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Children's Garden

Children's Garden 

The Children’s Garden is open with adjusted hours and limited capacity to ensure a safe experience for all. 

Timed-entry passes and tickets to the Arboretum do not guarantee entry to the Children's Garden, which is free with admission and available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

  • Hours: Open daily (weather permitting): 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Early entrance for Arboretum members on Fridays at 9:00 a.m. Please call ahead during snowy or rainy conditions to ensure access. 
  • Capacity limits: Attendance within the Garden will be limited and monitored to ensure guests have ample space to social distance while they explore. When the Garden is full, there may be a wait to enter until space is available. Entry to the Children's Garden is not guaranteed with Arboretum timed-entry admission tickets and passes. 
  • Face masks required: Masks are required for all guests over the age of 2 inside the Children's Garden, including while wading in water or stepping on the stones in Wonder Pond. Masks are also required while waiting in line to enter the Garden.  
  • Entrance and exit: Entry into the area will be through the main Children’s Garden entrance. Guests will exit the Garden through the gate near the picnic tables and restrooms.  
  • Areas closed: Select areas of the Children’s Garden will remain closed. Hands-on exhibits and activities have been removed.  
  • Social distancing: All guests must social distance from other guests and remain six feet apart. 
  • Enhanced cleaning: Garden features and amenities will be sanitized frequently throughout the day. 
  • Restrooms: The Children’s Garden restrooms will be open for use and are cleaned and sanitized frequently.  

As a reminder, advance, online timed-entry passes and tickets are required for all members and guests to enter the Arboretum. Member passes and tickets will not be available on-site.

A separate ticket is not required for the Children’s Garden, which will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Timed-entry passes and tickets to the Arboretum do not guarantee entry to the Garden, which is free with admission.

For more information and instructions for the admission process, visit the timed-entry guide and the admission and timed-entry FAQ. If you have questions about the new process to reserve member timed-entry passes or guest tickets, please email tickets@mortonarb.org.

If you have questions about your membership, please email membersmail@mortonarb.org.

Visit the Know Before You Go webpage for updates and more visiting tips.

For more information regarding the Arboretum’s coronavirus (COVID-19) prevention efforts, please visit this webpage.

Stay connected with the Arboretum during this time through online learning opportunities, and by following Arboretum FacebookTwitter, and Instagram social media channels.

About the Children's Garden

At The Morton Arboretum, imagination lives, curiosity grows, and kids flourish in the Children’s Garden. Splash through secret streams, climb colossal acorns, and slide down giant tree roots all day long. Explore, learn, and play among trees and the natural world.

The Children's Garden includes two main garden areas: Backyard Discovery Gardens and Adventure Woods, linked by a Central Plaza. The three areas incorporate ten themed gardens, each with engaging and interactive activities that children will find irresistible.


A map of the Children's Garden at The Morton Arboretum.

PDF iconPrintable Map of Children's Garden (PDF)


Central Plaza

Central Plaza is the entrance to the garden and serves as a space for orientation and making connections to other areas of the Children's Garden. learn more

Backyard Discovery Gardens

Backyard Discovery Gardens present familiar things that children might recognize in their own backyard, in a way that encourages deeper exploration. learn more

Adventure Woods 

Adventure Woods present the world beyond the backyard and show how the trees and plants in the Children's Garden reflect those of the Arboretum at large and the rest of the natural world. learn more



The Children's Garden is open daily (weather permitting) from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Please call ahead during snowy or rainy conditions to ensure access.

Closed during severe weather and Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

Children under 16 must be accompanied by an adult while visiting the Children's Garden.


The tadpoles that hatch each spring in the Children's Garden are American toads. This is a natural occurrence and their arrival depends on the temperature of the water.

Beyond the Children's Garden 

To nurture your family's love of nature, we recommend you also explore beyond the Children's Garden. There are paths to bike or hike on, groves of trees to explore, and gardens with interpretation to enrich your experience. 

Room to Explore

The entire Arboretum has been certified as a Nature Explore Classroom, rich with opportunities for healthy learning. The unique areas of the Children's Garden work as casual, outdoor classrooms that blend active learning and multi-sensory adventures. They include interactive elements like musical instruments made of natural materials, gardens designed to encourage home planting (some managed by students), and natural materials for visitors to build and create art. Research consistently shows that children who learn and grown in Nature Explore Classrooms exhibit enhanced concentration, develop creativity and problem-solving techniques, manage stress in healthy ways and develop skills across the spectrum of academic and creative learning. 

Nature Explore Certified Classroom logo