There are a few reasons why we love taking the kids there:
- It's cheap. It costs $6 for the whole family (as long as they fit in one vehicle, since the only charge is for parking). Better yet, it's free on Tuesdays.
- It's a semi-contained area to let the kids run free. There are a few places, like the bonsai garden, where it's a series of walkways and bridges with railings, so for those of you with multiple kids like us, you don't have to worry as much about each kid sprinting a different direction. In fact, the Arboretum was the first outing where we took the kids and let the twins go stroller-free when they started walking.
- They have kid-friendly hiking trails as short as a half-mile tound-trip.
- It's one of the few attractions I've seen anywhere (not just Asheville, but in all my travels in seven countries) that actually caters to toddlers and preschoolers. They have a Wee Naturalist program for kids age 2-4 to encourage parents and kids to explore.
- They always have a cool, hands-on or personal experience type of exhibit that kids love. Currently, it's an exhibit on bats. One of the coolest was a greenhouse filled with real live butterflies that the kids could walk into and experience.
But my husband and I, and the kids, love the bonsai collection (the largest in the Southeast from what I have heard). Here's a cool thing some people don't really think about either, but these bonsais go through the seasonal changes as well. If you get a chance, I definitely recommend checking out the Arboretum during the fall color change.
Here are several other pictures I took during visits in spring and fall: