Nature’s Oasis: A Guide to Explore the Magic of Sarah P. Duke Gardens!

Sarah Duke Gardens

Welcome to my comprehensive guide to Sarah P Duke Gardens!


Beautiful garden located in durham, NC. Sarah P. Duke Gardens.

General Information:


Sarah P. Duke Gardens is a stunning botanical garden located in Durham, North Carolina. It spans 55 acres and features a diverse collection of plants and landscapes, offering visitors a peaceful and immersive experience in nature. Whether you’re a plant enthusiast, a nature lover, or simply seeking a tranquil escape, the gardens are a must-visit destination.  The best part? You can explore this one-of-a-kind garden free of charge!

Location: Sarah P. Duke Gardens is situated on the campus of Duke University, at 420 Anderson Street, Durham, NC 27705. Visitors can park in the designated parking areas near the gardens, including the Parking Garage and Parking Lot off Anderson Street. Follow the signage for visitor parking.


Hours of Operation:


Sarah P. Duke Gardens is open daily from 8:00 AM to dusk. However, please note that certain areas within the gardens may have specific operating hours, such as the Doris Duke Center and the Terrace Cafe.




Sarah P. Duke Gardens

The parking fee is $2 per hour, applicable from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. throughout the week, including weekends. It’s important to note that the pay-to-park lots tend to fill up quickly, particularly on weekends, often reaching capacity by 10 a.m.

To conveniently pay for parking, you can utilize the mobile phone app called Pay By Phone. Before heading to the Gardens, it is advisable to download the app and create an account to expedite the parking purchase process. The designated location code for Sarah P. Duke Gardens is 3109. Keep in mind that Wi-Fi signals may be weak in the parking lots, so having the app already installed will help facilitate the payment.

While the preferred method of payment is through the mobile app, there is one machine available that accepts cash. However, please be aware that this machine does not provide change. Therefore, it is recommended to have the exact amount if opting to pay with cash.


Terrace Cafe:


Indulge in a delightful lunch experience amidst the enchanting ambiance of Sarah P. Duke Gardens at the Terrace Café, located in the Bartter Family Terrace House. Operated by The Picnic Basket catering, the café offers a diverse menu that varies but typically includes an array of salads, sides, sandwiches, refreshing cold beverages, coffee, delectable snacks, and delectable Maple View Farm’s ice cream. Additionally, the café caters to dietary preferences with a selection of gluten-free items.

The Terrace Café welcomes visitors during specific hours, weather permitting. On weekdays, it is open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., while Saturdays offer extended hours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. On Sundays, the café opens from noon to 4 p.m. However, please note that the café is closed on university holidays.

The café operates seasonally and closes in mid-November for the winter season. It typically reopens in early spring, allowing visitors to once again relish the delectable offerings in the beautiful garden setting.


Terrace Shop:


Garden located in durham, Nc. Sarah P duke garden.


Discover the delightful offerings of the Terrace Shop, located at the Doris Duke Center within Sarah P. Duke Gardens. The shop invites visitors to explore a charming assortment of garden-related souvenirs and gifts, perfect for commemorating your visit or finding a special present for a loved one.

Operating hours for the Terrace Shop are from 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m., seven days a week, except on university holidays. As of now, vaccinated customers are no longer required to wear masks inside the shop, providing a more comfortable shopping experience.

Please note that the Terrace Shop undergoes a winter closure in January and February, so plan your visit accordingly to ensure availability.

If you have any inquiries or need assistance, feel free to reach out to the shop directly at 919-684-9037.

Step inside the Terrace Shop and explore an eclectic array of garden-related treasures. From Duke Gardens note cards, postcards, and mugs to plants, decorative containers, plant stakes, garden flags, ceramics, hand-crafted jewelry, and nature-inspired toys, there is something for every garden enthusiast. The shop also features an impressive selection of books and gift items created by regional artists, showcasing the rich talent of the area.

Make sure to check out the Gardens’ special souvenir, the Duke Gardens photo journal. This 6×9″ spiral-bound book includes 24 full-page photos and high-quality blank paper, perfect for writing, drawing, bullet journaling, or coloring. It makes a wonderful gift for Duke University and Duke Gardens fans alike.

Indulge in a delightful shopping experience at the Terrace Shop, where you’ll find an enchanting collection of garden-inspired keepsakes and unique treasures to cherish.


