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Travel Directory: Garvan Woodland Gardens | Hot Springs

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Photos by Sherre Freeman
Anthony Chapel Interior

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Garvan Woodland Gardens

Garvan Woodland Gardens, one of Arkansas’ most spectacular outdoor destinations, is consistently ranked as the #1 attraction in Hot Springs. The 210-acre woodland garden, situated on a pristine peninsula on Lake Hamilton, is part of the University of Arkansas’ Fay Jones School of Architecture and offers both leisure and educational opportunities to approximately 150,00 visitors annually. 

Garvan Woodland Gardens began as the dream of Arkansas businesswoman Verna Cook Garvan. Her lifelong desire was to transform her beloved property into a garden of distinction for the people of Arkansas to enjoy. Realizing she could not achieve her goal single-handedly, she donated her private garden to the University of Arkansas in 1985, knowing that it would be developed into a world-class botanical garden. Under the University’s watchful eye, her dream has come to fruition. The Gardens’ universal appeal is obvious, as it annually hosts visitors from all 50 states and nearly as many foreign countries.


Photos by Sherre Freeman
Fall at the Flowering Border Pavilion
Fall offers the most colorful time of year in the woodlands, with thousands of mums, asters, and pansies set off by of autumn’s color-rich hardwoods and hundreds of Japanese maples. 


Bulbs of light dominate the landscape from mid-November through New Year’s Eve, when four million lights illuminate approximately 17 acres with original three-dimensional displays designed and created by Garden lighting and design technicians. Entitled “Holiday Lights,” this event has become the Gardens’ most popular annual attraction, with nearly 50,000 visitors in 2013.

Photos by Sherre Freeman
Garvan Pavilion and Tulip Extravaganza
Early in February, hundreds of thousands of daffodils emerge throughout the Gardens, followed closely by thousands of fragrant hyacinths in a rainbow of colors. Late March to early April brings the annual Tulip Extravaganza, a lush display of spring color with close to 150,000 brilliant bulbs. Following daffodils and tulips, late spring offers colorful azalea and dogwood blooms, as butterflies float into Gardens for the summer season.
Hydrangeas take center stage in May and June in the Evans Celebration Garden and along Warren’s Woodland Walk and Singing Springs Gorge, accompanied by the lush plantings of the English style Flowering Border surrounding the Ellen Edmondson Great Lawn and Dierks Promenade. All through the summer, numerous waterfalls and cascades provide a refreshing backdrop for thousands of summer flowers and tropical plants.
Anthony Chapel Complex
The centerpiece of the complex, Anthony Chapel, soars 57 feet above the forest floor and features floor-to-ceiling windows, providing breathtaking views of Lake Hamilton and the surrounding woodlands. An elegant blend of native wood, glass, and stone, the 160-seat chapel is a serene sanctuary where visitors can pause for meditation and reflection. Additionally, the chapel plays host to nearly 200 weddings a year.
Flanking Anthony Chapel are the Millsaps Bride’s Hall and Evans Groom’s Quarters, discreetly nestled in the woodland setting. Enhancing the chapel complex is the tranquil Evans Celebration Garden, comprised of a gently cascading waterfall, picturesque stone bridge and pathways, and stone steps to an intimate lawn garden. Greeting visitors to the complex is the Anthony Family Carillon, a stunning 57-foot, copper-clad electronic bell tower, which chimes and plays music on the hour.
General Information
The Gardens are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily, and the Chipmunk Café is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, offering a healthy menu of sandwiches, salads, soups and wraps made to order with only the freshest fruits, vegetables, meats, whole grain breads and homemade sauces and dressings. The GardenShop, located inside the Pratt Welcome Center, offers a delightful selection of garden inspired giftware, art, and jewelry for the most discriminating shopper.
See the Gardens website for hours, admission prices, location map and more information.


Contact Information:

 Area Map
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Garvan Woodland Gardens
540 Arkridge rd
Hot Springs, AR 71913

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