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A trip to the beautiful Huntsville Botanical Garden is a must when visiting Huntsville, Alabama.
There’s nothing more peaceful than breathing in the fresh air and going for a stroll in a beautiful place. Whether it’s a hike through untamed wilderness or discovering a perfectly groomed garden, I adore being surrounded by greenery and bright bursts of colour. If you find yourself in Huntsville, Alabama, don’t hesitate to visit one of the city’s gems: the Huntsville Botanical Garden.
It’s possible to go hiking in Huntsville on the trails of the Land Trust of North Alabama. There were many delicate wildflowers growing along the path, along with towering trees and sprawling ivy. During my trip to Huntsville for TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange, a blogging conference), I enjoyed the best of both worlds: a day hike in the wild and an opportunity to view manicured gardens of many varieties.
Allow me to take you on a brief tour of the Huntsville Botanical Garden before you decide to explore it for yourself.
ABOUT HUNTSVILLE BOTANICAL GARDEN
The Huntsville Botanical Garden is open all year long with numerous specialty gardens, an abundance of flowers, and an impressive collection of plants. There’s a nature and wildflower trail that runs through a portion of the Huntsville Botanical Garden, as well as a darling Children’s Garden with several themes. The Anderson Education Center is home to the largest open-air butterfly house in the USA. To top it all off, there are many festivals and special exhibits all year long, including Huntsville Blooms, the Scarecrow Trail, and the Galaxy of Lights.
The Huntsville Botanical Garden is a non-profit organization, relying on donations from its supporters, members, and corporate donors.
EXPLORING THE GARDENS
There are several different gardens throughout the property. While we wandered around without any plan in mind, you can bring this map up on your phone as you explore or pick up a map at the visitor’s center. Starting at the garden entrance, we explored in a counter-clockwise fashion. I won’t describe every garden in detail as I’m not any expert in the realm of plants and flowers. However, I’ll highlight a few of my favourite areas around the Huntsville Botanical Garden that you shouldn’t miss.
The Garden Railway really makes the Huntsville Botanical Garden a unique place with a lot of heart. Two Boy Scouts created an entire miniature village and the railway track. There’s a restaurant, homes, a church, a fire station and tons of tiny people. Over 1000 plants were added to complete the scene, and the landscaping was done by the Living Arts Bonsai Society. The plants are kept completely in scale to the people and the houses. It’s a very magical and captivating scene, and I spent quite a while admiring it all.
DINOSAURS AROUND THE GARDEN
As I explored the Huntsville Botanical Garden with my travel blogger buddy, Ashley, something happened that I’ll never forget. We started to hear random screeches and noises in the bushes. As we walked down an isolated path in a forested area, we started to see the outlines of large figures that looked like…dinosaurs. And yes, they were dinosaurs! Some employees were testing large, animatronic dinosaurs, complete with slight movements and dinosaur screams. It was a bit surreal!
There were some other randomly placed dinosaurs around the Huntsville Botanical Garden. While we didn’t understand the connection at the time, they were about to launch a summer festival called Dinosaur Uproar.
DAMSON AQUATIC GARDEN
The Damson Aquatic Garden reminds me a bit of a Japanese garden. There’s a central pavilion, surrounded by a large pool, in a very peaceful environment. In the water, you’ll find water lilies, tropical water plants, and water lotus. You can walk along a pathway around the entire pool before heading towards the summer house.
There was a little area roped off by pylons and tape. At first, I thought it was a bit of an eyesore in such a serene space. Upon closer inspection, I noticed a Canada goose mom sitting on her nest. It was so wonderful that the Huntsville Botanical Garden protected her in this way, ensuring that she remain undisturbed and safe on her nest.
MATHEWS NATURE TRAIL
Follow a path across a charming footbridge to the Mathews Nature Trail. You’ll feel right in the middle of nature, even though you’re inside a structured and planned botanical garden. Hike along footpaths beside a meandering creek, surrounded by a variety of trees typical of a southeastern lowland forest. The path leads to a trillium garden and the fern glade. There’s even a collection of tall bamboo stalks by the trail, too.
RAINBOW OF COLOUR
Of course, one of my favourite aspects of visiting the Huntsville Botanical Garden was viewing all of the spectacular flowers. There were many varieties in every colour imaginable.
Admission is $14 per person, with discounted rates for students, seniors, military personnel, and children. The Huntsville Botanical Garden is open daily. Please check the official website for more details on hours and admission rates. There’s also a full listing of special events and discounted days, such as Moms receiving free admission on Mother’s Day.
I was very pleasantly surprised when I visited Huntsville, Alabama. I didn’t really know much about the city as I was in town to attend the travel bloggers conference, TBEX. However, I quickly fell in love with Huntsville and its charming qualities. The Huntsville Botanical Garden is one of those places in town that really made it so special and interesting. I highly recommend that you spend at least a couple of hours exploring the gardens to find your own piece of tranquility in the city.
Would you like to see more photos from my trip to Huntsville? Check out my entire Alabama travel photo album to take a peek! You can also purchase prints, housewares, phone cases, and more – all from my travel pics.
Looking for a place to stay? While there are many hotels in Huntsville where you’ll get a restful night’s sleep, I highly recommend that you stay at the Embassy Suites. It’s right near the convention center, Big Spring Park, and the downtown core. This hotel is right in the middle of it all, and I was able to easily walk all over town. Check out more reviews from fellow travellers, as well as more photos of the hotel.