Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

We have 30 display gardens throughout our 96-acre grounds. Walking tours usually take about 1 ½ hours to walk through and see all of the highlights (of course you could spend much longer if you wanted to really explore all of the plantings). Highlights include: My Big Backyard (a 2 ½ acre family play garden that is filled with whimsical artwork and unique elements), the Herb Garden (one of the largest collections in the country with over 500 species represented), and our Japanese Garden (a tranquil but large garden, beautiful during any season). We also have a restaurant on-site so if you’d like to come in and take a break while you’re here. Fratelli’s Cafe is open Monday-Saturday, 11 am-2 pm.

Rather than having a “Free Day,” we have a free membership program for those who qualify (by presenting a state-issued EBT card) to ensure that the Garden is accessible to all regardless of what day they are able to visit. Our admissions fees ($12 adults; $10 seniors; $7 children) help to support our horticultural and educational programming and keep our grounds looking great. Of course, admission is always free for Members. Family memberships can be purchased for as low as $75 ($67.50 for seniors/military/students). That works out to less than $7 a month!

We love for people to enjoy having their lunch in the Garden. There are several good spots for picnicking on the lawns. Tables are available in the Hardwood Picnic Grove. The tables on the patio behind Hardin Hall are available when there is not a group utilizing that room (otherwise the patio comes with the rental). We ask that you take your trash with you when you are done.

We have two seasonal interactive water features in My Big Backyard (Raindrop Stop/Critter Creek and the small splash fountain in Seedling Circle). All other fountains in the Garden (Four Seasons, Sensory Garden pool, etc.) are to be enjoyed by looking at…not wading in! There are fountain heads that can be easily damaged when stepped on and the sharp edges could be dangerous.

We do have a few wheelchairs that are available to guests. These are push-chairs, not electric. They are first-come, first-serve and are free of charge. Simply ask admission staff if one is available for use.

The MBG grounds are smoke free so we ask guests not to smoke in the Garden. However, with events, we do understand the need to have a smoking area and will allow this just outside of entry doors. We ask guests to please dispose of all cigarette butts in appropriate containers.

Group visits to My Big Backyard are by reservation only. This garden was designed for family experiences and small group classes…not for the large groups that often visit for our Youth Education programs. Any group of 10 or more children (schools, day cares, scout troops, churches, etc.) must be registered for one of our classes to visit this area. Otherwise, these groups can enjoy touring the rest of our 96-acre garden.

There is a fee for garden weddings, regardless of the size of ceremony. All weddings need to be booked in advance to ensure that we do not have more than one wedding going on at the same time. You can find more information on Garden weddings on our Weddings & Private Events page. The fee covers Garden admission for all guests and is an important source of revenue for us to be able to maintain our beautiful grounds.

Guests are welcome to take photographs and videos of the Garden for personal use, however personal photo shoots, including engagement photos, wedding/bridal photos, and family portraits using any professional equipment must be scheduled in advance and requires a fee.

While at the Garden, we ask that you keep out of the flower beds. It may look like you can easily step between plantings without crushing the flowers, but doing so packs the soil and crushes fragile roots causing permanent damage to the plants. Balloons, smoke bombs, confetti, and glitter are not allowed.

Professional photographers and videographers may pay an annual membership fee for photography shoots at the Garden. Click here to learn more about becoming a Photography Member.

If not a Photography Member, the fee for a one-time photo session is $175, which includes one photographer or videographer, one assistant, and a maximum of ten individuals (each additional individual must pay full price admission). All photoshoots must be scheduled in advance. Please see our Photography Policies page for more information on booking a photoshoot and our photography policies.

Feeding fish should only be done in the Japanese Garden. We allow feeding fish only at times of year when water temperature is in the appropriate range (when fish are not going into hibernation). We ask that you only use the fish food purchased at the Admissions desk. Any other food may be unhealthy for the fish/waterfowl and the quality of the lake.

Only service dogs are allowed to enter the Garden. We do offer a number of special dog-friendly events throughout the year. Visit our events calendar to learn more about what’s upcoming at the Garden.

No. In order to keep our pathways safe and manageable for our walking guests, bikes, skates, and skateboards are not allowed. The only wheeled “vehicles” allowed are wheelchairs, wagons, and strollers.

No. All birthday parties in the Garden must be scheduled in advance. The fees cover the cost of your program and help raise funds to help support educational programming throughout the year. All birthday parties and special events in My Big Backyard are by reservation only. Out of consideration of our other guests, groups wishing to picnic must do so in the Hardwood Picnic Area on the Great Lawn or another suitable location in the Garden.

We do not allow balloons anywhere on the property.  These can become entangled in trees where they remain for months before falling out. Our policies are clearly written in all rental and birthday party contracts that balloons are not permitted (even for indoor decorations) because they can escape while transferring from the parking lot to the building.

We offer a military discount on annual memberships (10% off any level with proper identification), and we honor Veterans Day by granting free admission to the Garden for any service members, active or retired. However, we do not offer a discount on the daily adult admission rate, which is $12 for adults ($10 seniors).

For ticketing questions please contact our Box Office:

Box Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 10 am-4 pm (not including holidays)


Phone: 901-636-4107

Live at the Garden Day of Show ONLY: Box Office opens at 5 pm and is located outside of Gate A at the Radians Amphitheater.