The outdoor Children’s Garden at the U.S. Botanic Gardens has long been one my family’s favorite “hidden spots” to explore in DC, so I was a little apprehensive when I heard it was going to be remodeled.
I recently brought three of my children aged 2, 6, and 9, for our first visit to the new garden and I am happy to report that it did not disappoint and is an improvement over the old garden. The new Children’s Garden is very hands-on. Children can choose a real, living plant, dig soil in one of several planting beds to plant it, and then fill up a water can to help their plant along.
I appreciated the opportunity for my kids to really see how plants are planted by literally digging in. In case that’s not enough digging, there is a large digging area equipped with full-sized shovels. Another great new feature of the Children’s Garden is the large climbing structure in the middle with a rope bridge that gives the garden a fun, playground-like feel.
Nice for accompanying parents and caregivers is that additional seating has been added, much of it in the shade. Also, because the Children’s Garden is outdoors, eating and drinking is permitted. There is also a nice misting station for cooling down and, of course, lots of beautiful flowers.
The Children’s Garden is a great destination on its own or as part of an overall visit to the U.S. Botanic Gardens, which is nice to walk around and has plenty to do with kids including a room with hidden dinosaur eggs and footprints, a tropical room, and more. Since the Botanic Gardens is located just off the National Mall it also makes a nice add-on to visiting another museum like the close-by National Museum of the American Indian or Air and Space Museum.
Additional Fun Facts
- Admission to the U.S. Botanic Gardens, including the Children’s Garden, is free.
- The gardens are open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Note that the Children’s Garden is open seasonally and does close in the winter.
- The facility is stroller-friendly.
- There is limited metered street parking available near the U.S. Botanic Gardens. You can take the metro and get off at the Federal Center SW Metro station, which is nearby.
Photos courtesy of Jamie Davis Smith.