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Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

About Birmingham Botanical Gardens A facility of the Birmingham Park and Recreation Board, the beauty and value of Birmingham Botanical Gardens are the result of a successful public/private partnership between the City of Birmingham and the nonprofit Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens. In 2016, Birmingham Botanical Gardens was named as one of the top three free attractions in America by USA Today. Education programs run year round and more than 10,000 school children on average enjoy free science-curriculum based field trips annually. The Gardens is open daily, offering free admission to more than 350,000 yearly visitors.
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Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens began as an idea prior to 1960. The Birmingham mayor of that time, James W. Morgan, led an effort to establish the gardens on a 69-acre (28 ha) portion of unused city property east of the Birmingham Zoo on the side of Red Mountain. The garden officially opened in 1963. The Birmingham Botanical Society, now known as the Friends of Birmingham Botanical Gardens, was established in 1964 with a mission of helping the city to support and improve the garden.
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Birmingham Botanical Gardens

The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is 67.5 acres (27.3 ha) of botanical gardens located adjacent to Lane Park at the southern foot of Red Mountain in Birmingham, Alabama. The gardens are home to over 12,000 different types of plants, 25 unique gardens, more than 30 works of original outdoor sculpture, and several miles of walking paths. With more than 350,000 annual visitors, the Birmingham Botanical Gardens qualify as one of Alabama’s top free-admittance tourist attractions.
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The Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a 15 acres (6.1 hectares) botanical gardens situated in Edgbaston, Birmingham, England. The gardens are close to the centre of Birmingham and open every day except Christmas Day and Boxing Day. They are located at grid reference SP049854. It is an independent educational charity. The gardens are located just one and a half miles from the centre of Birmingham.
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…FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY Being one of Birmingham’s best attractions, The Birmingham Botanical Gardens offers something for everyone, be it one of our four stunning glasshouses showing tropical rainforest to arid desert, beautiful gardens, playground, tearoom or our gift shop. There are four glasshouses which range from our exotic Tropical House through to our Subtropical, Mediterranean and Arid Houses. There is a large lawn in front of the glasshouses with a range of beds and shrubberies around its perimeter. Overall, the character is that of a Victorian public park with a bandstand set in 15 acres (6.1 ha) of landscaped greenery. The Botanical Gardens are in partnership with Thursfield Solicitors to offer legal guidance and support in leaving a charitable donation for the Botanical Gardens in your will.
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Birmingham Botanical Gardens is a spectacular site for a special event. Whether you are in need of an indoor or outdoor setting, you’ll find many options to choose from. Offering a convenient location close to downtown Birmingham and adjacent to the charming and elegant community of Mountain Brook, The Gardens is the ideal place for your memorable event. Contact Alicia Andrews at 205.414.3908 or apandre@ci.birmingham.al.us for facility & wedding availability and pricing. Facility rentals are open to the general public on a first-come, first-served basis. Members of The Gardens receive “in-city rates” of all room and garden rental rates.
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On Saturday, April 22, as part of our annual Earth Day at The Gardens celebration, The Gardens will host a Sensory Friendly Family Event to officially introduce its’ partnership with KultureCity. Families will be provided with updated maps of The Gardens grounds indicating the locations of our designated “Quiet Spaces” and “Headphone Zones” to better plan a walk through our collections. Additionally and as requested KultureCity will provide grab-and-go sensory bags for families to borrow during their visit to The Gardens. These sensory bags will contain items like a fidget toy, a non-verbal communication card and noise-cancelling headphones. Come join us to learn how The Gardens and KultureCity are working together to allow individuals with autism and other sensory needs, as well as their families, the ability to see and experience all that The Gardens has to offer.
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The parking lot and Garden Center, including the Library at Birmingham Botanical Gardens, are barrier-free facilities as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). During operating hours of the Garden Center, complimentary wheelchairs are available to check out at the Receptionist’s desk on a first-come, first-served basis. While it is a major goal of our upcoming master plan update to improve accessibility throughout The Gardens, much of the site is currently not barrier-free and assistance will be necessary. Nevertheless, many paths and garden areas have hard surfaces throughout and offer numerous visiting opportunities.
