The ABQ Biopark Botanic Garden is a 36-acre (15 ha) botanical garden located located at 2601 Central Avenue NW in Albuquerque, New Mexico, beside the Rio Grande.The garden showcases plants of the Southwest and other arid climates, and includes a 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) conservatory, formal themed gardens, and a demonstration garden.
One wing of the glass conservatory houses colorful plants native to Mediterranean climates zones of Spain, Portugal, Turkey, South Africa, Australia, Chile and California. A second wing features xeric plants from North American deserts. Paths behind the conservatories allow visitors to experience New Mexico Habitats, including desert, grasslands, lava flows and sandhills. Medicinal plants are highlighted in El Jardin de la Curandera.
Children and adults alike love to visit the miniature trains and villages of Railroad Hill and the gigantic vegetables and insects of the Children's Fantasy Garden. From mid-May through September, the PNM Butterfly Pavilion offers visitors an intimate experience with hundreds of colorful North American butterflies.
The Heritage Farm represents farm life along the Rio Grande in the 1920's and 1930's and Colores offers delights in every season with blossoms, seed pods and interesting foliage. Opened in the fall of 2007, Sasebo Japanese Garden features a 16-foot waterfall that tumbles into a large pond, which is surrounded by winding paths that reveal beautiful views and interesting plant combinations.
Spanish-Moorish Courtyard and Walled Gardens:These outdoor gardens, located just inside the entrance, contains a Spanish-Moorish themed garden displaying aromatic plants such as rosemary, Spanish lavender, fig and pomegranate trees; a small, round garden with a raised bed of cultivated roses called the Jardin Redondo; and the Ceremonial Rose Garden which contains a scenic trellis covered with wisteria and rambling roses.
Mediterranean Conservatory:This large greenhouse displays a variety of plants native to coastal areas with hot dry summers and mild rainy winters, such as the Mediterranean, the California coast, southwestern Australia, South Africa and coastal Chile. rockroses, bottlebrush trees, olive trees, myrtles, oleanders and numerous mints and sages are displayed here.
This conservatory is also the locale for several flower shows, including Winter Fire Colors, Bulbs in Bloom and the Orchid Show. In 2009, an exhibit on arthropods was added as a preview for a future insectarium to be built at the botanic gardens.
Desert Conservatory:Located next to the Mediterranean Conservatory, this second greenhouse simulates a dry climate and displays a collection of plant life from deserts of the American Southwest, such as saguaro cactus and palo verde trees from the Sonoran Desert, creosote and yucca from the Chihuahuan Desert, and elephant trees from Baja.
Curandera Garden:This is a traditional herb garden based on the practices of Curanderos, or Spanish folk doctors, who have a long history of herbal medicine in New Mexico. The garden also contains a bas relief sculpture by Diego "Sonny" Rivera depicting a Curandero.
Camino de Colores:This garden is divided into four area, each themed to one of the four seasons, with plants chosen to represent each season's colors year-round. This garden also contains a water feature in the winter garden, and large rose planters.
Sasebo Japanese Garden:A classically designed Japanese Garden, containing Japanese architecture and design elements such as the tile-capped garden wall and tile-roofed entry gate, an elevated bell tower, stone lanterns and pagoda sculptures, a ceremonial hand-wash basin, a waterfall, koi pond, an arched-moon bridge, and a viewing deck. The plant palette includes both traditional Japanese and American Southwest plantings.
Heritage Farm:A re-creation of a 1930s era Albuquerque-area farm, containing a kitchen garden, crops, an orchard, vineyard and berry bushes, as well as replicas of a farmhouse, a barn, and a stables. Demonstrations take place in the farmhouse, and farm animals such as cows, goats, sheep, and horses live at the stables. This garden won the 2007 American Public Gardens Association award for excellence in programming and was invited to place an exhibit at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. from May through October 9, 2007.
PNM Butterfly Pavilion:An indoor butterfly House, open seasonally.
"Garden" Railroad:An outdoor model railroad layout.
Children's Fantasy Garden:A 14-foot-high (4.3 m) dragon stands at the entrance of the Fantasy Garden that gives visitors a mite's eye perspective on the garden. Giant bugs, gardening tools, and huge pretend vegetables tower over visitors to this garden. A walk-through "pumpkin" 42 feet (13 m) in diameter and two stories high is the centerpiece of this garden.
- Winter Wool Festival:An event held at the Heritage Farm to celebrate the connections between plants, animals and people! Watch artisans at work, learn about natural dyes made from plants and follow the process used to turn Navajo Churro sheep wool into sweaters and blankets.
- Earth Day:One of the biggest events at the botanic garden, Earth Day is a day when visitors can learn more about our planet and what they can do to protect the animals and plants that inhabit the Earth. Discovery stations and hands-on activities are set up around grounds to introduce visitors to the wonders of nature.
- Children's Seed Festival:Sponsored by the Rotary Club of Albuquerque. Celebrate the connections between seeds, plants and humans with some "seed-happy" people during this annual event at the Children’s Fantasy Garden.
- National Public Gardens Day:Visitors can learn more about gardening, the environment, and how to grow plants and use water wisely. Garden staff are on hand to offer tips on home gardening and landscape design.
- Summer Night's Concert:Summer Nights concerts feature an array of musical styles performed by local and regional talent on Thursday evenings in the beautiful setting of the Rio Grande Botanic Garden.