Travel Suggestions

Top Accessible Botanical Gardens in the US: A Wheelchair-Friendly Exploration

accessible gardens

Spring is in full bloom, giving you the perfect excuse to put on a sunhat, slide into some comfy sandals, and let your plant-loving heart run wild! The US is home to some of the most enchanting gardens brimming with exotic plants and vibrant flowers that are a treat for your eyes and soul. 

Every year, these stunning sites host an array of festivals and exhibitions, attracting everyone from nature buffs who want to learn a thing or two about horticulture to families looking for a great day out. In this article, we’ll give you the inside scoop on the most wheelchair-friendly botanical gardens across the States. 

Top Accessible Gardens in the US

Below are some of the top accessible gardens in the US:

1. Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado 

Nestled against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains, Denver Botanic Gardens provides a tranquil natural retreat in the Mile High City. This 24-acre hidden gem is home to 18 different arid gardens, each thriving with life and color. From roses, daylilies, and irises to cacti, succulents, and towering ponderosa pines, you’ll find an incredible variety of flora at the Garden of the West. 

If you have little curious botanists onboard, take them to the Mordecai Children’s Garden to channel their inner explorer, get the dirt on how plants gulp water and run wild while learning. Need to leaf through a good book? The Helen Fowler Library is your go-to for botanical wisdom. And, if you time your trip right, you can even take in the sights and smells of one of the rarest flowers in the world, the Corpse Flower.

Besides having an incredible variety of plants, Denver Botanic Gardens also hosts various special events and shows like the Earth Day Celebration, Spring Plant Sale, the blissfully scented Lavender Festival, and many more.

As a premier wheelchair-accessible garden, Denver Botanic Gardens has accessible parking spots. Most indoor and outdoor gardens and facilities have paved pathways for easy navigation. While the gardens do not offer motorized aids, wheelchairs and strollers are up for grabs on a first-come, first-served basis. 

They have also thoughtfully compiled Sensory Processing and Autism Resource Kits (SPARK) to help guests navigate the sensory-rich environment of the gardens.

accessible gardens

2. Chicago Botanic Garden, Illinois

Spanning 385 acres, the Chicago Botanic Garden is overflowing with vibrantly colored flowers, towering trees, and frisky creatures. Once there, you can check out seasonal blooms, including Cattleya Labiata, Dendrobium Mini Snowflake, and Vanilla Planifolia, marvel at the striking butterflies and moths, get mesmerized by local and exotic birds, or even play spring or Earth-themed bingo as you explore.

You can also take your kids to the Nature Play Garden. This multisensory area features sugar maple, aspen, and redbud groves along with rolling hills, willow tunnels, and boulders. If you want to improve your gardening skills, head over to the Buehler Enabling Garden. This wheelchair-accessible learning space features raised beds and container gardens that give you a hands-on experience. 

When in the Garden, don’t forget to catch the Orchid Show of Wonders, running from February 10 to March 24. Chicago Botanic Garden also offers a free wheelchair-accessible tram that will take you through McDonald Woods, Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden, and the Regenstein Learning Campus. 

To round out your visit, dine at the Garden View Cafe, which offers wheelchair-friendly outdoor decks. It’s worth mentioning that while this garden rents out wheelchairs at no extra charge, you may have to pay for renting ECV.

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3. Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden, Florida

Covering a lush 83-acre landscape, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden has more than 3,400 species of flowering and fruit-bearing plants, making it a must-visit for any nature buff!

They host various events throughout the year that spice up the experience, such as Orchids in Bloom, Luck of the Leprechaun, Bunny Hoppening events, and engaging photography workshops that help you learn to frame nature perfectly. They even arrange a plant sale that allows you to explore an extensive selection of rare and beautiful flora you won’t find at your average garden center.

If you’re taking your little ones, enroll them in the ‘Expedition Discovery Mission Series’ for botanical adventure. And when hunger strikes after all that excitement, head over to the Glasshouse Café to indulge in mouth-watering sandwiches, crisp salads, and refreshing smoothies.

You can also rent this green paradise for your special day or celebrate your sweet 16 with a touch of magic. As for accessibility, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden offers accessible pathways and exhibits, automatic doors, ADA-compliant restroom facilities, wheelchair-friendly trams decked with assistive listening devices, and even a shuttle service for those needing extra assistance during their visit. 

accessible gardens

4. New York Botanical Garden, New York

Situated in the heart of the Bronx, the New York Botanical Garden provides a peaceful 250-acre oasis that’s just a short trip from Manhattan. The NYBG boasts a stunning array of collections, from brilliant Azaleas to ornamental conifers and everything in between. 

You can get up close and personal with the daylilies, waterlilies, cherries, conifers, magnolias, maples, lotuses, and herbaceous peonies. Or, head over to the Home Gardening Center, where you can learn expert growing tips. During your visit, you can refuel at Pine Tree Café or indulge in farm-to-table meals at the Hudson Garden Grill. 

There’s also a Children’s Adventure Garden where little green thumbs can cultivate their love for nature and learn all about harvesting fresh vegetables and herbs. During those long school breaks, NYBG offers science- and nature-themed camps with hands-on activities, immersive tours, and exciting botanical experiments.

The NYBG also hosts accessible workshops, classes, and seasonal events that range from EcoQuest Challenge to The Orchid Show and interactive experiences for kids with programs like Blippi. Through its accessible offerings, the New York Botanical Garden provides an enriching experience where all visitors can connect with nature and find inspiration.

accessible gardens

5. San Francisco Botanical Garden, California

Located within Golden Gate Park, the San Francisco Botanical Garden offers 55 breathtaking acres of landscaped gardens and open spaces with over 8,000 different types of plants from around the world. From magnificent magnolias to giant spear lilies, you’ll find ancient and exotic plants lining the secluded paths.

If you’re looking for a peaceful spot, check out the Moon Viewing Garden. It offers a beautiful plant display and softly glowing stone lanterns from Japan. There’s also the Garden of Fragrance, which is filled with a variety of aromatic plants. 

Located off the Great Meadows, the Fountain Plaza is a beautiful spot to soak the sunshine, read a book, or simply watch the world go by. San Francisco Botanical Garden hosts various programs, exhibitions, and events in its Celebration Garden. This accessible garden is also available for rent for special events.  

This wheelchair-accessible garden offers smooth pathways, ADA-accessible restrooms by the North Gate, and handicap-accessible parking spots available in the Bandshell All-Accessible Lot and along Martin Luther King Drive. If you want to check out the vast expanses of greenery without getting tired, hop on the free shuttle that makes exploring this lush paradise a breeze!

accessible gardens

Explore Botanical Bliss with Wheelchair Getaways

Whether you plan on attending the vibrant Orchid Show or just want to check out some exotic plants from a botanical garden, make your trip easy with a wheelchair-accessible rental van from Wheelchair Getaways. With availability in more than 200 locations nationwide, we’re here to help ensure your journey is safe and easy. Contact us at (866) 224-1750 or click here for rental quotes for your next botanical adventure.


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