Thirty minutes west of Virginia Beach are The Norfolk Botanical Garden. The Garden is spread over 155 acres with more than fifty themed sections. The garden has twelve miles of walking paths, a picnic area, the Garden Café, Gift Shop, water fountains and lots of benches.

As with many of the attractions in the Virginia Beach area the admission fee is reasonable, they offer discounts for military, seniors and large groups. Children also pay a reduced price and children 2 and under are free. Free tram tours are available around the Garden, it makes several stops allowing you to hop on and hop off when something captures your eye.

The rose garden was the first garden we walked through, it was very impressive, with over 430 different varieties, colors and smells that radiate from these flowers are beautiful.

For me the Bristow Butterfly Garden was a must see, I am fascinated with butterflies and the beautiful way they are marked. Even though we were at the garden early in the season there were still lots of butterfly’s basking in the sun and flittering from plant to plant.

With all the beautiful plants, flowers and trees butterflies are not the only insect or animal you are going to see, there are many birds, and small animals even a few reptiles, I spotted one non venomous snake slithering along the path in front of me. One of the gardens well known inhabitants is the pair of nesting Eagles. Depending on the time of year you visit the Botanical Gardens you may be lucky enough to see the nest with the parent birds near by. There are numerous telescopes surrounding the nest which ensure you get a good view.

For families visiting the Garden, be sure to stop at the World of Wonders, the garden takes up three acres and offers a fun and educational experience to youngsters. I would recommend you bring a towel and change of clothes when visiting this garden as your children have the opportunity to dig through dirt, climb up trees and run cool off through water fountains.

If you would like more information about the Norfolk Botanical Garden, please visit their website.