UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
Founded in 1966 on UNC Charlotte’s campus, the botanical gardens were established by the university’s founder and a biology professor intending to provide students with a living classroom. The Van Landingham Glen—a woodland that features rhododendrons, native species to the Carolinas, and trickling stream—was the first section of the gardens to open followed by the McMillan Greenhouse which is home to an incredible collection of orchids and and Nykie, the dinosaur skeleton. Wrap up your visit with a walk through the Susie Hardwood Garden. Designed to inspire your own garden, the Susie Hardwood Garden showcases different landscaping techniques as well as a tranquil Asian-style garden.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The two outdoor gardens are not wheelchair accessible due to sloping and uneven terrain.
- Public restrooms and drinking fountains can be found only at the greenhouse.
- There is no onsite cafe or gift shop, however, guests are encouraged to grab a bite to eat at any of the dining options on campus.
- Parking near the greenhouse is limited so be sure to visit the botanical gardens’ website for more information.
How to Get There
Despite its rather large campus, UNC Charlotte is a short 20-minute drive from Uptown Charlotte. The botanical gardens are located on the east end of campus and you can drive directly to Lot 16A next to the greenhouse. If you enter campus from the main gate, follow signs directing you towards the gardens.
You can also take the blue line on the Lynx Light Rail or the green bus line on the free Niner Transit before exiting at the UNCC Main Station stop. From the stop its about a 10-minute walk to the gardens.
When to Get There
The outdoor gardens are open daily from dawn to dusk, while the greenhouse is open Monday through Saturday, 9am to 4pm, and from 1pm to 4pm on Sunday. Since the garden blooms year round you’ll never miss out. Orchids go wild in the greenhouse come January, spring wildflowers bloom in April, hydrangeas and daylilies flourish in late April to mid May, and autumn brings fall foliage and bright camelias.
Tours at UNC Charlotte Botanical Gardens
Self-guided tours require in-person or online pre-registration. And while admission is free, a $2.50 donation per person is encouraged. Guided tours are scheduled for Tuesday and Friday, cost $5 per person, and require reservations at least two-weeks in advance.
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