Botanic Garden

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Rio Grande Botanic Garden — Dayzone — Albuquerque

  Just a short walk across the courtyard from the Aquarium, you can take in the beauty of the Rio Grande Botanic Garden, which offers a symphony of color, texture, scent and sound for every visitor. Plants -- beautiful, fascinating, and fun -- are Earth's fundamental natural resource, without which we could not survive. The Garden's state-of-the-art glass conservatories filter heat-producing UV rays and flowers bloom year round -- with xeric species in the Desert Pavilion and aromatic species in the Mediterranean Pavilion.
  A trio of formal walled gardens salutes Old World design in fountains, tile, herbs and roses, while the whimsical Children's Fantasy Garden receives its fair share of visitors. Though the Garden is especially beautiful in the summer, every December, the entire place is transformed by a wonderful display of lights and animation called the "River of Lights," making it a popular family destination.

Obvious exits:
Parking Lot <PL>  

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The Desert Conservatory:
The Desert Conservatory is comprised of a geometrically formed sloped spaceframe, which expands the enclosed botanical garden area into almost 10,000 square feet of a climate-controlled environment. Various desert species are found within the pavilion, including yucca, sagebrush, desert willow trees, creosote, juniper bushes, and prickly pear cacti, to name just a few. A truly impressive display of cacti takes up the western section of the pavilion. These drought-tolerant plants have a wild, natural beauty; when they are in bloom, wild splashes of color enliven what might otherwise seem like a bleak xeric landscape. An interesting display on the various deserts of the world alerts the visitor to the fact that deserts are not always hot; some, such as the Asian Gobi desert, are cold.

The Mediterranean Conservatory:
The Mediterranean Conservatory is comprised of a geometrically formed sloped spaceframe, which expands the enclosed botanical garden area into almost 10,000 square feet of a climate-controlled environment. Various aromatic species of plants and trees are found within the pavilion, including Mexican hyssop, Flax lily, sedge, and aromatic shrubs such as lavender and rosemary. Trees in this biome include the coniferous (cedar and stone pine), deciduous (sweet chestnut, hornbeam, and beech) and evergreen (holm oak). A surprisingly large amount of plants that people associate with the Mediterranean are not native, such as olives, oranges, lemons, figs, pomegranates and bougainvillea. But many of these plants were introduced so many years ago that they have now become fully established in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean Conservatory offers all of these and more.

The Tropical Garden:
The Tropical Garden is a smaller pavilion, which nevertheless creates a climate-controlled environment for the plants within. The air is moist and humid, reminding the visitor that one has entered a tropical microcosm. The trees in this pavilion include teak and mountain ebony, as well as tropical evergreens such as eucalyptus and Indian banyan. Beautiful flowers create a fantastic display of shapes and colors, making this lush pavilion a horticulturist's favorite.

The Herb Garden:
This quaint walled garden is exquisitely decorated with tile, sculptures, and even a small fountain at the center. The theme of this garden is herbs -- and what a rich variety one finds here! From staples like rosemary, sage, thyme, mint, lavender, basil, and cilantro, to less familiar herbs such as angelica, ambrosia, and fennel, the garden blooms with color and scent almost all year round. A special display on medicinal herbs discusses the use of plants such as digitalis in modern medicine.

The Rose Garden:
Everything's coming up roses in this gorgeous walled garden. Beautiful bushes, perfect blooms, and a variety of color makes this garden an aesthetic delight. Bright red roses with curious names such as "Fisherman's Delight" and "Prospero" contrast with the deep-apricot orange of blooms known as "Leander" and the soft yellows of the "Topaz Jewel." Pink, yellow, white... it seems that hundreds of rose species are represented in this garden. Visitors can sit on any of the number of small stone benches scattered throughout in order to experience the full fragrant effect of the garden.

The Children's Fantasy Garden:
A large dragon sculpture greets visitors at the entrance of this whimsical garden, which is truly a delight for children of all ages. Visitors get a larger-than-life view of gardening and horticulture through the creatively conceived exhibits -- a huge rabbit hole where six-foot earthworms burrow through the walls, nine-foot high potted plants, an eleven-foot tall watering can, giant soil particles that illustrate the drainage properties of sand and clay, a gargantuan "nurse" tree complete with bird nest and kid-sized eggs, a seedling forest with enormous acorns and pinecones, a walk-through pumpkin 42 feet in diameter and two stories high, and a vegetable garden with potatoes, onions and carrots only Superman could lift.
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