Travel insights from Andrea Sedlacek, editor of The Compass

Virtual Vacation: 5 Botanical Gardens to Visit Virtually

Spring is springing all over and of course it’s a great time to meander through a blossoming botanical garden. Since we can’t do that right now, the second-best thing way to visit a botanical garden is virtually, so take a little time to stroll leisurely through these five botanical gardens around the world.

1. New York Botanical Garden

The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) was established in 1891 and inspired by a visit to Kew, the Royal Botanic Gardens in London, by botanist Nathaniel Lord Britton in 1888. The 250-acre garden is the largest in any city in the U.S. and is a National Historic Landmark. When spring first sprung in March, NYBG shared a virtual walk through their spring landscape. They’ve also made it possible to see the blooming lilacs, walk through pink and white dogwoods and tour the azalea garden, complete with loving messages to mothers from their kids guiding you along the way.

For even more beautiful garden content to warm your heart and garden inspo for your own yard, check out NYBG on Instagram. Their posts are really delightful and will definitely brighten up your day.

2. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Virtually visit the place that inspired the New York Botanical Garden: Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in southwest London. With roots going back to 1759, the now-300-acre garden is home to more than 50,000 living plants and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit Kew’s website or their YouTube channel for hours of entertainment. Go inside the palm house for tropical vibes, see how they’re recreating an American prairie, visit the rock garden that’s been there since 1882 and much, much more.

3. Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden

Back in the U.S., the Dallas Arboretum is ensuring no one is missing out on the beauty of their 66 acres by offering many virtual experiences. Established in 1982 and first open the public in 1984, the arboretum includes a complete life science laboratory and hosts a weekly concert series, a food and wine festival, cooking classes and countless field trips. Virtually tour the Boswell Family Garden for roses galore or see the Lay Family Garden and its giant cypress tree, but do not miss a virtual walk through the Nancy Rutchik Red Maple Rill to see more than 80 varieties of Japanese Maples – it’s truly stunning.

4. Missouri Botanical Garden

With 79 acres in south St. Louis plus Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House in Chesterfield and the Shaw Nature Reserve in Gray Summit, the Missouri Botanical Garden has a lot of nature experiences to share. Their YouTube channel has a playlist frequently updated with virtual garden tours and they also have a collection of videos and resources from all of their properties, including a two-hour-long video of a rainy morning in their Japanese zen garden, which may be the most soothing thing ever. Their Instagram account is also well worth a follow.

5. Desert Botanical Garden

For a more arid virtual experience, check out the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona, established in 1939. This garden’s 140 acres are home to more than 50,000 plants of 4,482 different species, 379 of which are rare or endangered. The garden is powered with 100% renewable energy and is dedicated to conserving the cactus family, which is the fifth most endangered group of organisms, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Learn more about desert life by enjoying vibrant spring blooms, meeting the park’s butterflies or touring their beautiful venues – the Steele Herb Garden is especially cool.

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