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  • Writer's picturePeter

Duke Gardens - Durham, NC

One of the most magical places to frolic in the Triangle is undoubtedly the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham. As I was remarking with another patron on our visit, the staff here have clearly put in hours of hard work and skill, but the beautiful oasis they have created just looks so effortless. Every nook and pathway offers a new area to make you “oo” and “ah.” Not to mention some serious gardening goals.

We spent most of our time in the Asiatic Arboretum, which was extensively worked on during the garden’s COVID closure, and the serenity cannot be understated. The garden is relatively big, though, so we’ll have to head back soon to explore more of its wonders.

Logistics & other fun info:

• The garden is free, but you have to pay for parking - $2 per hour. There is a physical meter, but there is also the PayByPhone parking app. Use the app if possible - it’s just so much easier.

• The garden is currently in Phase 2 of its COVID reopening plan. This means it is open daily at 8am, but they are allowing limited visitor capacity. Arrive early if possible!

• Bathrooms available, but the ones in the visitors center don’t open until 9.

• Not everything is paved in the garden, but it is possible to bring a stroller.

• The garden offers some shady spots, but there are also big open areas - sunblock, hats, & bug spray are good ideas.

• The garden is also a great area to bird, so bring your binoculars!

• On certain days, free kids activities, such as free colored pencils and clipboards to draw your garden observations, are available. Keep an eye out for a table with these things by the garden’s entrance.

Have you been to Duke Gardens? What is your favorite spot at this local gem? Let us know in the comments!

(Note: We're currently working on updating our website with our reviews. This review was originally posted on Instagram and Facebook on June 29, 2021.)

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