May 01

Rio Grande Botanical Garden – Albuquerque

Rio Grande Botanical Garden While the Albuquerque Zoo was good and aquarium was just ok, I felt the ABQ BioParks best feature was its botanical garden.  The Rio Grande Botanical Garden located right next to the Albuquerque Aquarium was the highlight of my trip to the BioPark.  The garden is 36 acres of several different themed gardens including a heritage farm, a large conservatory that is divided into two parts one housing Mediterranean plants the other cacti, a wonderfully designed Japanese garden, a seasonal butterfly house, a children’s fantasy garden and an area dedicated to model trains.  Now, I am not saying the zoo or the aquarium were not interesting or fun to visit but the botanical garden was just so much better and this is coming from somebody that is not all that into gardens nor someone who visited during its peak month for foliage.

The Rio Grande Botanical Garden is a part of the ABQ BioPark and well worth the visit especially if you buy the combo ticket that gets you into all three of the parks attractions.  To find out more about the ABQ BioPark you can check out my previous post by clicking here.  The garden has over a mile and a half of paths on its 36 acres of land which contain twelve exhibits.  I was there in the middle of March and things were just starting to turn green, but the 10,000 square-foot beautifully designed conservatory was in full bloom and contained several different species of fauna that I had not seen before at other botanical gardens that I have visited.  I hope to go back someday with Karen and go later in the year so I can see several things that were seasonally closed like their butterfly pavilion.
Butterfly House

One of the highlights of the garden is its Heritage Farm.  The farm represents what life would have been like during the early 1900s’ on a farm along the Rio Grande.  This area is complete with farmhouse, barn with livestock, vineyard, garden, and orchard.  It is a working farm and where reenactors dress the part and work the land.  Once again I just wish I would have been there closer to the harvest than the planting, but it was really interesting to walk around the farm and talk to the workers that were there.
Heritage Farm

My favorite part of the Rio Grande Botanical Garden was Sasebo Japanese Garden.  It was beautifully well done and built to honor Sasebo, Japan a sister city to Albuquerque.  The garden was meticulously manicured and well laid out with a pond, waterfall, and streams.  This part of the botanical garden is fairly new having opened in the fall of 2007 and updated in the fall of 2009.  What made it my favorite part was the just the peaceful feeling that I got when I entered the garden.
Japanese Garden

I would say that this garden could be enjoyed by people of all ages.  There are enough things (when in season) to keep the little ones entertained like the Fantasy Garden, Heritage Farm, model railroads, and the butterfly area while the adults will enjoy those things in addition to the conservatories, the Japanese Garden, and the variety of other areas.  I believe the creators of the Rio Grande Botanical Garden did a wonderful job creating a highly entertaining place for people of all ages.
Model Railroad

Rio Grande Botanical Garden
Located at 2601 Central Ave. NW, Albuquerque
Hours of Operation 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Cost as of this posting $7 for 13 to 64 year olds everybody else is $3 unless they are under two then they are free
For more information visit their website at http://www.cabq.gov/biopark/garden

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