Cape Fear Botanical Gardens, Fayetteville, NC
Cape Fear Botanical Gardens is located on seventy-eight acres nestled between the Cape Fear River and Cross Creek, just two miles from downtown Fayetteville, NC. It was founded in 1989 and now boasts more than 2,000 varieties of ornamental plants and has several specialty gardens including the Camellia, Daylily and Hosta gardens.
There is also a River Walk, Heritage Garden, Children's Garden and PWC Water Wise Garden that provide unique educational experiences for people of all ages.
There is a new addition to the Children's Garden (that I have not had a chance to visit yet). This addition is the Butterfly Stroll. This stroll is a 450 foot, paved walkway beside the Cypress pond that showcases over 100 different "butterfly irresistible" plant varieties. These plants attract all kinds of butterflies.
Visitors to the Botanical Garden find something in bloom all year round. You will also discover a place where plants, trees and wildlife indigenous to the Cape Fear River Basin are meticulously preserved for everyone to appreciate now and for years to come.
Admission to the Botanical Gardens:
- General Admission $8 ($1 discount with Military I.D.)
- Children ages 6-12 are $2.50
- Children 5 and under are FREE
There are Guided Tours:
- Adult group tours are $10 per adult which includes Garden admission; $50 minimum.
- Student group tours are $5 per student; $50 minimum; teachers and chaperone's are free.
Hours of operation:
- Monday through Saturday 10am to 5pm
- Sunday 12pm to 5pm
- Hours may change during holidays and inclement weather.
The Big Bug Exhibit
David Rogers' Big Bugs presented by Terminix was at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens when we were there.
The garden had been invaded. The critters were not your usual suspects, however. This swarm was friendly and larger than life. They are called Big Bugs and feature a 1,200 pound praying mantis, a 25 foot long at and 8 other enormous natural sculptures. The gigantic bug sculptures are made using various combinations of whole trees found standing or fallen dead, dry branches and other forest materials. The different shapes, colors and textures of these materials provide the bugs with character, definition and a sense of motion. The weight of the sculptures varies from 30 to 1,200 pounds and some of the bugs stand nearly 10 feet high and stretch 25 feet long. The sculptures were displayed through the garden for visitors to get a "bug's eye view" of the creatures.
These big bugs were all over the Gardens area. You could walk all around the garden and see a new bug in each spot. The kids' favorite were the ants because there were several in a line and you could run around underneath them. My favorite was the dragonfly. Such a magical "bug" and they positioned this one in a really awesome spot for my picture taking!
Arts and Crafts in the Garden
During many of the exhibits that the Botanical Gardens puts on each year, they usually have arts and crafts for the kids and other "fun" stuff to do on the weekends. Some of the great stuff they had available for us to do during the Big Bugs Exhibit were:
- Make your own clay pottery
- Make your own butter using a jar and some cream (a lot of shaking went into this)
- Painting your own "plate" (they had a fancy one that had been painted and cooked that the kids were supposed to copy from)
- Horse/Pony rides for all the kids
- Making of husk dolls (These are super cute and you can learn more about them with randomcreative's hub How to Make Corn Husk Dolls and Other Corn Husk Craft Ideas)
- The kids learned how to take the corn off the cob
- There was an egg hut from the chickens
- The kids had to search for different vegetables in a big pool of sand (large onions, potatoes, carrots, etc.)
- And there was some incredible stew being cooked for all the visitors (best stew I've ever had)
Cape Fear River Trail
The Cape Fear River Trail that is located in the Botanical Gardens grounds is a nice little hike through the woods of NC. You get far enough away from the main building that you can't see nor hear anything that is happening there. While walking there are a couple bridges you go across, and there are a few spots where you can stop and see the river. You are not supposed to go off the path but you can tell many people have. This Walk winds all the way around to the other side of the entrance building so you don't have to walk down and walk back the same way. Just keep walking straight down the path and you will eventually end up back where you started.
Holiday Lights in the Garden
The next main event that I am going to at the Cape Fear Botanical Gardens is called "Holiday Lights in the Garden". It is from December 14th through Dec 29th of 2012. There will be thousands of lights as the garden will be transformed into a sparkling wonderland that will offer visitors the occasion to embrace the outdoors during the holiday season. On select evenings, music will fill the air as choral and instrumental groups perform concerts. Seasonal treats, hot drinks and refreshments will be available as well. You can find the perfect gift for everyone on your Christmas shopping list in the Garden Gift Shop. Viewing times are from 5:45pm to 9:00pm with the last entry being at 8:45pm. The Garden is closed on December 24th and 25th in observance of Christmas.