BOOTHBAY, Maine — From Saturday through Monday, May 24-26, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens will open its doors to Maine residents at no charge. To receive free admission, adults simply need to show a Maine state ID or driver’s license. This Memorial Day weekend benefit is thanks to a generous gift from the Acorn Foundation.
During Maine Days, thousands of plants will be in bloom in the ornamental gardens surrounding the Visitor Center. Among them, spring bulbs – more than 24,000 in all – will still be vibrant; hundreds of flowering shrubs in the Giles Rhododendron Garden will be at their peak; and swaths of pink lady’s slippers will be starting their annual display.
The dynamic relationship between many flowering plants and their animal pollinators is the subject of this year’s new interpretive theme – Pollinators! A wide array of activities, events, and exhibits are scheduled throughout the 2014 season.
Guests can explore miles of waterfront and woodland trails across the 270-acre grounds. Fountains and waterfalls will also delight guests during their journey through this coastal destination. Dramatic outdoor sculpture and striking stonework are the perfect complement to flowers and forest.
To add to the experience, and because it’s easy to work up a good appetite at the Gardens, the Kitchen Garden Café in the Visitor Center is open from 10-3 with delicious soups, sandwiches, snacks, and dessert, served both indoors and from the new express walk-up window. In addition, the spacious Gardens Gift Shop is full of new merchandise and returning favorites; there’s something for just about everyone.
Saturday and Sunday, May 24 and 25, are the dates for the annual plant sale at the Gardens. From 9-4 each day (members only on Saturday morning), robust specimens of an amazing variety of plants will be available.
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens offers surprises around every turn, for like every exceptional garden, this one keeps growing – and getting more beautiful and more interesting with every year. Gardens hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, year ’round. Regular admission prices will be $14 for adults, $12 for seniors (65+), and $6 for children 3-17. Admission is always free for members and children under 3.
Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, opened to the public in 2007 and rapidly became a much-appreciated attraction and educational resource for all ages in all seasons. It’s one of a very few attractions in Maine to receive the AAA’s “Gem” distinction and in 2013 was ranked the #1 public garden by TripAdvisor. The number of visitors has increased each year, with roughly 100,000 welcomed in 2013.
The Gardens is located at 132 Botanical Gardens Drive, off Barters Island Road, just over a mile from Route 27 and the Boothbay common. For more information and directions, call 207-633-4333, ext. 101, or visit www.MaineGardens.org.