Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I’ve visited the Cape Fear Botanical Garden two times–my impression the first time, what little I saw of it, was that of not worth returning. Yes, yes, I know I’m often quoted saying I’ve never met a garden I didn’t like, but my first impression with this one was of so-so-ness. It was January, and I was rushing home from speaking engagement in Fayetteville, North Carolina. I’m guessing it was 2009, maybe 2010. At the time, the botanical garden entrance was through a (scruffy) pine area. Apologies all around. I didn’t get very far into the gardens before I said, I really don’t have time for this right now.
On one hand, I’m sad to even admit this, on the other, I’m glad it happened.
My editor at Triangle Gardener gave me the assignment to write about Cape Fear Botanical Garden. I felt that I better go have a proper look before I warmed up my Mac. And boy howdy am I glad I went.
Cape Fear Botanical Garden is well worth a visit. @Helen Yoest Click to Tweet!
First off, it was the beginning of fall, when the South sings a colorful tune in flowers, but they had also completed a new visitors center (The Wyatt Visitors Pavilion Complex) two years earlier. The entrance took my breath away. I must have taken 30 photos even before entering. As I was checking in, I quizzed the staff member to make sure I was in the right place. He assured me I was, and that a lot had changed with the new entrance.
Gardens were designed to open wide from the veranda. I took it all in. The gardens were peaking in all their fall glory. There is a beautiful arbor leading into the cultivated gardens towards a fountain and shade garden. The gardens were comfortably toured within two hours, with a lot of time spent gawking at some monarch larvae I found.
Good vistas were designed in these gardens. I left with about 300 photos. Fall is a fabulous time to go. But now that I know about the new look, I’m going to visit in all seasons.
Cape Fear Botanical Garden is located on seventy-eight acres nestled between the Cape Fear River and Cross Creek just two miles from downtown Fayetteville. That became important because while I was buying Christmas presents at the gift shop, I asked for a recommendation to a local garden center. I was told about two. Driving to the first destination, Bell’s Seed Store,I passed through the cutest downtown area. I passed up on eating for shopping, so I didn’t stop for lunch, but I do plan to the next time I visit. (The other garden center was Green Side Up Garden & Gifts; I’ll be returning to both!)
I’ve told many of my girlfriends from the JC Raulston Arboretum about my visit, and as promised, I’m posting this as are reminder that we should go. It would make a great day trip–visiting the botanical gardens, having lunch downtown, and doing a little garden center shopping. It doesn’t get much better than that!
In case you go, here’s more information:
536 N. Eastern Blvd.
Fayetteville, NC 28301
Listed as a Certified Cumberland County Field Trip destination, Cape Fear Botanical Garden offers group tours for all ages, Monday through Friday.
Adult Group Tours fees:
$10 per adult, includes tour and Garden admission.
$15 per adult, includes tour, Garden Program and admission.
Additional fees for golf carts.
Student Group Tours fees:
$5 per student, includes tour and Garden admission.
$8 per student, includes tour, hands-on science program, and admission.
Teachers and chaperones free.
Hours of Operation:
Mon. through Sat.: 10a.m. – 5p.m. Sun.: 12p.m. – 5p.m.
Hours may change during holidays and inclement weather. We offer extended hours for groups by special arrangement.
The Garden is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Years Day.
Cape Fear Botanical Garden is an outdoor garden and forest linked by a few miles of trails. There is a paved loop around our main lake that features two new signature gardens. Most of our trails are packed earth surfaced with gravel or mulch. The trails (except the River Trail) are accessible by a normal wheelchair with an able-bodied pusher who can negotiate the occasional root or rut.
The Wyatt Visitors Pavilion Complex is fully accessible and ADA compliant. Cape Fear Botanical Garden strives to provide accessibility to all visitors to the best of our abilities and encourage those with special needs to contact us in advance by telephone or e-mail. For visitors with disabilities, the Garden offers golf cart guided tours. A reservation with 48-hour advance notice is required. Please call (910) 486-0221 for more information.
The Garden Gift Shop in the Wyatt Visitors Pavilion Complex offers a unique selection of garden and nature related items for shoppers of all ages in a beautiful atmosphere. Handcrafted wares from area artisans, locally sourced foods, artwork, books, jewelry and toys are some of the items you’ll discover. Garden members enjoy a 10% discount on gift shop purchases. Admission to the Gift Shop is free for Garden visitors and the public.
Gift Shop Hours:
Monday through Saturday: 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. – 5 p.m.
The Garden Cafe’ in the Entry Pavilion of the Wyatt Visitors Pavilion Complex is the perfect place to combine a delicious meal with beautiful views of the Garden. New Deli, the caterer, specializes in making sandwiches, salads, baked items, and delicious desserts. Indoor and outdoor seating is available. Garden admission is not required to dine from the Garden Cafe’.
Garden Cafe Hours:
Monday – Saturday: 11.a.m. – 2p.m.
Sunday: 12p.m. – 2p.m.
Outside food may not be brought into the Garden.
Click here to access membership information, or you may join at your next visit.
See the Corporate Sponsorship page for more information.
Volunteers assist us in garden programs, activities and daily operations. Please visit the Garden or click here to learn more about the volunteer program.
The Cape Fear Botanical Garden produces several major public events during the year as well as numerous workshops, programs and activities. Please consult our calendar for specific dates.
Cape Fear Botanical Garden grounds and facilities provide a convenient and attractive setting for weddings, meetings and other activities. See our facility rental page for complete information. We offer extended hours for facility rental groups by special arrangement.
Safety and health concerns prohibit bicycles, firearms, pets, smoking and vehicles in the Garden.
Outside food is prohibited in the Garden.
Butterfly and bird releases are prohibited in the Garden.