Great Park Garden Coalition envisions a world-class botanical garden here in Irvine that wins accolades from local residents and welcomes the world to a year-round source of natural delight.

In 2015, Richard Benfield, author of Garden Tourism and chair of the International Garden Tourism Network, reported that “more people visit gardens in the United States than go to Disneyland and Disneyworld combined, and more than visit Las Vegas annually, making Garden Tourism one of the largest sectors in the tourism market.”

Botanic Gardens are popular destinations that attract a wide range of domestic and international tourists, as well as regular visitors from their local areas. In fact, over 25 million people travel to see gardens in North American each year, and there are more than 250 million sightseers to gardens around the globe.

Every two years, Garden Tourism Awards are presented to organizations and individuals who have distinguished themselves in the development and promotion of garden experiences as tourism attractions and motivators. The awards are proudly supported by the American Public Garden Association, the Canadian Garden Council, and the Mexican Association of Botanical Gardens, with sponsorship from the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association.

The 2019 recipients of the “Top 10 North American Gardens Worth Traveling For,” highlight North America’s most dynamic garden experiences.  They are listed here in alphabetical order.

1. Atlanta Botanical Garden, Atlanta, Georgia

2. The Butchart Gardens, Victoria, British Columbia

3. Chanticleer Garden, Wayne, Pennsylvania

4. Francisco Javier Clavijero Botanic Garden, Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico

5. Ganna Walska Lotusland, Montecito, California

6. Longwood Gardens, Kennett Square, Pennsylvania

7. Montreal Botanical Garden/Jardin botanique de Montréal, Montréal, Québec

8. Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden, Lethbridge, Alberta

9. Red Butte Garden, Salt Lake City, Utah

10. Vallarta Botanical Garden (Jardín Botánico de Vallarta), Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Gardens can be a significant part of what a destination offers, contributing millions of dollars in economic impact for hotels, restaurants and other attractions.  That potential enhances the tourist experience of a place, while providing positive educational, social and health benefits for all who enjoy the stimulating activities and peaceful beauty of a Botanic Garden.

Please let Irvine City Council/OC Great Park Board know that your business, school, or civic organization supports a vibrant botanical garden at the OC Great Park.