Because plants are jealous of our ability to live indoors, they attempt to infiltrate our finest mansions and universities by slowly climbing stony facades. Visit a place built specifically to contain these floral strivers with today's Groupon: for $6, you get one general-admission ticket to the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington (up to a $13 value). Senior and student tickets are normally $10, and children's tickets for ages 5–12 are normally $7.50.
The Royal Botanical Gardens' 900 hectares boast indigenous and exotic plants, walking trails, ecological preserves, and interactive exhibits. A sojourn through floral-laden realms begins at the RBG Centre, where budding botanists peruse indoor and outdoor displays, plan out their day's visit, and learn which flower is most likely to spit out seltzer water. The rambling, English-garden-inspired arboretum houses a diverse collection of trees and shrubs, and a 6-acre rock garden invites patrons to amble through a network of staircases, linked ponds, bridges, and waterfalls. Four nature sanctuaries blanket 90% of the property in a patchwork of escarpment, forests, fields, force fields, and wetlands that winds its way across the western tip of Lake Ontario, accessible via 27 kilometres of scenic walking trails.
After a day of sniffing flowers and swapping pan-pipe tips with satyrs, refuel at one of Royal Botanical Gardens' dining spots. The flowery oasis also has a schedule of outdoor jazz concerts, which are enriched by Royal Botanical Gardens' idyllic backdrop and a string of moving bumblebee solos.
Royal Botanical Gardens
Littered with billboards and dilapidated shacks, the abandoned 6-acre gravel pit looked like the last place you'd want to plant a garden. But from 1930 to 1931, the Royal Botanical Gardens transformed the area by arranging weathered limestone rocks from nearby quarries into linked paths and staircases winding around ponds and waterfalls. Since then, the 2,700-acre nonprofit facility has continued to display approximately 40,000 plants and 50 living plant collections in its five gardens.
The property also hosts three nature sanctuaries. The largest, Cootes Paradise, encompasses 16 creeks and a 320-hectacre river-mouth marsh on more than 600 hectares of land. Visitors can explore stream crossings or check out the gardens from above on 31 scenic trails that range across more than 21 kilometres with more than 20 lookouts. After long expeditions, visitors can make their way to the three onsite restaurants, browse gardening tools in the shop, or attend one of the garden's many monthly events.