Let’s Explore!


Why attend a conference in a vibrant city if you never leave the hotel?! Read on to find out about field trips that are available to NCYGS attendees. Some are included in symposium registration while others require an additional fee.

Pre-Symposium Experience

Norfolk Botanical Garden

Norfolk Botanical Garden Tour
Tuesday, July 12 8:30am- 3:00pm
additional registration required

Join us for a pre-symposium trip to visit the WOW Children’s Garden at Norfolk Botanical Garden. The Children’s Garden offers opportunities for learning and exploration for visitors of all ages. Trek across the globe in the world-themed splash fountains and Passport Gardens, climb Discovery Peak to see, smell, and touch edible plants, and take a nature walk through the Plant Safari habitat gardens. 

Groups will rotate through self-guided time exploration of the Garden and guided tours of the Butterfly House and the WOW Children’s Garden. We will finish our stay at Norfolk Botanical Garden with a picnic lunch from their on-site café, Marigold & Honey. Norfolk Botanical Garden is about a 90-minute drive from downtown Richmond; an air-conditioned motor coach will get the group to and from in comfort.

Pre-symposium experience

Kent-Valentine House, RichmondReception and presentation at Kent-Valentine House
Tuesday, July 12 4:30-6:30pm
additional registration required

Nestled amidst picturesque magnolias in the Monroe Ward district of downtown Richmond stands the Kent-Valentine House, the antebellum residence that is the bustling statewide headquarters of the Garden Club of Virginia. Recognized as a splendid example of Greek Revival architecture, the imposing eighteen room residence with its soaring Roman Ionic columns, 14-foot ceilings, and floor-to-ceiling windows was nearly razed in 1971 before GCV launched the area’s first adaptive-use restoration.

This is our setting for a Welcome to Richmond pre-symposium reception. Enjoy light hors d’oeuvres and summer beverages in the grand parlors and shaded porch while meeting and networking with fellow symposium attendees. Then, with seating space for 75, we will hear a presentation from Virginia Humanities Fellow Meredith Henne Baker. She is writing a book about the remarkable impact of Virginia’s gardening women on the state’s landscape and policies and will share with us how the women’s conservation and civic efforts engaged, educated, and impacted youth.

The Kent-Valentine House at 12 E Franklin Street is a short walk from the symposium hotel.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Open House
Wednesday, July 13, 4:30 – 6:30pm
included in full symposium and Wednesday registration

credit Richmond Region Tourism

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden is excited to host the 2022 National Children & Youth Garden Symposium attendees. Join us for a delightful summer evening exploring the garden and meeting fellow symposium attendees while sampling light seasonal fare and refreshing beverages.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden was founded in 1984 as a community oriented, non-profit garden. It was made possible by Grace Arents, a Richmond philanthropist who bequeathed funds to create a botanical garden. Grace wished to honor her beloved uncle Lewis Ginter (1824-1897) and her will stipulates the name of the Garden.

Today, the Garden is comprised of 82 acres and includes more than a dozen themed garden areas. A classical domed Conservatory is the only one of its kind in the mid-Atlantic. Themed gardens include a Children’s Garden, Rose Garden, Asian Valley and Cherry Tree Walk. Pathways will draw you to parts of the garden that delight you around every turn. Come explore secret spaces, learn about plant collections, and enjoy world-class botanical displays.

Concurrent Themed Tours
Thursday, July 14 9:00am – noon
included in full symposium and Thursday registration

Select one of the following tours to get a closer look at garden spaces in and around Richmond, Virginia.

The school garden tour is always one of the most popular event on our symposium schedule! This year we will visit Linwood Holton Elementary, Patrick Henry Charter Elementary, Martin Luther King Jr. Middle, and John B. Carey Elementary, an ECO Campus Green School.

Choose the urban greenspaces tour to find out how Richmond’s community organizations are leading the charge to provide more equitable access to nature and healthy foods in an urban environment. This tour will stop at the Lowline GardensBellemeade ParkShalom Farms, and the Neighborhood Resource Center.

The healing gardens tour will visit a variety of spaces that harness the therapeutic power of nature to heal and mend physical and emotional trauma, recover from addiction, and mitigate stress and anxiety. Stops include Bridge Gardens at Sheltering Arms, RVA Behavioral Health’s residential facility, the University of Richmond’s meditation gardens, and the historic Evergreen Cemetery.

Maymont Open House
Friday, July 15, 10:30am – 1:00pm
included in full symposium and Friday registration

credit Virginia Tourism Corporation

On Friday morning, we will visit another preeminent Virginia garden attraction, Maymont. Today, Maymont’s 100 acres feature numerous attractions including a Gilded Age mansion, nature center, and arboretum. But for many, Maymont’s magnificent gardens and landscapes can not be rivaled. The grounds and gardens are like nothing else in the City of Richmond—expansive, unique, well-maintained and ever-changing.

Maymont’s spectacular Italian Garden, Japanese Garden and Arboretum are highlights of any garden tour. Additionally, many smaller specialty gardens exist at Maymont. NCYGS attendees can explore Maymont at their own pace accompanied by audio tours of the mansion, gardens, and grounds, visit the Robins Nature Center, and interact and learn from Maymont staff stationed around the site. We will wrap up our symposium with lunch at the Robins Nature Center’s West Terrace.

Transportation from Lewis Ginter to Maymont will be provided. At the close of the symposium, transportation will be provided to return to the symposium hotel downtown.

Post-symposium experience

Flora Finding with Gallery5
Friday, July 15 3:00 – 5:00pm
additional registration required

For a relaxing winddown after a busy week, join resident plant enthusiast Joelle for a stroll through the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood. This neighborhood nature walk is a great way to see the area and learn more about plants and flowers with an emphasis on what it means to be native and how plants migrate. Upon our return, we will enjoy a happy hour beverage and snacks and a chance to revisit the gallery exhibition, Immigrants, through a new lens. Immigrants is a collection of art by immigrant artists in Richmond coupled with the Valentine Museum’s interpretive panels on the history of the Latino population in Richmond.

Gallery5 is an award-winning, community-motivated visual and performing art center that has become a premier arts venue for local and regional audiences. Through extensive collaboration with cultural, educational, environmental and social organizations, Gallery5 is paving the way for positive community change. Gallery5 showcases cutting-edge contemporary art exhibitions that are designed to further innovation in our region and encourage dialogue among artists and audiences. 

Gallery5 is located in Richmond’s Historic Jackson Ward district. The gallery opened its doors on April 15, 2005 in an effort to save the life of a National Historic Landmark known as Steamer Company No. 5. Built in 1849, Steamer Company No. 5, is Virginia’s oldest firehouse and Richmond’s oldest police station and jailhouse.