The Bellevue Botanical Garden

My birthday was a few months ago and like any mother of three young children, all I wanted for a birthday gift was to be left alone. For a few bloody hours at least. I had outlandish fantasies about drinking hot coffee while it was still actually hot, watching uninterrupped Netflix and ordering Thai food while still in my pajamas. Seriously that was it; I was asking for what an average day off (before spawning three, wild but darling boys) looked like. But it was just that..a fantasy. My smother loving family would hear none of it, so it was a day out for all of us! Yay.

We headed to the Bellevue Botanical Garden, a 53 acre oasis in the middle of a busy residential neighborhood. The grounds are lovingly maintained and somehow manage to feel like some puttering grandma’s home instead of the don’t touch, don’t walk, speak only in whispers aura that surrounds so many other botanical gardens. The garden is meant to be enjoyed & explored and carefully tramped through; an element that I appreciate about it, especially with my three rambunctious children.

The Gardens began their metamorpsis into a city park in 1981, when the Shorts family deeded their 7.5 acres of land to the city of Bellevue with the stipulation that it become a public outdoor space. It offically opened its’ gates to the public in 1992 and since then has grown, both in acreage and programing. There are numerous trails to explore and even a suspension bridge to trek across, my favorite feature in the park.

We explored the pristine Japanese Yao garden, then wandered through the urban meadow marveling at how the city sounds seemed to fade away among the botanical beauty surrounding us. At least this is what my mom & I were commenting on; my boys were capitalizing on the lack of urban noise to make their own banshee like calls through the trees. At least we didn’t stumble silently upon some poor unsuspecting elderly gentleman causing him heart palpitations among the pines; there was no way our crew was going by undetected.

And though it might not have been the Netflix and chill kind of birthday I’d envisioned, I’m sure there will be a time soon enough when I’ll have to beg my boys to stick around for a celebratory slice of birthday cake, so I’ll take all the smother loving I can get. Besides, maybe with another year of hints dropped around them, they might just figure it out by my next birthday. Fingers crossed.

Bellevue Botanical Garden

12001 Main Street

Bellevue, WA 98005


~Open dawn till dusk every day of the year~

Gardens are free as is the ample & easily accesible parking

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