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Good For Kids
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The lake is the main feature on the property, and there are some benches nearby.
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens
Closest available address
9750 Meadowlark Gardens Court Vienna, Virginia 22182
Hours vary by season, generally 10-5 and longer in summer.
Best time to visit
Meadowlark Botanical Gardens is a 95 acre garden/park which opened in 1987 and is owned by a regional park authority. While the gardens include a variety of ornamental and native plans, the expansive lawns, hilly terrain and several tranquil lakes are more notable. Also distinctive is the new Korean Bell Garden, which includes native Korean plants and several structures designed by Korean craftsmen. The gardens are a popular place for weddings and also host a summer camp.
The gardens were originally a family farm established in 1935 when northern Virginia still had a rural character. By the 1970s, the farm had become something of a relic, a rustic refuge set adrift in a sea of subdivisions. It was generously donated to the parks authority in 1980 and a neighboring 21 acre property was then added. The gardens were developed with the planting of numerous plants and trees. Additional improvements included several lakes and a visitor center.
A visit here in April worked fairly well as the temperature was reasonable, bugs were minimal and privacy was good. Since it was early in the season, flowering trees and plants were limited. Plants were identified with signs but detailed information about plant biology was lacking. Most of the trails are paved, and it was easy to get around. However, there are hills in places so keep that in mind if you have mobility issues. The main attraction was Lake Caroline, which has a tranquil gazebo and beautiful setting. The lake also was teaming with fish and turtles, something sure to delight any child or child at heart. The Korean Bell Garden was installed in 2010 and the landscaping was still in progress during the visit in 2011. The bell tower's detailed artwork was interesting to view. Annual winter light decorations were introduced here in 2012. While plant insights were lacking, as a place for an outdoor family outing, a date or just a solo walk, Meadowlark passed with flying colors if not colorful flowers.
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