Family Activities in the Garden

A Garden for Families and Children

Just like the natural world, the Alfond Children’s Garden is ever-changing. Every day is different, filled with attractions and activities to invoke the imagination for families and children of all ages. Try talking to each other through the stone wall dragons, or discover what adventure awaits across the rope bridge in the treehouse. Back down on earth, search for turtles and tadpoles in our pond. Trace your steps along the lawn maze, then see what’s growing in the Learning Garden and greenhouse. While you’re there, drop by for a visit with our resident chickens and check for eggs before capping your adventure with an impromptu outdoor concert with nature-inspired instruments.

Looking for summer camps and and classes? Educational programming is happening this season for kids from pre-school through high school.

Family Explorations in the Gardens

Field Notebook

Become a Gardens explorer—pick up a field notebook from the front desk when you arrive, and use it to discover something extra special in every garden. See how many of the creatures, sculptures, shapes, plants, and colors you can find in the Gardens in this nature-based scavenger hunt.

Learning Apiary

Intrigued by bees? The Learning Apiary is a safe, family-friendly look into the moment-to-moment lives of our sixteen resident hives. Learn about honey bee communities, their role at the Gardens, and—if you happen to catch them in action—ask questions of our resident beekeeper!

Fairy House Village

Past the Bear Cave and along the Backwoods Trail lies a village unlike any you’ve ever encountered. Add your own creative, architectural stamp on this hillside fairy village by using the tree bark, stones, sticks, and leaf litter gracing the ground. Build your own whimsical fairy house and add to the existing magical community.

Discover the Alfond Children’s Garden

Explore two acres of woods, ponds, and theme gardens inspired by well-known children’s books by Maine authors, including Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee (Chris Van Dusen), Burt Dow, Deep-Water Man and Blueberries for Sal (Robert McCloskey), Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White), and The Stone Wall Dragon (Rochelle Draper). The garden is divided into a series of spaces, each with its own identity and focus. Attractions include Burt Dow’s Tidely Idely, Sal’s bear, a willow gazebo, learning garden, greenhouse, chicken coop, Wilbur the Pig weathervane, and so much more.

Children dressed up as fairies enjoying the bronze statue of Sal's Bear, inspired by Blueberries for Sal. Fairies visiting Sal’s Bear, a bronze statue by Nany Schon. This piece is based on the book “Blueberries for Sal” by Robert McCloskey, and is a sister-statue to Make Way For Ducklings in the Boston Public Garden.

Scheduled Activities

Though activities vary daily, no matter when you visit, there’s something happening in the Children’s Garden. Catch storytime with our beloved “Story Lady” Pat, drop in on a live puppet show, or participate in tasting of garden-grown produce. Due to COVID-19, activities are subject to change. Check out the kiosk in the lobby of the Visitor Center for specific activities and times during your visit.

Storytime with Pat

May-June

Monday and Wednesday
10:30-11:30 a.m.
Under the Seagull Pavilion, Bibby and Harold Alfond Children’s Garden

July-August

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday
10:30-11:30 a.m.
Under the Seagull Pavilion, Bibby and Harold Alfond Children’s Garden

Fridays in July and August will feature fairy-themed stories.