By Spades Washington. Photos by John Washington and Spades Washington.
If you haven’t visited the Albuquerque Botanic Garden give it a try, you won’t be disappointed. I recently visited with my family and the botanical gardens exceeded my expectations. The weather was perfect, cool yet sunny and was a perfect day to be outside and enjoy the flora. I was surprised to find out how expansive the gardens were, we walked and walked and still didn’t see everything. The first thing I noticed when entering the gardens was the color. Red, yellow, purple, blue and lots and lots of green. Green everywhere. It was a magical experience.
When entering the gardens one of the first things that caught my attention was the children’s area. It was well designed and had interesting features to keep both kids and adults engaged. There were special paths with rock steps that, if followed, would take you to a secret area normally not seen. One of the secret paths took us to a comically large termite mound with a maze of entrances and exits. My whole family enjoyed wandering the termite maze, the walls were high enough to make you feel like a termite yourself.
Each path was different, some lush with greenery and hanging vines, some barren and dry like an ant path stretching out as far as the eye can see. Scattered throughout were giant ants and pine cones. We stumbled upon a humongous watering can and water spout which fed the enormous carrots in the oversized garden. At one point we discovered a cavernous space with huge seeds hanging from the ceiling and it dawned on me we were inside a gigantic pumpkin! It was like we had shrunk and the world around us became bigger. We could have spent all day in this fantasy area but decided to continue to explore the rest of the garden.
Another highlight of our visit was the Japanese Garden. While not as whimsical as the children’s fantasy area, it was a sight to behold. When entering the garden there were multiple Japanese structures and gazebos and sand art which set the mood. Off in the distance we heard a waterfall and decided to investigate. There was a large pond with fish, ducks and other wildlife as well as a stunning waterfall. We all took a moment to take in the beauty of the scenery before us and relax while listening to the rush of the water. It is a perfect spot for a picture so we all took our cameras and played around with the settings. I experimented with long exposure which makes the water look smooth yet also in motion. We decided to walk around the pond and found several hidden trails and flowers.
We didn’t explore the entire garden because we started to grow weary and our legs were tired. I didn’t expect the garden to be so expansive but I’m glad that we went. It was an amazing place and I want to go back so I can continue to discover the hidden treasure this garden has to offer.
The Albuquerque Botanic Garden is within the ABQ BioPark, along with the Zoo, the Aquarium, and the Wildflower Cafe; at Central Ave/Route 66, just east of the Rio Grande. It is open from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily.