Tips for Visiting Kauai’s National Tropical Botanical Garden – with Kids

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Entering into the National Tropical Botanical Garden near Poipu
Yes, munchkins, we’ve arrived in Technicolor.

Kauai is home to three gardens that are part of the “National Tropical Botanical Garden”: Limahuli Garden, which is located in the wetter north of the island; and the McBryde and Allerton Gardens, which are both located in the south near Poipu, and share this entrance.

If you’re visiting Kauai with young children, be aware that the most famous of the three, Allerton Garden, does not allow children under 10 years old to enter the garden, which you can have fun explaining to your daughters in the gift shop as they stare at the large poster of two girls clearly under 10 years old posing in the roots of the landmark Jurassic Park tree they won’t be visiting. (Yes, I left a comment in the guest book.)

Unlike the Allerton Garden’s 2 1/2 hour guided tour (no self-guided option), the McBryde Garden runs shuttle trams for self-guided tourists and their young children, with trams leaving every hour on the half hour, and returning to the visitors center every hour on the hour until 4 p.m. Make sure to purchase your tickets and be present before 2 p.m. to catch the last tram of the day – and better still, plan to take an earlier tour in case the garden closes early for a private event.

Even if you arrive too late for a tour, or just want a taste of the tropical gardens without the cost of the tickets, there is much to see exploring the free areas around the Visitors Center and Gift Shops (with restrooms), and our kids had a blast running across the sweeping lawns and adventuring through small paths in the shady floral jungle. Combine your visit, whether quick or leisurely, with a stop at the Spouting Horn nearly across the road from the driveway.

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