by Kristen Wolenberg, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Public Relations & Marketing Intern
As the summer months stretch on, you may be looking for something new to do to really enjoy the fact that it’s summer. There’s so much to do at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden! In the Garden Café, we’ve left some spiral notebooks looking for comments about the Garden. We’re calling it the Visitor’s Journal, and it’s a chance for you to tell us what you think, capture your experiences and give us feedback. I guess it’s sort of like micro-blogging — but you aren’t limited to 140 characters like you are on Twitter. These are the Top 10 most popular things guests write about:
1. Go to Butterflies LIVE! It is an indoor exhibit in the North Conservatory geared for all ages. You can get up close and personal as hundreds of exotic butterflies flutter around you.
“We really enjoyed the butterflies. They were really beautiful. I personally liked the colors and the plants.” –Anonymous
“Saw an ad on TV and decided to visit. What a wonderful experience. The gardens were beautiful and the butterfly exhibit was enchanting. We stood in the center and just let the butterflies flitter around us. It was lovely. Thanks for a great time.” –Sally
“I have lived in Richmond since 2001 and this was the first time at Lewis Ginter. The colors were amazing and the butterflies just lifted our spirits! I heard it was good luck when one landed on your. One of the big blue ones landed in my hair and didn’t want to leave. It looked like a hair accessory! I loved it!” -Mary
“I love bringing my 18-month-old granddaughter here. The butterflies were active and varied. She loved them. She also loved the brass monkey statue in the children’s garden under the mulberry tree.” –Anonymous
2. Take a group tour of the Gardens.
“The tour was awesome. My favorite part was in the Conservatory — watching the butterflies, taking pictures of them and standing still as they flew all around me … The landscaping is awesome — makes one want to stay for hours on end. The guide, Roland, was very knowledgeable about the history of the gardens and he answered all the questions that our group had.” –Anonymous
“This is such a special place and we are so appreciative of everything you have done to make it wheelchair accessible. We love your Gardens!” –Franklin
3. Enjoy lunch or dinner in the Garden Café (open daily from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.) The menu offers a daily special, sandwiches, hot or could soup of the day, a kid’s menu, wine & beer, and more. Guests can dine inside, or outside on the patio. Many people come back each visit for the roasted red pepper and crab soup, which is also offered in the Robins Tea House.
“The cucumber water was delicious, one of the ladies gave my wife a tip on how to make it so I guess it’s cucumber water to drink for the next couple months.” –Anonymous
“Awesome cookies! Nice variety of food to choose from as well!” –Anonymous
4. The Children’s Garden allows kids to have up-close-and-personal interactions with the natural world. There are lots of activities for children to choose from such as WaterPlay (open daily, temperature permitting, April 21-October 7.)
“I had fun in the mini water park; it was great! I enjoyed the crafts to and loved the butterfly garden.” –Meredith
“I had a great time, we went to the water park, the butterfly place, and climbed a tree.” –Lily
5. Go to Green Adventures Summer Camps, a week-long day camp program for children. Each day campers will explore the garden and learn about the plant kingdom and their connection to it.
“We highly recommend the kids’ summer camp program. The staff are great, the snacks are healthy and from the garden, and the activities are fun. We love Lewis Ginter!” –Logan (age 5) and Natalie (age 9)
6. Explore, Play, or Walk through Diamonds in the Rough stick sculpture by World-Famous Artist Patrick Dougherty. It is a fantasy-land sculpture that will make your imagination wander.
“We love playing hide and seek in the stick castle. We looked at the butterflies and they were awesome. We also love to roll down the grassy hill! So much fun here!” –Mom and Asher
7. Stretch and relax by taking an individual or 6-week yoga class in the middle of the Garden!
“What a lovely place to spend a morning in natural beauty. The Garden is a treasure—Thanks to the city of Richmond and all the hard-working volunteers who give so generously to make this wonderful place of joy.” –Anonymous
8. The Garden is perfect for a romantic walk or date.
“Took my significant other here on a date. It was a good idea; she loved it. A butterfly landed on my arm and stayed with me for my trip through the exhibit. This will hopefully bring me good luck in my future endeavors. The garden is very beautiful, almost as beautiful as Jessica. All in all it was a nice relaxing stroll with good company.” –Charles
“Here with my boyfriend, Rodney, and he asked me to marry him! I said yes!! I’m getting married!!!” –Newly Engaged Couple
9. Take pictures! Everywhere you turn it is a picturesque moment.
“My mother and I met at the butterfly exhibit and spent over an hour taking photos. We then stopped for lunch at the Café and are then going to wander the rest of the grounds. The weather today is perfect, brilliant blue sky and warm!” –Sarah
10. Come again and again!
“We have been members for 11 years and are usually here once a month. It’s wonderful to see this garden change during the seasons, of course coming during the holidays are a treat. This is our second butterfly exhibit, and it’s great! We like that there’s always something new to see.” –Bob and Connie
“The overall gardens are so lovely that I intend to purchase a family membership so that we can continue to come on a regular basis.” –Anonymous