Brookside Gardens Is Enchanting Year Round With Or Without Kids

brookside gardens

Brookside Gardens in Montgomery County, MD is a gorgeous, peaceful retreat from the urban busyness. Families with kids will love all the open space to run, the animals, and other fun and beautiful areas to explore!

You wouldn’t think it possible given the urban sprawl of the surrounding area, but one right turn off of a busy highway in Wheaton, MD lands you in a sprawling oasis of natural beauty, peace, and yes.. calm.

Brookside Gardens in Montgomery County is a 50-acre public display garden that is beautiful year-round. There are plenty of walking paths, gorgeous flowers, and a few other treats that your kids will absolutely delight in.

A visit to Brookside Gardens is always a great way to unwind and let your kids spread their wings (literally). Here are some of our favorite reasons to keep coming back every year!

Related: Where to see tulips in Maryland and DC!

Springtime at Brookside Gardens!

Would you like to know our favorite time to plan a day trip to Brookside Gardens? Yep— as soon as those tulips start blooming we try and plan a morning visit. Brookside Gardens is amazingly beautiful in the Spring and the tulips are the biggest reason why. (Sorry I am biased. I am in love with tulips)

There are multiple areas where tulips beds are overflowing with gorgeous happy flowers, arranged in such a way that your eyes will feast on purples, whites, pinks, reds, yellows, oranges, and a delightful mixture of all the colors with each other!

brookside gardens

Can’t you see why visiting these tulips would make you want to jump into the warmth of spring immediately?

tulips in maryland

Of course, Spring at Brookside Gardens is not all about the tulips. In early Spring, Brookside Gardens has lovely cherry blossoms and other blossoming trees. Also, in late April through late May Brookside Gardens boasts an absolutely breathtaking Azalea Garden walk.

Related: Best Places in Maryland to see Azaleas

azaleas at brookside gardens

And the wisteria is completely enchanting as well!

wisteria at brookside gardens

Wouldn’t you love to read a book or have a lovely afternoon escape here? Maybe a little less relaxing with kids (yes, a joke)– but still a feast for the eyes!

wisteria at brookside gardens

And the blue bells are so pretty too!

brookside gardens

Gude Garden Pond

The main grounds of Brookside Gardens are so lovely to walk any time of the year. The paths in the Gude Garden area are wide, largely flat (so great for little legs and strollers). and generally wind around the gorgeous pond which acts as a backdrop for the Japanese Tea House.

brookside gardens

There are numerous picturesque bridges to walk over, benches to sit and take it all in (or give your kids a snack), open space for running, and great tall trees flanking this part of the gardens.

brookside gardens

Related: 100 Best Things to Do in Maryland with Kids!

Kids will have a blast checking out the wildlife!

In the Gude Garden area there are actually a few unique wildlife viewing opportunities. There is actually an abundance of turtles, toads, and geese.

My daughter loves getting close to the turtles and toads in particular. Seriously.. we got close enough to the toads to figure out which ones were croaking and then watch them croak. The turtles were very close to the edge of the pond too.

brookside gardens turtles

The geese? Well, there are all around the pond as well… but we have had mixed experiences with them. One time the geese were happy to let us leave them alone. Another time though– they practically attacked us.

We literally had to run away from them. I bet the Mommy Goose was protecting her goslings.. at least that is what I am telling myself. I don’t think we are particularly scary. Ha!

Wings of Fancy Butterfly Live Butterfly and Caterpillar Exhibit

Every year from mid-April through mid-September Brookside Gardens hosts a fantastic live butterfly event, called Wings of Fancy, in the South Conservatory. Note: This exhibit closed because of COVID, but I am super hopeful it will be back in 2023!

brookside gardens butterflies

Your kids will absolutely love this butterfly exhibit as they will get a chance to see caterpillars at various stages of development, as well as hundreds of gorgeous butterflies from origins all of the world.

brookside gardens

You can actually get super close to both the butterflies and the caterpillar larvae, which is great for teaching the life cycle to kids.

brookside gardens caterprillar

Related: The U.S. National Arboretum is another great place to see flowers!

The Children’s Garden

What’s not to love? It is set up like an outdoor classroom, with a few desks and a free lending library mixed in with the flower beds. A favorite with kids is the mock one-room schoolhouse.

brookside gardens children's garden

Class is in session!

brookside gardens children's garden

Garden of Lights and the Garden Railway Exhibit are holiday favorites for families!

garden in lights

One of the best outdoor holiday lights displays in the greater DC area is at Brookside Gardens. Not only are visitors delighted by the gorgeous lights that cover most of the grounds, but there is a great train garden in the conservatory, as well as seasonal music.

Related: Check out these Christmas lights displays in the DMV!

garden in lights

What’s Nearby?

Brookside Gardens is absolutely lovely but if you are visiting with kids, don’t miss your chance to make a fantastic day trip out of it! Wheaton Regional Park literally connects to the gardens (there is a walking path). The Brookside Nature Center is connected to the Gardens as well.

Related: Best Playgrounds in Maryland (sorted by location!)

wheaton regional park

Know Before You Go

  • Brookside Gardens is open year round from sunrise to sunset. Various buildings and special events have different hours so check the website.
  • Admission to the grounds is free unless there is a special event. The main special events with admission costs are the Live Butterfly Exhibit and Gardens of Light.
  • Here is a google map link to the gardens:

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