The WOW Children’s Garden offers opportunities for learning and exploration for family members of all ages. Trek across the globe in our world-themed splash fountains and Passport Gardens, climb Discovery Peak to see, smell, and touch edible plants, and take a nature walk through our Plant Safari habitat gardens. Daily activities include guided and self-guided discovery stations, scavenger hunts, crafts, and walking tours.
For our full schedule of programs and events, visit our Children and Family Programs calendar page!
WOW Children’s Garden Hours
Summer Hours: April 1 – October 15 | 9:30AM-6:30PM Daily
Winter Hours: October 16 – March 31 | 9:30AM-4:30PM Daily
- The WOW Children’s Garden is a “risky play” adventure garden with animal habitat areas to observe, off the path spaces to explore, and other obstacles that allow children to assess risk in a natural setting.
- It is recommended children under 14 years old be supervised by an adult chaperone at all times.
- Bicycles, tricycles, and scooters are not permitted in WOW.
- WOW is a smoke-free and alcohol-free area.
- Follow the “golden rule” of nature: Leave everything as you found it.
- Do not feed or attempt to handle wildlife.
Happy 15th birthday to the WOW Children’s Garden!
In September 2021, we celebrated the 15th anniversary of the WOW Children’s Garden. During your next visit, be sure to check out the “then & now” construction photos on Discovery Peak, and throughout the Plant Safari gardens.
WOW Then & