VISIT & explore

Summer splash: Ways to play with water in the Children’s Garden

When the midsummer heat has you sweltering, a visit to the Children’s Garden can help cool down the kids while creating fun family memories.
“The best time to visit is first thing in the morning or after 3 p.m. That way, you avoid the crowds—and the midday heat. Some days, it’s like having the Children’s Garden to yourself,” suggests Lesley Kolaya, manager of youth and family programs.
Start your water explorations with a visit to the Kugel Ball. This solid granite ball, weighing in at one ton, rests on a bed of water, making it easy for even little ones to push and turn the sphere.
Next, wander into the Backyard Discovery Gardens and find the spitting frogs. In the touch tank where they live, find a variety of smooth, large stones that kids can feel, pick up and stack. Adults and kids alike have fun redirecting the water streaming from the frogs’ mouths.
Travel deeper into the Backyard Gardens and find the red water pumps in the Windmill Garden, Purple Garden, Fairy Pollinator Garden, and Recycled Garden. In the Every Which Way area, pump the water onto the water table and watch where it goes.
Next, it’s time to move up to the Adventure Woods. Peel off your socks and shoes and step onto the stones in the Wonder Pond. In the water, keep an eye out for big bullfrog tadpoles and frogs and get an up-close look at the Dragonfly Nursery.
Cross the bridge and follow the water source until you find the Secret Stream. Kids can wade in the water, moving rocks while cooling off.
Don’t forget to bring your camera! Share your photos at Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram #mortonarboretum.