I purchased a Groupon to visit the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden and visited in May with my 12-year-old daughter, husband, and parents. We got a map and the laminated self-guided tour packet from the visitor's center and set off on our hike. The map was imperfect - husband says they "need a better cartographer." It did help to keep us from getting lost so I guess it was good enough. We visited the Dogwood area first and I was really disappointed. The path took us through some rough looking areas infested with every kind of week I try to keep out of my own flower beds. It wasn't until we reached the Woodland Trail that we were won over by the place. It's really not a "botanic" garden, more of a nature preserve. There are multiple surprise areas of interest in the woods - a giant bird's nest, a little stone house, dwellings made from giant tree trunks, and a bunch of fairy houses. Everyone enjoyed the Lotus Pond which has a series of stepping stones at one end where you can carefully cross from one side of the water to the other. We enjoyed a moment on the floating dock and spotted a giant bull frog and a whole lot of healthy bluegill from the bridge. Everything that's been done from the visitor's center bathroom to the well maintained path is absolutely first class. I look forward to returning someday to see future improvements. This was really a fun way to spend time together with the extended family.
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