The VanDusen Botanical Gardens are among the top attractions in Vancouver and are visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists each and every year. Often simply referred to as the Vancouver Botanical Gardens by residents, this gorgeous 55-acre green space is named for Whitford Julian Van Dusen, a philanthropist from Vancouver. It opened in August of 1975 and is maintained by a large staff of volunteer workers. Although when you are inside the lush confines of the beautiful gardens, it feels as though you are a million miles away from the city, the grounds are actually easily accessible from any point in the Downtown core. The VanDusen Botanical Gardens are located in Shaughnessy at the intersection of Oak Street and 37th. This attraction is also perhaps best known as annually playing host to the VanDusen Botanical Garden Festival of Lights.
The gardens are open to the public every day of the year excluding Christmas. There is a modest fee to get in, but it is well worth it. There is no limit on how much time you can spend enjoying the expansive grounds. The Vancouver Botanical Gardens display a vast array of plants from every corner of the globe. There is an herbarium, a garden shop, and a book and seed library where visitors can learn about plants of interest. The layout of the gardens is such that people of any age can get a lot out of touring the grounds.
You have the option of taking tours on your own or with one of the expertly trained staff members or volunteers who are actively engaged with the maintenance of the gardens. Many of the trees and flowers are labeled and give explanations of their origins. The VanDusen Botanical Gardens provide an awesome destination for family vacations in Vancouver, or anyone who wants to break away from the fast pace of the city and just relax together. It is also an educational experience in the process. Besides the wide variety of plants from all over the world, there is an impressive Korean pavilion that serves as the focal point for the collection of Asian plants on the grounds. There are also several stone sculptures and totem poles that accentuate various portions of the plot.
As much of a good time it is to simply walk through the park, the excitement of the VanDusen Botanical Garden Festival of Lights cannot be matched throughout the year. This beautiful winter festival includes more than 1.5 million Christmas lights and is held annually in December and early January. Thousands of visitors come fo the Vancouver botanical gardens to take in this amazing event, and it is one of the most popular annual events in the city. If you're planning a trip to British Columbia around the holiday season, be sure not to miss the enthralling VanDusen Botanical Garden Festival of Lights.
Image: Tourism Vancouver, VanDusen Garden