I love going to Lauritzen Gardens with my kids. In my 20’s I volunteered there and gave tours to school kids. I typically give some version of the tour to my kids each time. Unfortunately, I only get out there twice a year. I feel like the stars have to align between weather, my level of crabiness and the kids level of whining. “My legs hurt… I’m thirsty… How much farther?” You get the idea. I’m a firm believer in looking my kids in the face and saying, “keep complaining and we are leaving.” If they keep griping, I actually grab their tiny hands and walk out. It’s beautiful. Now, if I pay $15 to get in, I’m staying the whole day.
If you pay attention there are enough free opportunities. You can still walk out if the kids turn into little monsters and not feel like you wasted your money. We spent 2 hours there, spent zero dollars and had a great time.
My kids’ favorite is the trains. They chase them back and forth and get crazy excited when they go over head. The architecture is made out of only natural items like twigs and leaves. My personal favorite is the Rose Theater.
Join their email list and pay attention to their free days. The next discounted day is July 14th and 15th Railroad Days, you pay $15 for your family and get to go to Durham, Lauritzen, ride a trolley and Train Museum.
Once I go severely part time or retire, you will find me meandering around the gardens with an annual membership or volunteering in the Victorian Garden picking weeds.