Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers year-round beauty and inspiration with 50 acres of spectacular gardens, exquisite facilities and a conservatory with tropical plants.
It is also one of the nation’s top public gardens, featuring diverse collections, educational programs and special events.
I have been to several botanical gardens, but to date, Lewis Ginter is my favorite. Their themed gardens are incredible!
Setting out early my daughter and I took my husband to the botanical garden on Father’s Day. He is man enough to appreciate the simple things in life or so I like to think.
It’s close to Richmond in Henrico County and not only has more than a dozen gardens, it also has a library, convservatory and cafe.
What To See at Lewis Ginter
There is a variety of spaces to explore at Lewis Ginter so you definitely want to allow yourself plenty of time if you plan on visiting all the gardens and walks.
So you can plan your time and prioritize the gardens you want to see, here’s how all of their gardens and walks break down:
The Central Garden is a larger garden that includes:
- The Four Seasons Garden: has a classic arts & crafts design and a daffodil garden next to it
- Healing Garden: has of medicinal plants
- Evelyn Luck Garden: an early 20th century Virginia garden
- Fountain Garden: has a dancing fountain the kids will love
This is one of our favorite places to see tulips in the spring!
The Conservatory has:
- A palm house
- Tropical orchid wing
- Various floral displays
In the North Wing of the conservatory, you can also see live butterflies.
It’s best to come earlier in the day as they do close the exhibit if it gets too hot during the summer months for guests.
So make sure to go here early and also on a sunny day so the butterflies will be more active.
Louise Cochrane Rose Garden
The Rose Garden has over 1800 roses and is one garden you must see!
The Asian Valley garden has Asian inspired plants, of course! More on that below!
If these gardens weren’t enough already, they also have:
- Community Kitchen Garden & Apiary (make sure to checkout the beehives)
- West Island Garden (don’t miss the carnivorous pitcher plants)
- Woodland Walk (more on this below)
- Floating island (great place to watch turtles)
- Cherry Tree Walk (which is home to a few different gardens)
- Wildside Walk (perfect for walking near the lake)
Lora Robins Tea House
I only caught a glimpse of The Lora and Claiborne Robins Tea House which I have heard has a variety of dishes such as salads, sandwiches, soups and desserts.
We ended up at the cafe, which is creative and delicious, at the end of our visit.
The sounds of different birds in the garden made for such a calming visit.
My eyes caught the Rose Garden immediately. The roses were in full bloom and displayed various shades of coral, red, pink, purple and white, offering year-round beauty.
With more than 1,800 roses and 80 varieties, you can’t help but make a stop here. Keeping in mind that I also had to focus on other family members, my daughter saw the tree fort in the Children’s Garden off in the distance.
We skipped, well, my child raced across the Lotus Bridge. A loud “wow” erupted from her mouth as she succumbed to the awesomeness that is the Children’s Garden.
A bright welcome sign in over a dozen languages greets you.
The first area in the garden is the East part of the International Village.
Coming here with kids, we of course had to allot time for The Children’s Garden. This is a more hands-on, interactive garden for the kids and they loved it!
There is seriously tons to do here that the kids could easily be entertained for hours.
They get to do things like:
- Dig in the dirt
- Climb a 100-year-old tree
- Play in the family tree house
- Walk The Adventure Path
- Play at the Waterway splash pad (in the warm months)
- Sand play area
- Plant fruits and veggies
The exhibit is like a museum with three play houses and plants representing different cultures.
There are descriptions for each dwelling and names of native plants such as Patty Pan Squash and Mexican Hat Flower.
Children can role play with tools such as brooms and baskets while being in a tukul or African shelter, a casita representing a Latin American structure and a Native American longhouse.
The kids also got to participate in a Kidsquest and receive a prize when they finished. This had them following clues to find different things in the garden.
Venture deeper into the Children’s Garden via the Hidden Tunnel. Located under the Leafy Overlook, discover a chalkboard, paintings and neat artwork.
Stop at the Weird and Contrasting Plants display to see Venus Fly Traps. Past here is a partially shaded sand box with tools for digging. The west part of the International Village has an Asian farmhouse and a Teahouse.
On our way to the Leafy Overlook we passed the whimsical Bird and Butterfly Meadow. The Overlook is a partially covered deck with wooden rocking chairs and a panoramic view of the garden.
The Klaus Family Tree House is one of the most-visited attractions of the Children’s Garden, a true marvel that stands 13 feet above the ground.
From this lofty vantage point, visitors of all ages can delight in a bird’s-eye view of the shimmering lake and the surrounding gardens, creating unforgettable memories with their loved ones.
