Designed by two of America’s foremost landscape architects to pay tribute to America’s first English colonists, The Elizabethan Gardens is a rare treasure and a beloved Outer Banks attraction. It’s a haven of verdant, flourishing growth and natural prosperity. The gardens are in bloom year round with azaleas, dogwoods, roses, camellias, daphne, a variety of annuals and herbs and much more. Adding exquisite touches are ancient stone fountains, garden ornaments, a waterfront gazebo, benches, statues, an expansive lawn and some of the most amazing live oaks you’ll ever see. The large shade canopy overhead provides a cool oasis even on the sunniest summer day. The Garden Gift Shoppe sells books, gifts, herbs and plants. This is a trusted plant source for many locals, as the garden staff nurtures their plants with great care.
New at The Elizabethan Gardens is the John White Butterfly Center. Guests are welcome to walk through the indoor greenhouse, which houses butterflies from May through September. The gardens also has many new family-friendly aspects, including The Discovery Cottage, an indoor classroom where summer programs are held, as well as an outdoor play area for kids. The play area offers a large play ship that is reminiscent of the ship that carried the colonists to the New World, swings, slides, Elizabethan-style playhouses with living roofs, educational signage, a koi pond, sand pits, a fossil pit, outdoor picnic tables and room to run.
The Elizabethan Gardens offers outstanding events almost all year round such as art classes, plant sales, gardening workshops, kids’ outdoor-oriented classes and summer programs. The Gardens’ Easter Eggstravaganza (April), Woofstock (May), Butterfly Festival (May 2020), Virginia Dare’s Birthday Celebration (August), Harvest Hayday (near Halloween) and WinterLights (December and January) festivities are great fun.
The gardens open at 9 a.m. seven days a week throughout most of the year and at 10 a.m. in December and January. The gardens are closed to the public in February for maintenance. Closing time varies according to the season. Admission is $9 for adults, $6 for youth ages 6 to 17 and $2 for children age 5 and younger, plus tax. Dogs are admitted for $3, but service dogs get in free. Admission for groups of 20 or more is at a reduced rate of $8 per person with advance notice.
The gardens make a beautiful setting for bridal luncheons, weddings and receptions. Choose from a variety of backdrops for an unforgettable day. The gardens are also perfect for organizational retreats or group meetings. An on-site Reception Hall, tent and Rose Garden accommodate parties large and small. Call for more information.
The Elizabethan Gardens offers these fun, kid-friendly events on weekdays from late June through mid-August.
Backyard Birds: Learn more about the birds in your own backyard. Here you'll learn how to draw birds, and you'll create a snack to take home and feed to your feathered friends. After the program, you embark on a scavenger hunt around the gardens for a prize reward. This event is limited to 20 participants and is indoors and outdoors. It's held on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is free with admission.
Fun with Frogs: Discover the life cycle of frogs in this program. A snack is provided, then it's off on a fun scavenger hunt in the gardens with a prize reward! This program is indoors and outdoors, weather permitting, on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is free with admission.
Butterflies: Learn all about the life of those beautiful butterflies you see dancing in the wind. After the program and a snack, you set off on a scavenger hunt all around the gardens, and there's even a prize for the winner. This fun event is free with regular admission and runs each Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Helpful Bugs: Learn about the beneficial insects in the gardens. This program is held on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. and is free with admission.
Self-Guided Tours: Take a tour at your leisure, anytime during regular hours of operation year round.
For more information on general admission, tickets or any of these individual events, call (252) 473-3234 or visit www.elizabethangardens.org.