During our trip to Richmond we visited two very different outdoor areas.
Just off I-95 between Petersburg and Richmond we stopped at the Confederate Fort Darling, used during the Civil War to prevent ships approaching Richmond via the James River. A short walk from the parking lot led to a river bluff with views over James River and history signs detailing life around the fort, and the battles it was involved in. A nice short (and free) stop off the interstate.
On Sunday we had the chance to visit Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens. We have wanted to visit these gardens for years, but weather and timing had prevented our visits in the past. During this April trip the weather was beautiful and we finally had the chance to try it out, arriving around 9:30am on Sunday.
The first view on entering is quite pretty with brick work, flower beds and water features leading to the glass conservatory.
We were lucky that many of the tulips were still in bloom.
Next was the conservatory which includes the desert and orchid houses. But first, we were pleasantly surprised to check out the butterfly house. Multiple species of butterflies were fluttering about, landing on flowers and foliage, and spreading their wings. You did need to watch your step, as some butterflies really liked the floor, and there were checks on the way out to prevent stowaways on your clothes!
The orchid house has a nice display with a wide range of colors and petal types.
And the desert house had a small gnome hut.
Back outside we continued our stroll through the gardens, walking around the pond.
Thankfully we saved the shady section of the garden for later morning. Here, we were met with an abundance of Japanese maples and spring bloomers.
Overall we spent about 2.5 hours in the gardens, and quite enjoyed our time.