Boys playing outdoor xylophone at Dayton‘s Children‘s Discovery Garden (photo by Jan Underwood)

4 Ohio Children’s Gardens to Explore this Summer

These gardens geared toward little ones across the state spark imagination and provide places to play in beautiful settings.

The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden
Located less than 3 miles from the Ohio Statehouse, Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens offers a natural oasis for little ones to explore. The Scotts Miracle-Gro Foundation Children’s Garden has a variety of features across its 2 acres, including the Nature Play Zone, Wetland Explore and themed pocket gardens. Watch hummingbirds search for a taste of nectar, jam out on the wooden turtle drums and explore other stations that celebrate Ohio’s natural landscape.

Nature Play
Tucked among the more than 400 acres of sprawling forests, wetlands and fields at Lake Metroparks’ Penitentiary Glen Reservation in Kirtland sits Nature Play, an outdoor space designed to engage children with active, self-led nature discovery. The 1-acre space features butterfly gardens, tunnels to crawl through, logs to climb and more interactive elements, including an area that allows kids to try their hand at planting a garden.

Children’s Discovery Garden
Part of Dayton’s Five Rivers MetroParks, the Children’s Discovery Garden at Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark offers whimsical botanical displays and interactive experiences. Kids can play a game of musical hide and seek as they discover instruments placed throughout the Music Maze and put their building skills to the test in the sandbox. The Fossil Cave sparks imagination for little ones as they find imprints of creatures who once roamed the Earth.

The Allen County Children’s Garden
In the heart of downtown Lima, The Allen County Children’s Garden is home to more than 30 small, themed gardens that have been a learning space for little ones since 1996. A scavenger hunt takes kids to places like the Dinosaur Garden, Sensory Garden, Leap Frog Lane and Gumball Alley, while annual events such as the Butterfly Migration Celebration offer the chance to see critters up close.