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Outdoor Family Adventures: Botanical Gardens & Arboretums

Outdoor Family Adventures: Botanical Gardens & Arboretums

Good morning all! As you know, I’m in Malawi with Habitat for Humanity helping to build homes for other families for a couple of weeks. While I’m gone, a few of my friends will be guest blogging to keep you inspired or help you think for Mother’s Day and any other reason. First up is Samantha Schultz from The Peanuts Gang, one of my very good friends here in Chicago, and a fantastic blogger in her own right. Make her feel welcome as she gives you a few places to visit for Mother’s Day! 

Outdoor Family Adventures Botanical Gardens #HousefulofNicholes

With the turn of the weather here in Chicagoland, our thoughts are full-swing spring and summer. One of my favorite things to do on or around Mother’s Day is to spend time in the great outdoors – enjoy the beauty of nature – flowers, trees and beautiful green grasses! In anticipation of this season and the time we spend outdoors, I’ve put together a list of botanical gardens and arboretums that should make your must-visit list!


Stemming from our first-hand experience, Illinois gardens are beautiful, well-maintained and can be found throughout the state. With plenty for kids to do, but also quite a bit of ground to cover, you can easily create a bucket list for these nature gardens that will take up a good portion of your outdoor time this summer. I highly recommend the Morton Arboretum in the fall – when the changing colors create a beautiful masterpiece.


Garfield Park Conservatory (Chicago)
Morton Arboretum (Lisle)
Chicago Botanic Gardens (Glencoe)
Cantigny Park (Wheaton)

New York

Brooklyn Botanic Garden (Brooklyn)
Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens (Buffalo)
Ellwanger Garden (Rochester)


Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center (Austin)
San Antonio Botanical Garden (San Antonio)
Fort Worth Botanical Garden (Fort Worth)



Balboa Park Gardens (San Diego)
Conservatory of Flowers (San Francisco)
Japanese Friendship Garden (San Jose)



The Kampong (Miami)
Montgomery Botanical Center (Coral Gables)
Sunken Gardens (St. Petersburg)


Make it a point this year to visit one of these beautiful nature centers from around the country! Whether you’re headed out on vacation or live nearby, these are must-sees and will definitely show the beauty of nature in a variety of ways.


Need to bring a little more of the gardening love to your own home? Check out these twenty-five ways to reuse K-Cups, including a starter garden. You can also put together these great backyard family games, such as ladybug tic-tac-toe using painted rocks! If you feel a bit more adventurous, this DIY Garden Planter and Bird Bath would be the perfect addition to a backyard space.

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