Different Areas of the Gardens:


Sarah p Duke Garden located in durham, NC.


Each area of Sarah P. Duke Gardens offers a unique experience, with its own distinct charm and botanical treasures. From meticulously manicured gardens to native plant displays and serene Asian-inspired landscapes, visitors can explore a world of natural beauty, discover new plant species, and find solace in the tranquil surroundings. Here are a few areas to explore:
  1. Historic Gardens: This section of the gardens features meticulously landscaped areas that evoke a sense of timeless beauty. The Terraces offer a series of descending levels adorned with seasonal flowers, providing picturesque views and a perfect spot for relaxation. The Allée showcases a long, tree-lined pathway leading to the South Lawn, creating a grand entrance. The Rose Garden is a favorite among visitors, boasting an exquisite collection of roses in various colors and fragrances. Lastly, the Wisteria Pergola offers a captivating display of cascading wisteria vines, creating a magical ambiance.
  2. Blomquist Garden of Native Plants: Immerse yourself in the native flora of North Carolina. This area highlights the beauty and diversity of indigenous plants, including wildflowers, grasses, shrubs, and trees. Stroll along the winding paths and discover the natural habitats that provide sustenance and shelter for local wildlife.
  3. Culberson Asiatic Arboretum: Inspired by Asian garden designs, this section features serene and contemplative landscapes. Walk through bamboo groves, admire the delicate beauty of Japanese maples, and listen to the soothing sounds of water features. The arboretum showcases a diverse collection of Asian plant species, offering visitors a tranquil escape.
  4. H.L. Blomquist Garden of Plants for Birds and Butterflies: This garden is designed to attract and support local bird and butterfly populations. It features an array of nectar-producing plants, host plants for caterpillars, and native trees and shrubs that provide food and shelter. Discover a vibrant tapestry of colors as you witness the delicate dance of butterflies and listen to the melodious songs of birds.
  5. The Historic Camellia Collection: This collection showcases a stunning variety of camellias, including both classic and rare cultivars. From delicate white blooms to vibrant pinks and reds, camellias create a visual feast for visitors. Stroll through this dedicated area and immerse yourself in the captivating beauty and fragrance of these timeless flowers.


Best Times to Visit:


Sarah p Duke Garden located in durham, NC.


The gardens are open year-round, providing unique experiences with the changing seasons. Spring brings colorful blooms, while summer offers lush foliage. Fall showcases vibrant autumnal colors, and winter displays the gardens’ evergreen beauty. Weekdays are generally less crowded, allowing for a more serene visit.

Visiting with Young Kids and Family:


Sarah P. Duke Gardens is a family-friendly destination. There are wide paths and open spaces that provide ample room for strollers and little ones to explore. Families can enjoy picnicking in designated areas or participate in educational programs specifically designed for children. Don’t forget sunscreen, hats, and comfortable walking shoes for everyone.

Tips for First-Time Visitors:


If it’s your first time visiting the gardens, consider joining a guided tour or picking up a map at the Visitor Center to help navigate the different areas. Take your time to stroll through the gardens, pause at scenic spots, and fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty. Remember to bring a camera to capture the breathtaking landscapes and special moments.



Sarah Duke Gardens


Experience the beauty and knowledge of Sarah P. Duke Gardens through their guided tours. Guided tours are available from March 14 to November 17, 2023, exclusively on Tuesdays to Fridays. Please note that no weekend or Monday tours are available.

To ensure availability, it is recommended to make a reservation for the guided tours. The popularity of guided tours in March, April, May, September, and October often leads to rapid filling of tour slots. Therefore, it is highly advisable to reserve your tour well in advance of your planned visit to secure your preferred time slot.

Reserving your guided tour is convenient and easy. Utilize the online reservation system to book either a guided tour by trolley or a walking tour. Both options offer unique ways to explore and learn about the remarkable features of Duke Gardens.

By taking part in a guided tour, you’ll gain deeper insights into the history, plant collections, and horticultural highlights of the gardens. Knowledgeable guides will accompany you, providing informative commentary and answering any questions you may have along the way.

Sarah P. Duke Gardens offers an enchanting escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Whether you’re a plant enthusiast, nature lover, or seeking a serene retreat, this botanical paradise is sure to leave you rejuvenated and inspired. Visit their website to explore everything Sarah P Duke Gardens has to offer or to schedule a tour!

Featured Categories