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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

WRAL Gardens

Posted March 8, 2006

I don’t mean to brag but the WRAL Gardens in Raleigh are simply breathtaking. I really hope you will find some time this spring to check out the azaleas and other flowering plants. If you are not familiar with the area we are located on Western Boulevard in Raleigh across from NC State University near the Mission Valley Shopping Center. Just look for the tall tower. A quick history lesson. The WRAL Gardens opened to the public in 1959, three years after WRAL-TV went on the air as the first UHF station in Raleigh.
“I did it because I knew it would be beautiful,” said CBC Founder A.J. Fletcher of his beloved gardens. “It was simply my way of paying a tribute to beauty for beauty's sake.”
We have had thousands of visitors over the years and many questions crop up. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers:
Q: Can I schedule a wedding service in the WRAL Azalea Gardens?
A: Unfortunately, no. Due to facilities limitations, WRAL Azalea Gardens will not be able to accommodate wedding services and is therefore suspending this facet of operation. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Q: Is there a cost for touring the garden?
A: No cost. The garden is free and open to the public.
Q: When can I visit the WRAL Azalea Gardens?
A: The garden is open year round from dawn until dusk.
Q: Does my group need to make reservations to visit?
A: No. Feel free to stop by the gardens anytime for a self-guided tour.
Q: I would like my bridal portrait taken in the gardens. Do I need a reservation?A: Yes. To avoid conflicts with other events, please make a reservation.
Q: Are food and beverage allowed?
A: Feel free to bring a picnic basket with food and drink to enjoy at one of the WRAL Gardens ' picnic tables, benches or spread out on the grass. However, no grilling is allowed due to fire hazard concerns. Alcoholic beverages are prohibited as well. Please carry out whatever you bring in, including all trash.
Q: Is smoking allowed?
A: No. Because of the threat fire poses to the foliage in the gardens, smoking is prohibited. One small blaze could wipe out the entire garden.
Q: Are pets allowed?
A: No. Due to insurance liability reasons we cannot allow pets.
Q: How large are the grounds ?
A: The total area of the grounds encompasses 5 acres. The WRAL Azalea Gardens by itself is a total of 3/4 of an acre.
Q: Are there any rest areas?
A: Yes. There are many benches available throughout the garden.
Q: What is the best time to visit the WRAL Azalea Gardens?
A: Spring is the best time to visit.
Q: How many varieties of azaleas are there?
A: There are 45 different varieties.
Q: Where can I park ?
A: Abundant parking is directly across from the gardens, is marked and is free.
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