Cornell Botanic Gardens, Ithaca

4.8
#4 of 12 in Parks in Ithaca
The Cornell Botanic Gardens, formerly known as the Cornell Plantations, is a botanical garden located adjacent to the Cornell University campus in Ithaca, New York. The Botanic Gardens proper consist of 25acre of botanical gardens and 150acre of the F.R. Newman Arboretum. The greater Botanic Gardens includes 40 different nature areas around Cornell and Ithaca, covering 4300acre.
The origin of the Botanic Gardens dates back to Cornell's beginning in the mid-19th century and are part of the university's longtime interest in agriculture, forestry, and the natural sciences. The Botanic Gardens saw a major planting effort during the 1930s and assumed the name "Cornell Plantations" in 1944. Gardens and facilities have continually expanded, including a construction program at the start of the 21st century. The Botanic Gardens also maintains four gardens on Cornell's central campus. The Botanic Gardens offers three courses for academic credit, are used as a resource by other classes, host a number of informal lectures and tours, and have played a part in many scholarly papers., the Botanic Gardens had a $2.9 million annual operating budget.
The gardens specialize in trees and shrubs native to New York State. The themed herb garden is especially noted. The Botanic Gardens have been the subject of several books and films over the years, are open daily without charge, and have been recommended as a visitation site by a number of travel books and newspaper travel sections.
Prior to the founding of Cornell University, Ezra Cornell had a large farm on the East Hill above Ithaca, New York. As part of locating New York State's land-grant college in Ithaca, Cornell offered to donate the farm for use as a campus. In 1862, Cornell's first president, Andrew Dickson White, wrote a colleague that a great university should include a botanical garden: “It must have the best of Libraries – collections in different departments – Laboratory – Observatory – Botanical Garden perhaps…” At the university's opening ceremony in 1868, Louis Agassiz, an internationally known naturalist, remarked that no other area could compete with Cornell's surroundings in the opportunities offered for the study of natural history. From its inception, Cornell formed a reputation for creative means of research into the natural sciences, including the establishment of the pioneering College of Agriculture.
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Cornell Botanic Gardens Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
342 reviews
Google
4.7
TripAdvisor
  • Nice, but expensive gift shop. Winter garden very nice. Would love to return when all the flowers, etc. are blooming. Expect it would be amazing.  more »
  • The place is so nice and lovely to stroll around, you can spent hours looking at all different plants from all over the world. No admission fees just pay for the car park, Ithaca itself is a...  more »
  • This is one of the reasons it's worth spending a day on the Cornell campus. There's no conservatory associated with the gardens, but there is one on campus in the agriculture program. The gardens....  more »
Google
  • This is the second time coming to the Cornell Botanical Gardens. It was very relaxing and interesting to see all the different flowers and herbs they grow. The center courtyard was my favorite with the different sections dedicated to different categories of flowers and herbs. I had been there before but didn't realize the plaques with the flower and herb names also had descriptions relevant to the section of the courtyard they are in. VERY COOL. It was fun to see the herbs I cook with in my kitchen growing in a garden, having never seen the full plant before. And it's awesome to see so many dedications to great men and women of the past who helped build such a beautiful and lush space for anyone to walk through. Definitely a must see for any visitors looking to see what beauty Ithaca has to offer.
  • This place is as tranquil as it gets. Almost every plant was labeled. You feel like you're walking in a magical place. We came in the Fall so there were little blooms happening but I'm sure Spring will lighten this place up.
  • Beautiful gardens of various styles. The perfect spot to gain inspiration for you own gardens with thousands of different plants to check out. Speak to one of the assistants working in the gardens if you're curious about any particular plant, they're full of knowledge and very freindly. Be sure to set aside, at minimum, 4hours to view everything without moving too slowly.
  • Truly a gem. Go early and enjoy the Gardens for the soft light cast from the sun. Orchids in full bloom when we were there. Very peaceful with well placed garden benches to sit down upon and enjoy the beauty of this place.
  • A garden and arboretum that should not be missed! Words cannot describe how breathtaking the arboretum and gardens were. Very educational as well. Oh, and don't forget to have an icecream treat at the Cornell Dairy Bar!
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