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Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham

North Carolina
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Sarah P. Duke Gardens, Durham, North Carolina NC


Sarah P. Duke Gardens is a world-class 55-acre garden with lakeside allees, flower terraces, and a small Japanese garden. The most famous part of the gardens are the flowerbed terraces, where an exuberant mix of tulips and other spring flowers delight visitors in early April. From here you can walk little hidden winding paths under forest trees past lovely little flowers such as bluebells. Along the pond or lake there are allees, and it's a delight to see the shimmering water through the trees and shrubs. In spring it is beautiful, with flowering bushes around every turn. A zigzag boardwalk leads over the water here, and there is a section of shoreline rocks where kids love to play and watch the herons. This little spot reminds me of Central Park in New York. As does the circle with the grand sculpture surrounded by roses.
Kids like to sit by the small waterfalls in the Japanese garden and run over the curved red bridge, in the northwest corner of the garden. There is a large bowl-shaped lawn in the south end of the gardens where weekend pleasure-seekers lay in the grass or play frisbee with friends. Other quieter types find little hidden spots under trees for picnics. In spring the gardens can get very crowded on weekends so come early. 
At the visitor center there is a formal garden and gift shop. For lunch you can eat a catered sandwich in the cute brick Terrace House.
It is free to enter the gardens but you must pay for parking which can be a big problem on weekends when there is a huge line in the hot sun at the incredibly slow parking pay machines and half of the machines are broken. Why do they offer free admission but then ruin your visit just to get $4 out of you for parking? This is a real shame.
After, walk to Duke Chapel and check out the historic buildings on Duke Campus. You could also drive to a hip coffee shop in Durham town. Cocoa Cinnamon (the one of Hillsborough Rd is the closest) is four minutes away! Guglhupf Bakery and Cafe on Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd is six minutes away.
Duke University is named after Washington Duke, tobacco tycoon. He gave large donations to make the university a success, as did his sons James and Benjamin. Sarah P. Duke Gardens is named after Benjamin's wife. 
For another excellent garden in the Research Triangle, check out the gorgeous large flowers in JC Raulston Arboretum. Another favorite of mine is the WRAL Azalea Garden in spring.



Sarah P. Duke Gardens is located at 420 Anderson St, Durham, NC 27708.
Entrance is free but you must pay for parking, $2 per hour, at the credit card pay machines. This is fine except on weekends when there's a huge line in the hot sun at the incredibly slow machines. Half of the machines are broken, making the line even longer. Come as early as you can on weekends and be ready for an unpleasant beginning to your visit.
You must know your license plate number to pay at the machine.

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Overall Visitor Rating: Unrated.

Last Updated Fri, 01 Jun 2018 16:29:52 GMT