Duke Gardens is one of our favorite places that we don’t visit often enough. Over the spring, summer, and early fall, we stop by every single week to pick up our produce box, but we don’t take time to go and enjoy the gardens every time. This summer, we got there about 3-4 times total. Duke Gardens is a beautiful gardens on Duke’s campus that’s open to the public. You have to pay for parking, and you can buy duck food in the garden gift shop, but it’s overall an inexpensive outing. My kids love feeding the ducks, and since we almost always go in the afternoons, it’s a good place to get wiggles and crazies out in the before-dinner hour.
I’ve enjoyed going to Duke Gardens since before I had kids…one of my best library school friends and I made an outing there in between our two years of school just to enjoy reading in the sunshine. There’s a beautiful variety of plants and types of gardens. I don’t think I’ve explored anywhere near everything there is, but some of my favorites are the terraced garden (weddings are often held here, but they don’t close off the whole gardens, so you can glimpse wedding parties in their finery on many weekend days!), the duck pond (of course), and the rose garden near the entrance. I’ve only been to the native plants garden once, and I’d like to explore there more, and we also have not visited the Discovery Garden, which is supposed to be perfect for kids…so hopefully we’ll make a few more visits before we leave the area.
Back in August, I managed to grab a few pictures (all on my phone, and I’m not a great photographer even with a real camera, so temper your expectations accordingly) during one of our exploration/duck feeding expeditions:
Sorry, but I didn’t get any pictures of feeding the ducks–managing three children who aren’t sure whether or not to be afraid of hungry ducks is all I can manage during duck feedings.
I definitely recommend Duke Gardens as a place to enjoy the outdoors, with kids or without. Here’s their website for more information: https://gardens.duke.edu