Visiting the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens immediately elicits a sense of peace and serenity, not often found in today’s society. Come alone or bring friends and family and enjoy nature as it was meant to be enjoyed. Originally opened to the public in 2007, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens was dreamed up by a group of local residents who wanted to display local flora.
The gardens now sit on 295 acres and welcome over 100,000 guests yearly. The gardens are always looking to expand and spread their message as well, recently creating a 20-year plan for their growth and continued success. They also recently expanded their website to include a “flora finder,” an area where guests can plan tours based on what is in season.
There are many different exhibition areas at the botanical gardens. Each one is unique and interesting in its own way.
Sculpture - Built by local and regional artists, the art garden features many permanent sculptures for visitors to see as they wander through the gardens. “Alert Wolf” and “Stalking Wolf,” both by Wendy Klemperer are some of the favorites, both made from creatures made from steel. Andreas Von Huene’s “Alexander’s Threshold” is a beautiful granite piece, allowing guests to walk directly through it. The carved stone “Basin” by David Holmes is a centerpiece of the meditation portion of the garden and should not be missed as well.
Great Lawn/Founders Grove - The largest area of the botanical gardens, with a wide variety of annuals and perennials (like Snapdragons, Johnny jump-ups, and Lupines)
Meditation Garden - With granite local to Maine, the Vayo garden is a great place to sit and exist in the moment, either alone or with friends and family.
Kitchen Garden - The garden where the on grounds cafe is located, featuring not only flowers but also fruits and vegetables in use in the cafe, the “kitchen” garden lives up to its name in both beauty and usefulness.
Rhododendron Garden - Featuring a stunning multi-level waterfall, this garden is one of the highlights of the grounds. Sit in front of it and take in its natural beauty and enjoy the rhododendrons surrounding it. It is a place of perfect peacefulness and serenity and should not be missed by visitors.
Children’s Garden - The newest addition to the botanical gardens, the children’s garden allows families of all ages and sizes to enjoy the garden together. Specifically designed with children in mind, this garden is a great new addition to an already diverse botanical garden.
There also are many seasonal exhibits, depending on what is in bloom at the botanical garden at any given time. Favorite features and creatures has always been a favorite, as well as the everyday gardener and multiple fruit and vegetable studies held in the kitchen garden. For those brave enough, there are also winter exhibits and programs. Dress warmly, as winter in Maine is no joking matter!
There are three different options for field trips at the botanical gardens.
The first is an intensive study field trip, which works well when working with a specific curriculum. Activities for both before and after the visit are available through the garden so that teachers can connect their students with learning in an outside of the classroom environment. The price is per class, up to 25 students, and does not include admission.
The second option is a walking tour of the gardens. Led by a botanical garden guide and lasting just over an hour, on average, this tour is good for students of any age. Costs is also per class, up to 25 students, not including admission. Self-guided options are available as well.
Field studies comprise the last category. Working in a few different categories - plant life or decomposers - teachers can introduce their students through hands-on experiences.
Dining and Shopping
Dining can be found on site at the Kitchen Garden Cafe. Featuring fresh food, much of it grown in the kitchen garden, this cafe offers a seasonal menu as well as packaged snacks and drinks. Grab a sandwich, panini, salad or enjoy a delicious dessert.
There is also a gift shop. The Gardens Gift Shop is the perfect place to pick up a unique souvenir, like handmade jewelry, scarves, home gardening accessories and more. Pick up a cookbook to learn how to prepare some of the produce grown in the gardens as well.
Coastal Main Botanical Gardens, 132 Botanical Gardens Drive, Boothbay, ME, 04537, website, Phone: 207-633-8000
More Maine things to do