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Experience the World鈥檚 Climates at the Beijing Botanical Garden
Beijing’s Western Hills offer a bit of respite from the city sites, and at the foot of Fragrant Hills, the Botanical Garden beckons with acres of gardens, and historical and religious sites. Towards the middle of the grounds, the large Conservatory offers a further escape from city life with displays of various climates and plant life. 
Walk towards the back, past the central garden area, which is also worth a stroll around. Many people bring small tents to hang out and play or eat in the garden areas. There are sometimes bouncy houses and carnival type games spread around, along with of course plenty of overpriced shops selling souvenirs, toys and snacks.
Eventually you will reach the Conservatory. Enter through the carnivorous plant section in the far end (though good luck spotting any Venus fly traps). From there head up into the desert and prepare for some desert heat. A variety of cacti and other desert life are on display here. 
From here, change temperature and get a little humid in the tropics. This is easily the best part of the Conservatory. There are at least two waterfalls and a suspension bridge crossing one area, with various jungle plants and flowers growing everywhere. Children are likely to want to spend the most time here. The whole Conservatory is a popular site for wedding photographs. 
But that is just one part of what is a huge grounds. Besides the garden areas, all the way back in the far north is also a large Sleeping Buddha. And for the literary and historical buffs, the grounds also house a memorial to Cao Xueqin, author of A Dream of Red Mansions, and the tomb of Qing Dynasty reformist Liang Qichao. 
CNY 10 will get you onto the grounds, but it’s worth getting a combo ticket to see everything. That’s 50 for adults and 40 for children. Children under 1.2 metres are free. There is no subway yet, but several buses stop outside the Botanical Garden. Be prepared for traffic and crowds on weekends and public holidays. Eating choices on grounds are limited. If the weather suits, bring a picnic. Or boxed lunches can be had an average around CNY 20.
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