Audrey and Harry Lesner, otherwise known as The Budget Savvy Travelers, are full-time travelers and digital nomads. Born and raised in Chicago, their passion to show others how to break free without breaking the budget. They are the proud winners of the 2019 Top Budget Travel Blog.
The Matthaei Botanical Gardens at the University of Michigan offers the community over 300-acres of trails, botanical gardens, and natural displays. Due to its affiliation with the University, the site also offers many research-quality habitats that are used with students for educational purposes. The gardens are named after a regent of the University of Michigan named Frederick C. Matthaei, Sr. who along with his wife Mildred donated 200 acres of land. The botanical gardens are one of the most beautiful green spaces in Ann Arbor.
Along with the outdoor gardens, the site has a 10,000 square-foot indoor conservatory. It opened in 1964 and is believed to be the largest free-standing conservatory in the world. This was quite the feat during the time of its construction before computer models offered the technology to help plan for such a large space without any supporting columns. The conservatory is divided into three different climate zones—or “biomes”—from around the world. It includes the Arid House, the Temperate House, and the Tropical House. Many people enjoy visiting the warm environment during the long Michigan winters. For small children, the Gaffield Children's Garden has play areas and interactive exhibits where kids can explore in a natural setting.
The Matthaei Botanical Gardens' outdoor grounds are open every day. The conservatory is open 7 days a week and is only closed three days per year on holidays. During winter, the grounds are open but trails are not maintained for snow. Opening hours are from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.
Cover image via Wikimedia Commons by Dwight Burdette (CC BY 3.0).