Visiting the Norfolk Botanical Garden: Hours, Admission, and Tips

As one of the largest botanical gardens in the United States, the Norfolk Botanical Garden is a must-see attraction when visiting coastal Virginia. Spanning 175 beautiful acres, this National Historic Landmark features over 60 themed gardens showcasing exotic plants from around the world.

With so much natural beauty to take in, you’ll want to plan your visit carefully to make the most of your time. Here we’ll cover everything you need to know about the Norfolk Botanical Garden’s hours, admission prices, events, and more to help you plan your trip.

Norfolk Botanical Garden Hours

The Norfolk Botanical Garden is open year-round, with hours that vary by season:

  • November – February: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM daily
  • March – October: 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM daily

During the spring and summer months, the gardens are open late on Wednesday and Saturday evenings until 9:00 PM. This allows visitors to experience the gardens at night when they are illuminated with breathtaking lights.

The gardens are only closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day each year. It’s always a good idea to check the garden’s website or call ahead to confirm hours if you are planning to visit on a major holiday.

norfolk botanical gardens hours

Seasonal Variations

As a living museum, the Norfolk Botanical Garden offers different sights to see in each season:

  • Spring – The gardens burst into color with azaleas, bulbs, flowering trees, and wildflowers blooming.
  • Summer – Vibrant tropical plants from the Dominican Republic and other regions thrive in the summer heat.
  • Fall – Trees and shrubs put on a stunning display of autumn foliage colors.
  • Winter – Evergreens, conifers, and bark displays add winter interest after the leaves have fallen.

Best Times to Visit

When planning your visit, keep in mind that some times of day and year are better than others due to crowds and seasonal highlights.

Avoiding Crowds

As a popular tourist attraction, the Norfolk Botanical Garden can become quite crowded, especially on weekends and holidays during warmer months. Here are some tips to avoid peak crowds:

  • Visit early in the morning right when the gardens open at 9 or 10 AM.
  • Come on weekdays if possible, when most visitors are at work or school.
  • Arrive in the evening shortly before the gardens close.
  • Visit in winter and early spring when tourism numbers are lower.

Seasonal Highlights

Be sure to time your visit to catch the gardens at their seasonal best:

  • April – See spectacular displays of azaleas, dogwoods, and other spring blooms.
  • June – Irises and roses hit peak bloom in early summer.
  • July – The summer annuals and tropical plants are in full color.
  • October – The foliage changes to vibrant fall colors.
  • December – Holiday lights and poinsettia displays create seasonal magic.

Admission Prices

Norfolk Botanical Garden offers several admission options:

Regular Pricing

  • Adults – $18
  • Seniors (55+) – $15
  • Military – $15
  • Children (3-17) – $11
  • Children 2 & under – Free

Special Events

Certain events, concerts, exhibits, and seasonal festivals have special ticketing. For example, Holiday Lights tickets are $14 for adults and $10 for children in December. Check the garden’s event calendar for details on special event pricing.

Tickets and Entry

Understanding the process for purchasing tickets and entering the gardens will make your visit smooth.

Buying Tickets

You have several options to purchase Norfolk Botanical Garden tickets:

  • Buy online in advance on the garden’s website.
  • Purchase tickets at the main entrance when you arrive.
  • Consider a membership for free year-round admission.

Entering the Gardens

Your printed or digital ticket will be scanned at the main entrance. Be sure to grab a visitor map here to help plan your visit. Then you’re free to explore the gardens at your own pace until closing time.

Events and Exhibits

In addition to the permanent gardens and plant displays, Norfolk Botanical Garden hosts special rotating events and exhibits.

Seasonal Festivals

Popular yearly festivals include:

  • April – Spring Plant Sale
  • October – Chrysanthemum Show & Fall Plant Sale
  • November-December – Holiday Lights

Concerts and Performances

The garden hosts concerts throughout spring and summer, from classical to rock to jazz. Venues include an outdoor stage and indoor auditorium.

Art Exhibits

You can admire sculpture, photography, and botanical art highlights as you explore the gardens. Exhibits change seasonally.

Facilities and Amenities

Norfolk Botanical Garden offers several facilities and amenities to enhance your visit.

Gardens and Greenhouses

From formal rose gardens to wildflower meadows, there is immense diversity across the landscape. The indoor conservatory features tropical and desert species.

Food and Shopping

Stop by the Garden Cafe for a meal or snack, and browse the gift shops for souvenirs and gardening items.


Most areas are wheelchair and stroller accessible on paved and boardwalk paths. Tram service can provide transportation assistance.

Weather Considerations

Virginia’s varied weather will impact what you see and do at the Norfolk Botanical Garden.

Planning Your Visit

Check the forecast before your visit. Spring rains bring blooms, while midsummer heat shows off tropical plants. In winter, the garden sparkles after a fresh snow.

What to Bring

Dress in layers for changing temperatures. Bring sunscreen and hats for sun protection and jackets or umbrellas if rain is expected.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about visiting the Norfolk Botanical Garden:

  • Where is Norfolk Botanical Garden located? It is located at 6700 Azalea Garden Rd, Norfolk, VA 23518.
  • Is parking available? Yes, free parking is provided for all visitors.
  • Is the garden wheelchair/stroller accessible? Yes, most paths are accessible with paved and boardwalk options.
  • Can I bring my pet? No pets are allowed, except service animals.
  • Are food and drinks allowed? Yes, picnic meals are permitted at the gardens.

To make the most of your time exploring these world-class gardens, keep these tips in mind:

  • Arrive early to avoid crowds and see more.
  • Stop at the visitor center to grab a map and get oriented.
  • Give yourself 2-3 hours to see the highlights at a relaxed pace.
  • Bring a camera to capture the natural beauty.
  • Wear comfy shoes since you’ll be walking several miles.
  • Refuel at the cafe or bring a picnic.
  • Don’t miss the Children’s Garden full of interactive fun.

The Norfolk Botanical Garden has a lot to offer. Use this guide to plan your visit during the best hours and seasons!

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