Whether the sun is shining or the snow is falling, consider a visit to this park for a memorable walk through a lovely protected area.
Vander Veer Botanical Park is filled with gardens, indoor plant collections and outdoor walking routes through well-manicured foliage. Come here to relax with the whole family in a natural oasis.
Not only was Vander Veer Botanical Park modeled after New York City’s Central Park, but Central Park was also its first name. This changed in 1912, when it was renamed in honor of the secretary of the Davenport Park Board of Commissioners. Take a guided tour of the park to learn which of the gardens and trees were planted immediately after the park was opened in the 1890s.
When the weather is nice, make full use of the outdoor walks and activities. Follow the Grand Allee, a large walkway that leads to the Stone Fountain. Try to identify the various trees and garden plants on your route. You may also see local residents using this walkway for walking or running laps.
Even if the weather isn’t pleasant, you will have plenty to see. Visit the conservatory to get out of the elements and into the gardens sheltered by glass. The plants rotate seasonally and include azalea and bulbs in the spring, as well as poinsettias in the winter. You can also walk into the greenhouses to learn behind-the-scenes information on how the conservatory displays are created.
Bring your family to the Children’s Sculpture Garden to see colorful sculptures in a peaceful setting. Explore the Enabling Garden as well, a space that allows people of all abilities to enjoy different sensory experiences and improve their mental health. The path is completely accessible throughout and the garden containers are at a variety of heights so people tall or small can get close-up views.
Vander Veer Botanical Park is open from Tuesdays to Sundays from sunrise to shortly after sunset. Admission to the park is free to all.
Pack a picnic and spend a full day here. Look for a shady spot to sit and appreciate the atmosphere when you are finished exploring the grounds.