Lake Norman & Mooresville

Explore lush, tropical gardens

Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens

6500 South New Hope Road, Belmont. 704-825-4490.

Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

Activities: Guests can wander through Formal Display Gardens, Perennial Gardens, a Willow Maze and an Orchid Conservatory that displays tropical plants and orchids. The gardens offer educational classes and family and youth programs. The Garden Store has a selection of gardening books, handmade pottery, artwork and gifts.

Cost: $12 for adults, $11 for seniors 60 and older, $6 for children 4-12. Free to garden members and children under 4. Group rates available.

Target audience: All ages.

Directions from uptown: From South Church Street, merge right onto I-277 S. Continue onto US-74 W. Turn left at North Main Street. Slight right at North Central Avenue. Turn right at South Main Street. Continue onto Armstrong Ford Road. Turn left at North Carolina 279 E/S New Hope Road. Gardens will be on the right.

Distance from Charlotte: About 30 minutes.