What we like: This is a great place to explore. Toddlers can just be set free and will find endless things to look at and explore. There's also lots of great places for them to just run around. One of my toddler's favorite parts is the duck pond. He loves to get up close to the water and watch the ducks and geese as well as run back and forth over the bridge. Food is available for duck feeding in the cafe and shop next to the terraces of flowers and gazebo. The gardens are also a great place for a nice weather picnic with your toddler.
What we would change: It's definitely a hard choice when deciding whether or not to bring a stroller to the gardens for your toddler. While the gardens are very large and the stroller is necessary for getting from one part of the gardens to the other there are also parts of the gardens that are only accessible by stairs which makes a stroller unwieldy and difficult to handle. It's especially difficult to find a stroller accessible way to get over to the chapel area of campus from the gardens, but it is possible. I found myself bringing a stroller, but parking it and leaving it while I went off to wander certain places with my child.
Website and Directions: The Duke Gardens are located off of Anderson St. on the edge of Duke's West Campus. You do have to pay for parking in their lot, but there are plenty of spaces on all but the busiest days.
Sarah P. Duke Gardens
426 Anderson Street
Durham, NC 27708-0341
Phone number: 919-684-3698Website: http://www.hr.duke.edu/dukegardens/
Photos: (Here are a few shots, but the pictures really don't do the gardens justice, especially when everything is in bloom.)
1. The entrance to the gardens when walking over from campus
2. A view of the pond and bridge
3. A lone heron poses next to the pond