Within the four acres of The Morton Arboretum’s award-winning Children’s Garden lies Wonder Pond, a place where kids can explore an underwater world teeming with life and learn about the relationship between trees, plants, and water. This May, visitors will discover an enhanced Wonder Pond experience and other renovations as the Arboretum introduces improvements to the garden.
At Wonder Pond, a new 360-degree walkway at the popular feature circles the water’s edge, offering better accessibility and expanded viewing space. New custom log benches provide more seating.
Also recently refurbished is the garden’s support building, which was modified to accommodate program management needs of staff and volunteers who help develop the next generation of environmental stewards through exploration, learning, and play in the tree-focused garden.
Improvements to Wonder Pond and the support building are funded by The Morton Arboretum’s five-year, $63 million Growing Brilliantly capital campaign.
Another improvement in the Children’s Garden is the Picnic Pavilion, a shaded spot for family gatherings and birthday parties, sheltered by a new leaf-shaped roof.
“From a more accessible and engaging Wonder Pond to the beautifully-shaded Picnic Pavilion, the Children’s Garden enhancements will delight children and their families who come to explore, make memories, and develop a love of trees and the natural world," said Sue Wagner, vice president of education and information at The Morton Arboretum.
A Splashy Celebration in the Children’s Garden - Saturday, May 19
In celebration of these new enhancements, the Arboretum is hosting A Splashy Celebration in the Children’s Garden on Saturday, May 19. The frog-themed open house will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. and features live music from top children’s performers Miss Jamie’s Farm and Duke Otherwise as well as story times featuring characters from the "Frog and Toad" books by Arnold Lobel. Additionally, families can take part in frog-inspired activities and crafts. While there, families can search the shallow waters for American toad tadpoles that visit the space every spring. The event is free with Arboretum admission.
Welcoming 325,000 children and adults every year, the Children’s Garden has become a favorite of visitors since opening in 2005. The Children’s Garden includes two main sections: Backyard Discovery Gardens and Adventure Woods, linked by the Central Plaza. In the three areas are ten themed gardens, each with engaging and interactive activities that encourage a connection to trees and the natural environment.
In addition to the Children’s Garden enhancements, funds raised through the campaign have supported critical tree-focused initiatives, including the Arboretum’s tree conservation and New Plant Development programs and the launch of the Center for Tree Science, as well as the construction of a new curatorial and operations center, vehicle support building, and expanded plant production facilities.
About The Morton Arboretum Growing Brilliantly Campaign
The five-year, $63 million Growing Brilliantly campaign will enable The Morton Arboretum, one of the world’s leading tree-focused research institutions, to deepen its scientific and conservation work, expand new tree development, and improve core facilities to meet its strategic vision, including the redevelopment of South Farm, which serves as the curatorial and operations hub for the 1,700-acre Arboretum. In addition to supporting the new South Farm complex and plant production facilities, the campaign will fund critical initiatives, including the Arboretum’s tree conservation and New Plant Development programs, enhancements to the award-winning Children’s Garden, and the launch of the Center for Tree Science. The Center for Tree Science will provide opportunities for tree scientists, professionals, and students to collaborate and participate in training.