The tree house features unique windows designed by talented students from Glen Allen High School, adding artistic flair to the already stunning vistas.
Did you know? The Klaus Family Tree House is universally accessible so all visitors of all abilities, including those in strollers or wheelchairs, can fully enjoy the experience. The gently sloping ramp allows everyone to explore the treehouse without limitations.
As you explore further, you’ll encounter the Forest Floor Room, a tranquil space designed for structured group activities and individual interaction with the forest floor environment.
And don’t miss the Canopy Room, which provides open views and a new deck overlooking the serene Sydnor Lake.
Local tip: Inside the treehouse, you’ll discover the Cloud Tower offering a sanctuary for the little ones to overlook the lake and the garden.
In the WaterPlay area, there are hula hoops here for some fun exercise and sidewalk chalk to draw your own inspiration from nature and you can even form a human sundial.
Nearby is a water fountain and accessible water play area that operates during the summer months from 8am to 4:45pm. A swim diaper and water shoes are required.
On Tuesdays it’s open until 8:30pm during Families After Five. Parents can keep an eye on their kids via an adjacent shaded picnic area.
Although the entire place is gorgeous, I think the Asian Valley gardens just may be my favorite. There are different types of trees and it is so lush and green here!
They also have some cascading waterfalls that just make it so peaceful and beautiful to look at. Everyone was pretty quiet here so we could just relax in nature and appreciate the formal gardens.
While you stroll around you can also see:
- An large Iris collection
- Japanese maple
- Broad-leafed evergreens
Another part of the gardens that everyone enjoyed was Woodland Walk.
This beautiful, stone trail takes you through the woodlands where there is lots of shade (so it’s great for the hotter months!), as well as a variety of perennials, shrubs, and trees.
Visiting the Conservatory
Complete your family trip with a stop in the classical domed Conservatory.
Kids can look for toads roaming amongst giant lily pads in the Children’s Garden or peek inside Peter Rabbit’s Cottage.
The main attraction is the Butterflies LIVE! exhibit where you can enter a room surrounded by these beautiful insects. Waterfalls, orchids, and geese greet you as you exit the Conservatory.
Most of the public tours are for adults only so you may have to come back on your own if you have kids with you. They do offer talks and tours that are sometimes family-friendly and are labeled as such.
Take for instance the Pollinator Family-Friendly Talk and Tour where familyies can learn about different pollinators, what is needed to make your own pollinator-friendly garden and kids can make their own paper seed balls.
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden holds a variety of events, as well as annual events throughout the year. Some of them include:
- Butterflies LIVE!: Last time we visited the Butterfly Corner, kids could make their own butterfly using coffee filters, pipe cleaners, and markers. Learn more about butterflies by working on puzzles and looking at books and fact cards.
- Incanto: An Oasis of Lyrical Sculpture: Explore themes of self-discovery, connection, and transformation through 5 lyrical sculptures in a garden accompanied by poetry.
- Flowers After 5: a summer event series on Thursday evenings from mid-May to mid-September with live music, night garden exploration, and extended hours.
- Dominion GardenFest of Lights: in the winter months, they also have light displays throughtout their gardens
The Garden Shop is inside the Visitor Center which is where you first enter the gardens and purchase your tickets.
You don’t need tickets to the gardens to shop but you will be able to pass through the shop on your way in or out of the gardens.
Tickets & Prices
The regular garden admission fee is:
$17 for adults
$14 for seniors (age 65+) or military
$8 for youth (age 3-12)
Children under the age of 3 and garden members enjoy free admission, so no tickets are needed for them.
You can buy tickets at the Guest Services desk on the day of your visit, or you can purchase them online in advance.
Please note: online tickets do have a convenience fee.
Hours & When to Go
The garden operates from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, giving you plenty of time to explore.
The gardens do close on Thanksgiving, December 24th, and December 25th.
They do have Wednesdays through Saturdays with special evening hours (until 9pm) between the beginning of May and the end of October.
Map of Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens
Getting There & Parking
Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is located at 1800 Lakeside Avenue in Richmond, VA.
There are three parking lots, all of them are free! We found the parking a little confusing but it all worked out fine. You may want to give yourself a few extra minutes.
Take a day trip and consider visiting the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in the city of Richmond.
Good to Know Before You Go
- Guests no longer have to pre purchase tickets online–you can walk in and purchase tickets at the admissions desks. But, it is important to note that tickets are still timed and limited to help manage capacity.
- The cafe does offer kids food.
- Bathrooms are very clean and have changing stations. A gift shop and library of nature related titles and paintings are also on site.
- Check out their Visit Planner page to make the most of your visit