Saturday, August 22, 2015

Field Trip: Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Did everybody have a great first week back at school? I sure hope you did! We had a great first week here at River Region Family. We ended our first week this year by taking a little field trip on Friday. (I'm hoping we do more of them this year than we did the last couple of years now that the dynamic duo are getting a little older.) This could become a regular blog series: giving you info you need to know about places to visit near the river region that are good for families.

I'm gonna try out a way to share the info and you let me know what you think about it, okay? 

Here we go!

This week's field trip:
Birmingham Botanical Gardens 

"Birmingham Botanical Gardens is Alabama's largest living museum with more than 12,000 different plants in its living collections. The Gardens' 67.5 acres contains 25+ unique gardens, 30+ works of original outdoor sculpture and miles of serene paths.
The Gardens features the largest public horticulture library in the U.S., conservatories, a wildflower garden, two rose gardens, the Southern Living garden, and Japanese Gardens with a traditionally crafted tea house."

"Are we there yet?" factor: It took us about an hour and half from Montgomery. Directions.
Get good directions, the BBG seems like it's off in a neighborhood and there are lots of turns to get to it. It was easy for us to find because I got turn by turn directions to get there from Children's of Alabama but when we left we were headed to the interstate and we got a little twisted around getting out of the area.

How much does it cost? FREE

When is it open? Dawn to Dusk every day of the year.

Educational value? Great for Nature Study! Flowers, trees and plants are almost all clearly labeled which makes it easy to talk about what you are looking at. 


Can we take a picnic? Yes! There is a big area to the right just beyond the entrance with tables and chairs and a goldfish pond and lily pads to look at while you dine. We also found another area behind the rose garden that was more enclosed that had two tables and chairs. (Better if you have little ones that you don't need to have to chase around while you are trying to eat your PB&J.) Of course, if you don't do picnics there is a cafe, but we like the cheap so I didn't investigate the cafe and don't really know if it's "kid-friendly" or not. Or you can hit the vending machines.

What if it rains? We saw a cute little glass gazebo by the lily pond. There is also a conservatory with jungle plants and desert plants that is indoors.  If you look at the map, you can also see rain shelters strategically placed around the gardens.  

Is it stroller friendly? Yes! There are probably parts that you can't access with a stroller but for the most part there are ramps and sidewalks (so much lovely sidewalk)  that are easy to navigate. 

What about diaper changes? I was pleased to find a changing station in the large stall of the ladies restroom near the entrance. (And also really good air conditioning. It was hot outside!) We never made it to the other bathroom on the other side of the park.

Our day started with a doctor's appointment at Children's of Alabama. By the time we got to the Gardens it was time for lunch. We ate our lunch and walked around for a little bit but left because it was getting hot and the children were getting tired. Looking at the map, I realize now that we only saw a tiny portion of the whole gardens. It was such a lovely place, I know we will go back. I will probably update this post with more info and pictures when we go back again.

Check out the Birmingham Botanical Garden's website for more info. Before we went, I asked a question in a message to their facebook page and got a quick reply.

What else would you want to know about our field trip? What info would you want to know about future field trips?

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