The North Carolina Botanical Garden offers 1,000-plus acres to explore. (Courtesy North Carolina Botanical Gardens)
The North Carolina Botanical Garden, located on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus, offers 1,000-plus acres to explore. You'll find native plant borders and water gardens, a carnivorous plant collection, an extensive herb garden, a fern collection, a horticultural therapy demonstration garden and much more.
Coker Arboretum, established in 1903 and located next to Morehead Planetarium, features a collection of plants ranging from flowering trees and shrubs to bulb and perennial displays.
Watch an outdoor drama at Forest Theatre and navigate nearby Battle Park, a 93-acre forest named for Kemp Plummer Battle, UNC president from 1876 until 1891. Much of the forest predates European settlement in the area, which occurred around 1740.
The Piedmont Nature Trails, which cover an 88-acre area, are just down from the Display Gardens and Education Center and provide 2-plus miles of hiking through a typical central North Carolina forest. The Sillhouse Bottom Preserve represents the only undisturbed, steep, north-facing ravine left in Orange County, according to the Inventory of Natural Areas and Wildlife Habitats for Orange County, North Carolina.
Visit the James & Delight Allen Education Center to hear lectures, take workshops and classes, and learn about sustainable garden practices.
Admission is free, although donations are accepted. Weekday hours are 8 am-5 pm, with offices and exhibits opening at 9 am and the gift shop opening at 10 am. Saturday hours are 9 am-5 pm (6 pm June-August), and Sunday hours are 1-5 pm.