Step into a whimsical forest of discovery at Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden’s newest feature, the Scotts Miracle-Gro Children’s Garden. From the moment kids enter the two-acre garden through the children’s special forest archway, they are swept away to an enchanted world. All of your child’s senses will be delighted by the lush local colors, and the many hands-on activities offered.
Each winding path at the Children’s Garden leads to a new adventure! One path leads to children banging on musical instruments, creating a symphony for all to hear. Another leads to children playing house at an organic mud and hay playhouse, or kids putting on a puppet show!
All of the paths at the gardens loop and intertwine; they are beautifully lined with native flowers and greens. One of the most unique experiences is the canopy walk, with its rope bridges, large nest perch, and gigantic hammock lounge where kids can frolic and bounce or just watch the clouds and daydream. One path that can be seen from the canopy walk is not just a path, but also a work of art! When seen from above, the mosaic stones and landscaping transforms before your eyes as a spotted salamander makes itself known.
All paths lead to a major highlight of the Children’s Garden, the My Ohio Woods section, which is home to the Green Man carving, and an amazing water play area. The cascading waterfall creates shallow pools in the sandstone creek, where children can wade and cool off during these hot summer months. Be sure to pack a swimsuit, or an extra set of clothes to change into — your kids are going to want to splash and play in this fun spot.
Youngsters will find many chances to run, jump, and stretch their legs at the Children’s Garden, but there is also the opportunity to find peace, and tranquility. The Reading Garden is the perfect nook to nestle up with a good book in a rocking chair. Or try having a quiet conversation as you sit on the whisper bench, a semicircle bench designed to make tiny whispers travel from one side to the other. The Faery Garden’s fairy dwellings are tiny, intricate, and extremely detailed- they will captivate the minds and hearts of anyone who looks at them! There is also a fairy home building station, where kids can try their hand at creating tiny houses. These are all great wind down activities, where kids can take a little rest before they zoom off to their next adventure.
Whatever paths you take at the Scott’s Miracle-Gro Children’s Garden, you are sure to be swept off your feet to a world of whimsy and wonder! But that is not all there is to explore at the Franklin Conservatory! There is SO much more. You could spend hours wandering the conservatory, and botanical garden grounds. Some of the highlights include desert, mountain, and rainforest biomes; and through September 16, the Blooms and Butterflies exhibition features hundreds of butterflies flying effortlessly amongst breathtaking Chihuly glassworks. There is also a play garden and market for kids to showcase their creativity, a train display, and a giant light brite! Just like the whimsical Children’s Garden, the conservatory offers up something new and exciting around every corner.
Franklin Park Conservatory & Botanical Gardens
1777 E. Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43203
Open Daily 10:00 am – 5:00 pm (excluding Thanksgiving and Christmas)
General Admission 13-59: $18
Seniors 60+: $15
Children’s Admission 3-12: $11
Children 2 and under: free
Looking to explore more in Columbus and make it a full day trip? Our Columbus itinerary included the following, before we hit the road to home with THREE sleeping children (Yes! Winning!!!).
541 S. Drexel Ave
Bexley, OH 43209
We checked out the cutest gluten, nut, and dairy free bakery! It was close to the Conservatory, and it was SO tasty. We had sugar cookies, donuts, and an amazing espresso brownie. It was a sweet start to our day, for sure.
A Visit to COSI
333 West Broad St.
Columbus, OH 43215
After our visit to the Conservatory, we headed to COSI. The new Lost Egypt exhibit opened the day of our excursion, and my Egyptologist son needed to see it. I don’t blame his sense of urgency, because the exhibit was really, really cool. We learned how the pyramids were engineered using pulleys, that animals and humans were mummified, and we were all captivated by the many types of amulets. There is also a great photo opp with a giant fake camel. Of course there is more to explore in the three levels COSI, including exhibits that focus on water, space, dinosaurs, and so much more. There is even a great toddler zone, with age appropriate, interactive components, too!
I’m going to interrupt this COSI information for a brief museum membership discussion…
Are you a Cincinnati Museum Center member? You should be! The children’s museum is currently open, there is a new Mission Aerospace exhibit, and the rest of the museums will be reopening in phases starting in November. Another great benefit is the reciprocity! Show your membership card and valid ID for free admission to COSI!!! If you plan on traveling this summer, use your card to get free or discounted tickets…
-to participating locations in the Association of Science & Technology Centers passport program
-to participating locations in the Time Travelers history network
-to participating locations in the Association of Children’s Museums reciprocal program (benefit for Family Premium)
Delicious Lunch at Dirty Frank’s
248 S. 4th Street
Columbus, OH 43215
After doing SO much walking, and running, we were spent, and starting to drop like flies. We needed to fill up our tanks before we hit the road, so we got Dirty Frank’s to-go. If you like BLT’s, I would recommend the BLT hotdog — a bacon-wrapped deep-fried frank topped with lettuce, tomato, and a squirt of mayo. And who doesn’t love tater tots? And Dirty Frank’s serves them up right, hot and fresh. Yum! Definitely a family friendly lunch stop, be sure to check it out the next time you are in Columbus.