There are 24 different areas of the gardens and each of them offers something unique. Our favorites were the bamboo forest, the walk through the camelias, the Children's Garden and the herb garden (it's the largest in the Southeastern US). A paved path winds through each of these areas, with benches and gazebos tucked away allowing you a chance to relax and take in the surroundings. We are moving into a new house on January 1st (an exciting way to start 2016!) and Ellison and I got really into deciding which flowers we would plant in each area of the front yard and what herbs could grow in the courtyard. This is the first time we have had any sort of green space of our own and both of us have been waiting for the chance to have a garden. It's been a long time coming and a walk through Kanapaha gave us some workable ideas about what would grow in this part of Florida. Honestly, we'll see if the garden actually happens, y'all, but regardless it was fun to talk about it and know that it could happen. But it will. I almost promise.
We spent the better part of this afternoon just laying in the grass and wandering through the gardens. It was relaxing in a very different from when we are hiking or doing something more active. This isn't the wilderness, but it's still natural (and you still need to be somewhat aware of your surroundings, as indicated by the Cottonmouth snake we almost stepped on as we headed to one of the gazebos. They blend in well to the ground cover and stay really still, making Cottonmouths even more dangerous than your average poisonous snake because you're far more likely to step on them). The level of preparedness required drops considerably, you aren't on a mission to cover a certain number of miles, or summit a particular peak or check off another trail completed. Botanical gardens are specifically designed to foster contemplative relaxation and both your mind and body are encouraged to calm down. While Ellison and I both love adventurous times on the trail, we also really enjoy just being outside. Without a destination. Without having to push ourselves. And being in a garden full of gorgeous flowers usually helps, too.
So how about you - are your outdoor activities always active and adventurous or do you make time to just hang out and relax? Are parks and gardens your speed or are you always looking for ways to amp up your outdoor game?