When it comes to beautiful gardens filled with flowers, trees, and other plants in natural settings, there are few places that will compare to the Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs National Park, AR. Special attractions are also designed to teach and entertain the children and everyone in the whole family.
The Gardens can only be visited by a riverboat called the Belle of Hot Springs. The Gardens cover 210 acres on a peninsula that juts out into Lake Hamilton. This gives it more than 4.5 miles of shoreline. Inside the Gardens are many beautiful attractions.
For many decades, the land was owned by Verna Cook Garvan, who later began to develop it on her own. She put many plants into the ground herself and chose the location of many of them, too. When she died in 1993, she put it into a trust with the Department of Landscape Architecture through the University of Arkansas Foundation.
Now visitors can come and see the magnificent beauty of the various gardens within, and the changing of the colors too, depending on which season they visit. The Gardens have trails that run through them. Altogether, there are 2.5 miles of trails. It takes about one to one-and-a-half hours to walk the trails and see the various gardens. For those who have difficulty walking, golfcarts are available at a small price.
The woods are full of beautiful flowers, waterfalls, and bridges blended in to match the style of the Ouachita Mountains. The flowers change with the seasons, so you will want to be sure to visit when your favorite flowers are in bloom.
Special gardens are on display all the time and feature a variety of floral and plant displays that are sure to amaze and relax you. These include the Singing Springs Gorge and the Millsap Canopy Bridge, the Evans Children's Adventure Garden, The Ellipse, the Garden of Pine Wind, the Weyerhaeuser Bonsai Garden, the Joy Manning Scott Full Moon Bridge, and many more.
The Hixson Family Woodland Nature Preserve offers the opportunity to watch for the many birds that fly through the area, or are residents there. Many varieties come through every year. Guests have seen green herons, pileated woodpeckers, tufted titmouse, and sometimes even a bald eagle.
Throughout the year, there are also special exhibits, classes and displays. One special exhibit is the Holiday Light Display, which runs from Thanksgiving until December 31. Classes include topics like Gardening 101, Ground Works: The Building Blocks of a Successful Garden, and more.
When you get hungry, there is an outdoor cafe that serves snacks on a mostly seasonal basis. You can order hotdogs, sandwiches, and soups and salads. It also sells drinks and ice cream. You can also bring a sack lunch, but no coolers.
The Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs National Park, AR, is open all year - except January. It is also closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and also New Year's Day. The hours are from 9 AM until 6 PM daily. The Gardens also make the perfect place for weddings, with its Anthony Chapel and 80-foot carillon tower to welcome your guests.
Read about other Hot Springs tourist attractions:
- Hot Springs Mountain Tower - Hot Springs National Park, AR - an observation tower on Hot Springs Mountain
- Lake Ouachita - Hot Springs, AR - part of Ouachita River found in Ouachita National Forest
- The Pain Relief and Massage Studio - Hot Springs, AR - Holistic healing techniques are taught
- Hot Springs Mountain - Hot Springs National Park, AR - a mountain with a natural hot spring running through it
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