Taking a break from a summer at the pool, I decided to bring my family for a relaxing afternoon at Green Spring Gardens. Given the location in Alexandria, you would never know there was a quaint park near the city.
We began at the Horticultural Center, which has a gift shop and library where you can check out books.
Children’s items range from insect flashlights to bird bingo and wildlife books and puzzles.
I was drawn to the flower paintings made in Lancaster County. A small conference room and restrooms are also located here. Even though the grounds are not huge, it’s a good idea to pick up a map.
With kid in tow, naturally our first stop was to the Children’s Garden. I loved that several of the smaller gardens were adorned with mailboxes displaying the name of the garden and filled with flyers.
As you walk in, there’s a hanging window pane giving the feeling that you’re in a little cottage.
There are colorful wooden chimes and a large teepee made of sticks fitted with a miniature table and chairs. Mosaic tiles with the months of the year and numbers reflect a game of hopscotch. An edible section features basil, grapes, sunflowers and marigolds. A corner written in the letters Purple denotes purple flora.
Across from here is the Children’s Discovery Garden also known as the Family Garden. Placards read “find a plant that is as tall you or find a plant that bees and butterflies like.
Dig for dirt with shovels, sweep the house, water the plants and examine bark, tree rings and dried flower cones.” Picnic tables are available in this curious garden.
The Wildlife Garden has a small pond in which we saw a bullfrog. Rabbits were frolicking through the plants.
Another garden had a sundial and several colorfully painted birdhouses. We peeked into the vegetable garden where tomatoes and peppers were growing.
While I’m not a good gardener, I appreciated the care and selection of flowers that went into the displays here. I only recognized a few flora and fauna such as purple conehead, black-eyed Susan, zinnias, roses, hibiscus and hydrangea.
We didn’t have time to stop into the 18th-century manor house. After taking one last view via the gazebo, it was time to walk down to the ponds.
It’s not a far walk, but on a hot day, bring water. If you bring a stroller, it’s suggested to have an all-terrain one. A large area of lotus flowers were beginning to bloom and we spotted turtles and snakes in the ponds. There is a gazebo here with bench seating to take a break.
Next time, I will remember to bring my dogs. The gardens are open to leased pets. As tempting as it was for my child to want to pluck some flowers, it is prohibited to take any leaves, rocks, etc. from the property. Instead, bring your camera because the photo opportunities are endless.
Throughout the year, there are many programs and events at Green Spring Gardens for all ages. Along with regularly scheduled Family Fun programs, there is also a Garden Sprouts program for ages 3-5. Fees vary depending on the program and online registration is required.
Upcoming events and more:
- Family Fun: The Buzz on Bees
- Interested in a field trip? Register here
- Check out Green Spring Gardens Classes and Camps
Green Spring Gardens is open weekdays and Saturday 9 am-4:30 pm and Sunday 12-4:30 pm. There is no charge to walk the grounds, house or horticultural center. The entrance for parking is near the intersection of Little River Turnpike and Braddock Road.
You will see the entrance sign on Witch Hazel Road. If you don’t pack a picnic, the Pinecrest Shopping Center is right next to the Gardens and has a Five Guys and Flippin’ Pizza.