If you’re on the look-out for somewhere more exotic to take the family one weekend, it is worth considering a visit to the Miracle Gardens on the Huangpu riverfront. This 430,000 square meter of cultivated land blends theme park facilities with curated botanical features, making it a great day-trip destination for the whole family to visit together.
The iGreen Design Group conceived the idea to rejuvenate the riverside swampland into a botanical park. This collective of horticulturalists and landscape architects had worked on a similar project in the suburbs of Yangzhou before they decided to transport the concept to Shanghai in 2016.
The theme and appearance of the garden change from season to season which means this first look is for their spring 2018 Miraculous Flowers, Light & Art show. The details described below are, therefore, subject to changes.
The Gaudí Castle & Flower Carpet
Upon entering the main gate, the majestic sight of the 'Gaudí Castle' welcomes visitors. Though not as grand as the original in Barcelona, this freestanding structure is covered entirely with colored, potted plants.
Families can find a balcony to appreciate the ravishing 'Miracle Flower Carpet.' This collection of flower beds form the shape of a butterfly which illuminates by colorful neon lights at night, a magnificent sight to see from the castle balcony or the encircling skywalk.
Another feature which the planners at iGreen pride themselves on is the inclusion of artistic input. This spring-summer season, Miracle Gardens has collaborated with the Israeli-born painter Basmat Levin and local artist Zhang Zhanzhan to realize two indoor exhibitions and a range of outdoor installations. Notably, Zhang has placed a dozen unpainted bear sculptures outside the gallery space for kids diagnosed with ASD (Autism spectrum disorder) symptoms to channel their creativity through painting. More therapy and charity events like this, which aim to help communities in need, are also in the pipeline.
Exploring the Grounds
Like other suburban parks in Shanghai, the Miracle Gardens integrates existing geographical characters on site to create a dynamic visiting experience for families. Think interlacing waterways and lakes on which families can paddle a boat. As for land-lovers, hop on a miniature train or hire a four-wheeled tandem bike to experience the grounds from a different perspective.
At the moment, the Miracle Gardens has incorporated a mix of fictional characters from the beloved Alice in Wonderland stories and its Marco Polo animations. The latter, produced by iGreens, is roughly based on the medieval Italian voyager’s journey to east Asia, and a water screening of the animated show is available at 8pm every evening.
Food & Drinks
There are three restaurants on the food scene at Miracle Gardens. All serve the same kid-friendly options like spaghetti bolognese, fried chicken, a selection of cakes and freshly squeezed juices.
Make the most of your day-trip and combine your visit with a wander around the adjacent Pujiang Country Park. Don’t forget to visit Miracle Garden’s flower shop (located outside the main gate) for pots of budget-priced flowers and herbs before you leave.
Miracle Gardens’ 2018 spring Miraculous Flowers, Light & Art show runs until June 18. RMB100; RMB50 (concession); free for those below 1.3 meters. Open daily 8.30am-10pm. See a listing for Miracle Gardens here.