Admission fee takes root April 15 at Rotary Gardens
“We have some things blooming already and three weeks early,” said Mark Dwyer, director of horticulture at the 20-acre botanical garden, 1455 Palmer Drive.
Although the themed garden is open from dawn to dusk all year, an admission fee will be charged for the first time starting Wednesday, April 15. It continues through Oct. 31.
Cost is $5 for adults and $3 for ages 6-12.
The admission fee is being imposed “to maintain the level of gardens we have,’’ said David Jennings, executive director.
“In the last couple years, we’ve run a deficit. So we decided we need to try and eliminate that and think the admissions (fee) will help us do that,’’ he said.
The gardens receive no government or tax dollars, Jennings said.
The new fee is expected to raise $75,000 for the general operating fund, he said.
The gardens will host 16 free days, including five days in the spring and another five days in the fall, as well as the first Wednesday of every month. No admission will be charged Nov. 1 through April 14.
Those attending weddings and other garden events will not be charged. Prom goers and families taking pictures on prom night will pay $2.
To avoid paying the admission fee:
-- Join the friends group, which offers free admission, previews and friends-only events. The different friend levels start at $35.
-- Volunteer in the gardens 36 hours a year or three hours a month. Volunteer opportunities include being a gardener, office assistant and tour guide.