Look Up! Look Down! Look all Around! There is so much to see.
Thanks to a generous gift from the Rex and Alice A. Martin Foundation, the Children’s Garden opened in August of 2018.
The Children’s Garden’s design objectives include:
- To create an environment in which inquiry-based nature play and programming occur;
- To explore the interdependence of life and water;
- To support child cognitive and motor development through child-centered and age-appropriate activity and material selection;
- To serve as a center for school, youth, and family programming; and
- To provide access to the [future] Wetland Conservation Area west of Christiana Creek.
The Children’s Garden features:
- Entry Plaza – A tall steel ‘banner’ reads “Children’s Garden” and is visible from a distance. Guests enter across a circular plaza with raised seat walls for gathering and beautiful terrazzo flooring emulating the stream that runs below, complete with granite native fish silhouettes. Can you recognize some of our native fish in the stone cutout shapes? The four columns of the entry plaza feature colorful, whimsical kinetic sculptures by Seattle artist Andrew Carson. The water from the South Pond cascades over a concrete weir and flows beneath the Entry Plaza and through the channel before exiting to Christiana Creek.
- A Meadow Crawl Tunnel, beneath native Indiana tallgrass prairie species including wildflowers and other plants.
- Wetland boardwalk and water cannons.
- Triple drinking fountain and bottle fill tap (which doubles as a convenient foot washer if the need presents itself!)
- Floating Lily Pad Bridge which connects the Children’s Garden to the Adventure Path across South Pond.
- Flowing stream with three tributaries and laminar jet ‘water arches’; How many waterfalls can you find? You can control the flow of the water with the three valves located at the top!
- A garden growing area with raised beds, arbor, and sustainably-built Tool Shed featuring ‘slip-straw’ and plaster wall construction, a cedar shingle roof, repurposed stone, bricks, windows, doors, and wine-bottle glass insert highlights.
- An outdoor Amphitheater with shade sails and step seating.
- A sustainable, living ‘green roof’ of Sedum and Indiana wildflowers on top of the existing Well House.
- Elevated walkways with beautiful views of Christiana Creek under a shaded canopy of huge sycamore trees.
- Tiki Hut round structure with “thatched” roof. Look beneath to discover the ‘Exploration Cabinets’ that include nature games, books, and other materials.
- The Tree House is the highest point in the Children’s Garden. Kids, check out the Crow’s Nest Swing Chairs! (Adults, we’ve got you covered, too – – enjoy the Adirondack and rocking chairs!) What do you observe on TOP of the Tree House?
- Explore the Down Under play area, rest in a boulder nook, and explore the pathway under the elevated deck leading to our Boulder Wall.
Children’s Garden Guidelines
We invite you to PLAY! Our most important guideline is RESPECT. In the interest of preserving a safe, educational and family-friendly environment for our guests and a secure habitat for our plants, wildlife and property, please observe the following:
- LOOK and LISTEN: These gardens are filled with life everywhere! The plants, animals and insects are at home in our gardens. Walk carefully so you do not step on plants. Watch from a distance so we don’t scare animals away and let all the living things go about their business of growing, eating and moving.
- Explore Together: Children should accompany their adults in the Children’s Garden.
- Walk on the Paths: Help protect our flowers and wildlife by walking only on the paths. Enjoy observing the flower beds, waterfalls, and boulders from the walk paths.
- Put it back where you found if: If you use a tool or read a book or play with a garden resource, put it back where you found it so you can use it again on your next garden visit.
- Respect Wildlife: Please observe with your eyes and ears only and do not feed or interact with wildlife – birds – fish – animals.
- Take only Photographs and Memories. Leave only Footprints: It is tempting to pick beautiful leaves, flowers, and fruits, but please leave them attached to their plants.
- Be Healthy – Be Courteous – No Smoking: The Wellfield Botanic Gardens and parking lots are smoke-free.
- Please, No Dogs: While Members can bring their dogs into Wellfield with an Annual Dog Membership, dogs are not allowed within the Children’s Garden.
- Drink water only from the orange, triple drinking fountain (and fill your water bottle on the nozzle on the back of the drinking fountain!)
- Shoes must be worn everywhere, with the exception of the sand play area.