The last port on our Alaskan Cruise was in Victoria, BC. Our scheduled shore excursion for this port was the world-renowned Butchart Gardens. Can I be honest here? We booked the Alaskan cruise to get out of the Texas summer heat and to see mountains and glaciers and bears and whales and by day seven of the cruise, we had seen what we came to see.
According to the itinerary, we would dock in Victoria in the late afternoon on the last day of the cruise, get on a bus at 6:00 in the evening to ride out to Butchart Gardens. After the tour, we would get back to the ship about 11:00, just in time for a few hours sleep before we had to disembark at 7 am and prepare for a long day getting home.
I had seen gardens before. My hometown of Houston has great gardens. I had visited gardens in many other cities. Did I really need to see one more garden? I was ready just to relax on the ship, have a cocktail, a nice dinner and then turn in early.
But since the excursion was already PAID FOR, I decided to go. And I am SO GLAD I did. You see, Butchart Gardens are truly special and are like nothing I have ever seen! Here are the 5 Best Reasons Not To Miss The Stunningly Beautiful Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC.
5 Best Reasons Not To Miss the Stunningly Beautiful Butchart Gardens
Visit Butchart Gardens For Its History
The motor coach that took us from the ship to Butchart Gardens came with the most wonderful tour guide. In addition to showing us the sites around GORGEOUS Victoria (note: must come back here when I have more time), he told us why Butchart Gardens, established in 1904, was a Canadian national treasure and a designated National Historic Site of Canada.
Butchart Gardens were the creation of Jennie Butchart, who had the vision of beautifying an old limestone quarry that was part of her husband Robert’s cement plant. When you see pictures of what the gardens USED to be, you quickly realize that Jennie Butchart was an extraordinary visionary.
Visit Butchart Gardens Because All The Cool Kids Are Going
If you are a person who has to see and be seen where EVERYBODY IS GOING, Butchart Gardens is the place for you. It is visited by over a million visitors annually.
At Butchart Gardens, You Get To See 7 Gardens in 1!
The gardens are a skillful mixture of rare and exotic shrubs, trees and flowers, many of which were collected by the Butcharts during their world travels. Over the years, the 55 -acre Butchart Gardens have continually expanded to become 7 different gardens with plants from countries around the world.
- Sunken Garden
- Rose Garden
- Japanese Garden
- Star Pond
- Italian Garden
- Mediterranean Garden
Visit Butchart Gardens to enjoy all the plants, flowers and so much more!
Way to state the obvious, duh? Like I said before, I thought going to Butchart Gardens would be like visiting any other garden. It’s not. Spend time here walking along the paths of perennials, trees, and shrubs. See ponds, fountains, Quarry Lake and the Rose Carousel. There are so many varieties of plants, trees, flowers and shrubs, you will see many that you have never seen before.
Visit Butchart Gardens for the Seed and Gift Store
More than just an afterthought, as are so many tourist attraction gift shops, this expansive gift shop features hand packaged seeds, souvenirs and handmade gifts from local artisans.
Other things to know about Butchart Gardens
- While strolling through the Gardens, there are a number of places that require walking up and down stairs. If stairs are an obstacle, there are routes you can take to avoid stairs and still see the gardens. These routes are well-marked.
- Butchart Gardens has 3 restaurants. The Dining Room Restaurant for Tea and Fine Dining. The Blue Poppy Restaurant, a moderately priced cafeteria. The Coffee Shop with sandwiches, pastries, ice-cream and coffee.
Hours for all three vary by season. Since we were visiting in the evening, we planned to have dinner at the Gardens. By the time we were ready to eat, the Coffee Shop was the only restaurant that was open. Keep this in mind when you visit. Check to see when the restaurants are open and plan accordingly.
I’m so glad that we spent the evening visiting Butchart Gardens on the last night of our Alaskan Cruise. Having the time to enjoy such a peaceful environment filled with beauty was the perfect way to end our vacation.
Going on an Alaskan cruise and don’t know what to pack? I was in the same boat and took WAY TOO MUCH! Download my packing list based on WHAT I ACTUALLY WORE here: What I Packed For My Alaskan Cruise.
Read about my “do-it-yourself” shore excursion in Juneau featuring a tram ride to the top of Mt. Roberts and a delicious King Crab Dinner! Juneau, AK Shore Excursion