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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden facts for kids

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Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
Type Botanical
Location 1800 Lakeside Avenue, Richmond, Virginia 23228
Area 50+ acres
Collections Conservatory, Rose Garden, Children's Garden, Fountain Garden, Asian Garden, Victorian Garden, Woodland Garden, Healing Garden, Children's Garden, Perennial Garden, Edible Display Garden, Kroger Community Kitchen Garden

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is a 50 acres (200,000 m2), botanical garden in Richmond, Virginia's Lakeside neighborhood. It features a conservatory, library cafe and tea house restaurant. Regular daily admission is $14 for adults, $11 for seniors, $8 for children (age 3-12), under age 3 are free. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden also hosts select days where admission is free and is part of the Museums for All program offering discounted admission and membership to those with a SNAP/EBT card. Art exhibitions, special events, live music, tours, classes and seminars are also offered.


Once the "Oughnum" hunting ground of Powhatan Indians, the land was once owned by Virginia Governor Patrick Henry. in 1786. 10 acres (4.0 ha) was purchased in 1884 by Richmond businessman Lewis Ginter where he established the Lakeside Wheel Club,. The club only operated for a few years as the bicycling craze was short lived.

The clubhouse and land went unused after Ginter's death in 1897. His niece Grace Arents, purchased the property from the estate, remodeling and expanding the abandoned cottage used by the club into the Lakeside Sanatorium for Babies in 1912.

The children's convalescent home operated for two years before Arents made it her home, with her companion Mary Garland Smith, calling it Bloemendaal House ("valley of flowers") in honor of the family's Dutch heritage. Adjacent properties were purchased bringing the total size to 73 acres (30 ha) as returned from trips to botanical gardens worldwide with specimens. .

Smith continued to live there after her companion's death in 1926 until her death at age 100 in 1968. Arent willed the property to the city of Richmond with the stipulation that it be developed into a botanical garden honoring her uncle The city used the property as a tree nursery and greenhouse supplying bedding plants for city parks for 13 years while plans to establish a botanical garden were investigated.

In 1981, the non-profit Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden corporation. was chartered to finally the botanical garden using funds from the Grace E. Arents Trust. Additional adjacent land was purchased and The Pittsburgh landscape architecture firm of Environmental Planning and Design was hired in 1987 and announced a master plan for the gardens later that year.

The gardens were named among the most beautiful by readers of Conde Nast magazine and USA Today in 2017.


A $41 million capital campaign completed in 2004 provided the Garden's major facilities for horticulture, education and community events. Significant structures include The Robins Visitors Center (1999), Massey Greenhouses (1999), Education and Library Complex (2002), classical glass-domed Conservatory (2003), and Children's Garden (2005).

The addition of the Education and Library Complex in October 2002 greatly expanded educational offerings to new, diverse constituencies. A year-long series of educational programs in 2003 introduced the new complex and featured nationally prominent speakers. The series attracted almost 4,000 people from all areas of Richmond and most regions of Virginia, as well as other nearby states. The increased capacity and effectiveness of our educational facilities have generated a 61% increase in registration for the Garden's regular adult education programs in the three years since the complex opened.

The University of Richmond's landscape design classes are taught at Lewis Ginter. Virginia Commonwealth University houses its herbarium at LGBG, which the Flora of Virginia project uses in its preparation of a modern state Flora to be published by the University of Virginia Press. In an ongoing collaboration, LGBG, Virginia Tech, and the Virginia Nurserymen and Landscape Association have joined forces in a Plant Introduction Program which selects, tests, propagates and distributes to growers and garden centers new or uncommon ornamental plant species which adapt well to Virginia growing conditions.


Each year during the winter holidays, Lewis Ginter hosts the GardenFest of Lights drawing more than 76,000 visitors. An exhibit featuring hundreds of live tropical butterflies is hosted during spring, summer and early fall months in the conservatory. Concerts and Easter themed children's activities are offered in the spring.


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