A gray, cloudy day may not seem like the ideal time to visit the Garden, but you could be missing out on seeing our 87 acres in a whole new way. Cool days let us hike without getting too hot and the clouds add a little mystery to even the most familiar of plant collections and trails. And the way rain droplets land on the plants is breathtaking. No wonder “raindrops on roses” is listed in the song “My Favorite Things.” Here are five ways to best prepare for and experience a rainy day in the Garden.

1. Take Careful Steps – First and foremost, we want everyone to have an enjoyable time in the Garden, and that includes being safe. We are grateful for the water that the rain provides for our plants but it can also make the ground slippery, especially on the painted green line around Tram Road. Take careful steps, especially on the hills in the back 40 acres.

2. Go Puddle Jumping – While the rain can create some slightly slippery steps, it also provides some fun! The Garden is built on a sanitary landfill, so our ground is uneven allowing for some pretty awsome puddles. If you have kids or grandkids that want to go puddle jumping, the Garden is the place for you! 

3. Wear Correct Clothing – It’s rare that the Garden sees rain all-day-long, and often the rain leaves as quickly as it came. Wearing multiple layers that can be easily added or removed is best when exploring our 87 acres. And if you’re planning to partake in the puddle jumping or want to go off Tram Road, you’ll want to be sure to have hiking boots on, or at the very least, shoes you don’t mind getting a little muddy! Don’t let a poor choice of footwear damper your fun. And if you’re planning to stay awhile, bring an umbrella. 

4. Warm up at Dottie’s – There’s nothing like a cup of hot cocoa or coffee on a cold rainy day! Pair that with a walk in the Garden and you have a romantic date. If you’re here on the weekends come grab a warm bite to eat at Dottie’s, the Garden’s concession station, open Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dottie’s will have extended hours during the holidays as well as part of our Merry + Bright offering.

5. Hop On Our Accessibility Shuttle – If you’re interested in seeing Sean Kenney’s Nature POP!, produced by Imagine Exhibitions, but don’t want to deal with walking in the rain, you can hop on our Accessibility Shuttle which runs daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. While priority access goes to those with mobility issues, the lighter crowds on rainy days will likely mean you can hop aboard with no issues.

6. Bring a Camera – Whether you’re a professional photographer, amateaur, or just want a photo for your Instagram, the gray skies really make Nature POP!’s colorful sculptures pop in photos. And the raindrop laden flowers and plants truly sparkle and are a photographer’s dream!  

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