mom's special day than by taking the family to a botanical garden on Mother's Day? Not only is it a beautiful way to spend a Sunday in May when many botanic gardens are beginning to truly bloom, but many put on special events for Mother's Day that can make celebrating in a sea of vegetation and color even more special. Activities like concerts, carriage rides, chocolate festivals, and brunch helped these places make our top eight picks across the United States for showing Mom just how much you love her.

1. Santa Barbara Botanical Garden, Santa Barbara, California

Photo by S. Issacs

Head to the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden for a special Mother's Day picnic in a meadow of orange poppies, purple lupine, and other seasonal wildflowers. The Poppy Picnic includes entrance for the entire family (which includes dogs) and a poppy-theme picnic basket packed with gourmet delicacies and a keepsake flower. With redwood forests and desert space, this beautiful, natural botanic garden takes in all of California's iconic landscapes in one place and is created exclusively from the Sunshine State's native plants. You can also discover local history at the Mission Dam and explore the new children's maze.

2. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Miami, Florida

Photo Courtesy of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden

In Miami, treat Mom to afternoon tea at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden. Beyond its prolific plant life, the 83-acre garden is known for its shimmering palm tree-lined lakes, colorful butterflies, and pools of water lilies, and is a beautiful spot to stroll with Mom.

After leisurely walking through the garden, head to the visitor's center for afternoon tea. The event is held on the veranda and inside the ballroom (try for a seat on the veranda if the weather is not too hot) overlooking tropical greenery and the lakes. Sweet and savory snacks are served on fine china with an assortment of delicious teas.

Reservations can be made with Marnie Valent at 305/663-8059. The cost is $37 for nonmembers, $27 for members, and $17 for children 12 and under. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden is also doing a Mother's Day brunch between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. That event costs $55 for adults, $27.50 for children.

3. Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, Belmont, North Carolina

Photo by Melinda Skutnick

May is a beautiful month in North Carolina, and at the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, Mother's Day is celebrated all weekend long. Admission is free to moms on May 7 and 8, and the garden goes all out for the weekend, putting on a fun event for the entire family featuring live music, carriage rides, and family crafts.

Experience 400 acres of freshly blooming plants by having a picnic in their midst: Order a picnic basket in advance and pick it up at the event. There will also be mimosas and sparkling wine for sale, along with a food truck, bakery items, and Italian ice for the whole family. To celebrate Mom's special day sans kids, check out the Mother's Day Weekend Wine Walk through the garden. Here you follow a route through the flowers and sample wine at five different stations along the way.

4. San Diego Botanic Garden, San Diego, California

Photo by San Diego Botanic Garden

What better way to tell mom how much you love her than by celebrating Mother's Day all weekend and throwing some serious chocolate tasting into the mix? If this sounds like you, head to the 37-acre San Diego Botanic Garden on May 7 (note this is the day before Mother's Day, which is why we say celebrate all weekend) between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. for its annual Chocolate Festival. Moms can relax in the beautiful garden oasis, featuring 29 themed gardens and 4 miles of trails, while enjoying dozens of delectable chocolates by local chocolate artisans. Demonstrations and tips on creating delicious chocolate treats will also be featured, plus a chocolate fountain.

Pick up the perfect Mother's Day gift from one of the vendors or from the garden's gift shops, featuring plants, purses, jewelry, and unique garden-theme items. There will also children's activities at this family-friendly event. Entrance to the festival is free with admission to the gardens, but you'll need to purchase tasting tickets ($1 each) to try the different chocolates.

5. Mounts Botanical Garden, Palm Beach, Florida

Photos Courtesy of the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County

For a different type of garden experience on Mother's Day, purchase a Connoisseurs Garden Tour ticket from Mounts Botanical Garden, which is home to more than 2,000 plant species. During the annual event, which takes place over Mother's Day Weekend, participants go off site to visit up to eight extraordinary gardens at private homes around Palm Beach County. It is a self-guided affair, which means you can hit as few or many as you like, and coordinate your itinerary with, say lunch at your favorite country restaurant.

The cost is $25 ($20 for Mounts members) and visits are permitted between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. May 7 and 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. May 8. Purchase tickets at the Mounts Gift Shop, where maps and complete garden descriptions will also be released.

6. Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, Des Moines, Iowa

Photo by Travel Iowa

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden celebrates Mother's Day with a four-day pop-up festival between May 5 and May 8 with moms admitted free on Mother's Day. During the event, more than 500 limited-edition varieties of plants and exclusive garden merchandise is offered for sale. There are also educational sessions and other fun activities. You'll also be able to stroll through the 7-acre outdoor gardens, made up of a water garden, rose garden, conifer and gravel garden, and formal allee among others.

7. Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, Fort Bragg, California

Photo by Mark Jones Photography,

At the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, moms can check out the 39th Annual Rhododendron Show and Plant Sale on May 7 and 8. The annual juried show is one of the largest on the West Coast with more than 700 entries that include flower trusses, plants, bonsai, photos, and floral arrangements of rhododendrons. The show also includes ongoing raffles, a silent auction, refreshments, educational displays, and best of all, admission is free, making it fun and affordable.

8. Naples Botanical Garden, Naples, Florida

Photo by Naples, Marco Island, and Everglades Convention and Visitor's Bureau

Naples, Florida, is beautiful in May, and moms get free admission at the Naples Botanical Garden on Mother's Day. The first 200 moms to check in at the Chabraja Visitor Center will also receive a special gift of small herbs. Stroll through this subtropic garden and experience the fauna from other parts of the world that lie on a similar latitude. You'll see plants from Brazil, the Caribbean, and around Southeast Asia, which all have similar climate to this portion of Florida. Floridian fauna is also featured.


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