The Semmozhi Poonga Botanical Garden on Cathedral Road has grown to become ideal for a family outing, date with bae, photoshoots and, of course, a kids day out. Set up in 2010 by the horticultural department of the government of Tamil Nadu, the idea behind the park was to create a lung space in the city for people to enjoy, without having to travel too far. And what a green space it is! Tons of money has been spent on importing exotic species of plants and the park currently has more than 500 species of plants! No, really.
In fact, green thumbs can rejoice at the effort they’ve put in to cataloguing each of the species and placing placards with their scientific names next to them. There’s tall trees, small groves, lush vines, exotic flowers like orchids, green lawns and even ponds! Most importantly, there’s plenty of shade and no annoying 'Don’t walk on the grass signs'. Semmozhi Poonga's most common visitors are young couples and families, which makes sense because the pretty walkways, chirping birds, and overall calm is inviting, and there’s plenty of nice places to take photos.
Ticket prices are fairly nominal with an adult ticket costing about INR 15 and INR 10 for children. There is a small INR 25 fee for carrying a professional camera and a monthly pass costs INR 150. If a picnic is what you’re thinking, be advised that you’re not allowed to bring outside food/drink into the park. There is, however, a small food court inside the park that you can eat at or buy food from. Kids have their own playground with swings, slides, scaffolding to climb on and a sandpit to play in. What we like most about Semmozhi Poonga is that the plants are maintained well and it's super clean. A proper usable government park in the middle of the city is a rarity, and we’re lucky to have it.
If parks are your thing, be sure to check out this list of public parks in Chennai.