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Girl Scout Troop #31017 at Birmingham Botanical Gardens maintains a Monarch Waystation. A Monarch Waystation is a “site which provides milkweeds, nectar sources and shelter needed to sustain monarch butterflies as they migrate through North America.” Official Monarch Waystations are certified and registered by an organization called Monarch Watch which is a cooperative network of students, teachers, volunteers and researchers dedicated to the study of the Monarch butterfly.
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From 1893-1897, Ernest Henry “Chinese” Wilson was a trainee botanist at the gardens. He went on to become a notable plant collector. In May 2010, a blue plaque was erected at the gardens, by the Birmingham Civic Society, marking his time there.
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The gardens contain over 7,000 different plants and are home to The British National Bonsai Collection. One of the oldest specimens is the “Omiya tree”, a 250-year-old Juniperus chinensis in the informal upright style, presented to the collection in 1995 by the then city of Omiya, Japan. There are many unusual and notable plants in the gardens including two fine Himalayan Cedars close to the fountain. These were raised from seeds given to the gardens in the 1840s by James Watt Junior – son of James Watt whose improvements to the Newcomen steam engine were fundamental to the changes brought by the Industrial Revolution. A plant found nowhere else is the fern Dicksonia ×lathamii which is a hybrid between Dicksonia antarctica and Dicksonia arborescens, raised by ex-Curator W. B. Latham more than one hundred years ago.
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Following the staff training, KultureCity performed a site assessment for The Gardens. Their assessment included a facilities walk-through, programs evaluation, intake form assessment and further modification recommendations related to these topics. The site assessment included recommendations for placements of co-branded signage which will convey our partnership to visitors to The Gardens upon their arrival at main entrances and designate “Quiet Space” and “Headphone Zone” areas throughout. The Gardens will also receive recognition on the KultureCity website (kulturecity.org) as a sensory friendly partner organization.
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Without major efforts to restore milkweed plants in as many locations as possible, the monarch population is doomed to decline to even lower levels, possibly to be lost entirely. This is where Monarch Watch and the Monarch Waystation program come in. Monarch Waystations create, conserve and protect monarch habitats along roadsides, in home gardens, at businesses, schools, nature centers, parks and even unused plots of land an attempt to offset the loss of milkweeds and nectar sources. Creating and maintaining a Monarch Waystation has allowed The Gardens to contribute to monarch conservation and help to assure the preservation of the species and spectacular phenomenon that is the monarch migration. But The Gardens didn’t do it alone.
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The layout of the Botanical Gardens has changed very little since Loudon first designed it. There are four glasshouses which range from the exotic Tropical glasshouse, through to the Subtropical, Mediterranean and Arid houses. A large lawn is located in front of the glasshouses with a range of beds and shrubberies around its perimeter. Overall, the character is that of a Victorian public park with a bandstand set in 15 acres (6.1 ha) of landscaped greenery.
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KultureCity, one of USA Today’s 2016 Top Nonprofits in the U.S., is a Birmingham based, impact driven nonprofit focused on helping autistic individuals realize their potential by providing tangible help and equipping businesses and the community to relate to children with autism and their families. “The KultureCity Sensory Friendly Initiative was born out of the desire to help businesses and community organizations better understand the needs of individuals with autism and other sensory needs. The goal is to allow these individuals the ability to see and experience all the things a community has to offer, without being overwhelmed by everything going on around them.” – kulturecity.org
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Admission is FREE & the gardens are lovely. No doubt, when everything is in full bloom, it will be even more enjoyable. If you're ever in the Philadelphia area, go see “Grounds for Sculpture” and “Longwood Gardens”.
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The gardens are also home to a small collection of exotic birds from around the world including the white-cheeked turaco, Himalayan monals, azure-winged magpies and quaker parakeets. Most birds are located in the white-domed lawn aviary building that provides a focal point on the main lawn. There is also a wetlands enclosure that contains ornamental waterfowl including different species of ducks. Some of the birds have been at the gardens a very long time including a sulphur-crested cockatoo called Jenny that has been entertaining visitors with her chatter for over 30 years. There is always at least one peacock roaming wild in the grounds. There is also a seasonal butterfly house.

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