About the Children's Garden
When it first opened nearly 20 years ago, River Farm’s popular Children’s Garden was one of the first dedicated children’s gardens in North America. Initially designed and constructed by school groups and professional landscape designers, the Children’s Garden is made up of 13 small themed gardens designed to stimulate children’s interest in plants and nature. It offers a safe, hands-on experience, encouraging interaction and unstructured "loose parts play" that is now recommended by educators as part of a creative learning environment that stimulates children's imaginations.
Part of the appeal for children is the miniature scale of the individual garden areas, which range from a maze of tropical banana trees to a little house on the prairie garden, a vine-covered "igloo", and a cool bat cave. The gardens are designed to provide a multi-sensory experience, with fragrant flowers and herbs, colorful blooms and butterflies, rustling foliage, and a variety of textured materials
Although kids are the focus of the Children’s Garden, it is also a perfect place for family fun. Benches and tables located nearby allow adults to keep an eye on activities while fostering independence. Once children have had a chance to explore, they are sure to want to show off what they have discovered, providing an opportunity for family interaction.
Thanks to the work of our dedicated volunteers and staff, these gardens delight the child in all of us. Whether you explore them as part of a play date, an outdoor picnic, or reserve them for a children’s birthday party, they will offer creative learning experiences and vigorous outdoor play.