Celebrate National Public Gardens Day!

Celebrate Mother Nature every May.
Learn about desert plants from around the world on the Desert Discovery Loop Trail at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

Learn about desert plants from around the world on the Desert Discovery Loop Trail at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

Learn about desert plants from around the world on the Desert Discovery Loop Trail at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

Photo by: Image courtesy of the Desert Botanical Garden

Image courtesy of the Desert Botanical Garden

Learn about desert plants from around the world on the Desert Discovery Loop Trail at Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

Everyone knows to honor your mother in May, but you may not know that the Friday before Mother's Day is a chance to support Mother Nature! Celebrate National Public Gardens Day with free admission to more than 500 botanical gardens, arboreta, museums and zoos, plus special events, tours and festivals. Check out this website to find a participating public garden near you.

“Public gardens are treasures of the communities they serve,” sys Casey Sclar, executive director of the American Public Gardens Association, one of the event sponsors. “Whether the gardens are in urban centers or in rural communities, they not only provide recreation and beauty, but are also indispensable resources in education, the environment and culture. It is important to take time at least once a year and pay tribute to these pillars of the community and educate the public about the importance of plant and water conservation.”

Not that you need a reason to get outside in gorgeous spring weather, but here are just a few suggestions for living museums in your area.

Desert Botanical Garden

One of a few botanical gardens accredited by the American Association of Museums. dbg.org

Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Head to the MLA at the University of Minnesota, for an always interesting mix of activities and events. arboretum.umn.edu

Idaho Botanical Garden

Explore the Lewis and Clark Native Plant Garden and all the other fabulous features of the IBG. idahobotanicalgarden.org

Lurie Garden

Take a guided tour of this urban oasis in Chicago's Millennium Park and learn all about the design, history, flora and fauna. luriegarden.org

Cheekwood Botanical Garden

This 55-acre botanical garden and art museum on the historic Cheek estate in Nashville offers exciting programming and garden-centric activities. cheekwood.org