Fun & Funky Garden Tours Kids Will Love

Chelsea Flower Show 2011With the Chelsea Flower Show just wrapping up in London, flowers have been on my mind -- especially the one named after Helen Mirren, which must look great in a bikini. It seems there’s a new trend in travel called “Garden Tourism,” where people plan their vacations around flower shows and famous outdoor destinations.
On the one hand, this sounds like the kind of thing my mom would decide was fun and drag us kids to, and we’d intone, “Ohhh, a flower. Oh, another flower. Oh, another flower,” 'til she grabbed us by the scruffs of our necks and threw us back into the car, resolving aloud never to try anything creative ever, ever again.
On the other hand, it seems cities are changing the nature of these kinds of attractions so they’re more about eco-tourism, loving nature, and learning more about ecology, which sort of brings into question the wisdom of taking a plane to see one, but ... anyway.


Garden tourism is a great way for cities to double-dip their spending dollars -- essentially, they’re making their own green spaces work for them. And if tourists respond to a call to come view the tulips (Skagit, Washington), apple blossoms (Winchester, Virginia), and autumn foliage (Warner, New Hampshire), they’re bound to spend money on food, hotels, and kooky hats.
Is this fun with kids, though? It can be. A historic home in Manchester, England has a full-on petting zoo with a “piggery,” three “lovely donkeys,” and Rosie the Red Poll, who is apparently a cow. I want to go to there. Other garden destinations feature mazes, butterfly rooms, and cute theme-gardens.  

As a way to get off your butt after a long car or plane ride, a garden tour seems like a novel idea. And it’s the kind of thing you can do on a staycation, too: Now that I think of it, I’ve only seen the corners of Golden Gate Park that feature slides or museums.
Would you pick a vacation based on a flower show or really cool garden?

Image via WolfieWolf/Flickr

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