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Atlanta Botanical Gardens

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Gainesville is surrounded by Georgia’s fantastic natural landscapes. A great way to learn more about them is at the Gainesville offshoot of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. For instance, there are a number of short woodland walks within the grounds, that bring the state’s native species of plant and animal to the attention of visitors. The ‘Forest Pond’ is decorated with water lilies, making it an attractive place to spend a few minutes just behind the garden’s visitor centre. But even just following the woodland promenade pathway from the entrance to the visitor centre you’ll come face to face with a huge range of flowers and other natural wonders. Renowned plant collections, beautiful displays, and spectacular exhibitions make the Atlanta Botanical Garden the loveliest place in town to visit or host an event in every season. An urban oasis in Midtown, the Garden includes 30 acres of outdoor gardens, an award-winning Children’s Garden, a one-of-a-kind Canopy Walk through Storza Woods, and the innovative Edible Garden featuring an Outdoor Demonstration Kitchen. The Fuqua Conservatory is an organic biosphere and home to important collections of tropical palms and conifers; the Fuqua Orchid Center is home to the foremost collection of species orchids in the United States. Conservation gardens and amphibian displays highlight the Garden’s work with carnivorous plant bogs across the Southeast as well as endangered species of frogs from around the world.

The Garden offers lovely indoor and outdoor rental options for elegant meetings and celebrations. Since the Garden opened its doors in 1976, it has become the emerald jewel in the crown of Atlanta culture. The Garden is an ever-evolving destination where the horticulturally-minded, nature-inspired and fun-seeking families come together to feel human again. Renowned plant collections, beautiful displays and spectacular exhibitions make the Atlanta Botanical Garden the loveliest place in the city to visit. An urban oasis in the heart of Midtown, the Garden includes 30 acres of outdoor gardens, an award-winning Children’s Garden, the serene Storza Woods highlighted by a unique Canopy Walk, and the picturesque Skyline Garden. The Gainesville location, opened in 2015, celebrates years of planning and development of one of North Georgia’s most beautiful landscapes aimed at connecting visitors with both the natural world and cultural amenities. It is home to the largest conservation nursery in the Southeast. Following a petition by citizens of Atlanta in 1973, the garden was incorporated in 1976, as the private, 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation Atlanta Botanical Garden Inc.. The garden incorporated the pre-existing Dr. A. Leslie Stephens Memorial Bonsai Garden, now known as the Japanese Garden. Within a year Bill Warner, previously employed at Holden Arboretum, was assigned office as the first executive director. He was soon followed by Ann L. Crammond in 1979. The following year marked a turning point in the history of the garden as a 50-year lease was negotiated with the city, securing the site of the Garden for years to come.

A number of promotional activities started taking place, including social events, major art exhibitions and the annual Garden of Eden Ball. The Atlanta Botanical Garden welcomed its 50,000th visitor within a mere three years after the lease was arranged – this was even before any permanent structures had been erected. In 1985, the Atlanta Botanical Garden built its first permanent structure, the Gardenhouse. Expansions following this were The Children’s Garden (1999), the Fuqua Conservatory in 1989, and the Fuqua Orchid Center which was added in 2002. Blockbuster summertime exhibitions began in 2003 with TREEmendous TREEhouses. Chihuly in the Garden opened in 2004, while in 2005 Locomotion in the Garden featured G-scale model trains. On April 29, 2006, an exhibition of the sculpture of Niki de Saint Phalle opened to the public. These huge mosaic sculptures came to the Garden from France, Germany, and California. In 2007, the exhibition was David Rogers’ Big Bugs and Killer Plants, and 2008 is Sculpture in Motion, Art Choreographed by Nature, a display of moving, kinetic art. In 2009, the Garden hosted an exhibition of the monumental bronze sculptures of Henry Moore. The summers of 2010 and 2011 showcased the Garden’s green expansion (see below), and in 2012, the Garden hosted Independent Visions, an exhibition of contemporary sculptures by nine artists. In 2013, the Garden will unveil Imaginary Worlds: Plants Larger than Life, made up of 19 mosaic culture sculptures. In 2016, Chihuly in the Garden open again with 19 installations throughout the Garden. In the winter the Garden has a holiday light show. “Garden Lights, Holiday Nights” began in 2011 featuring displays created with more than 1 million lights, most of them LED. The following year, the show grew to more than 1.5 million lights and attracted more than 160,000 visitors.

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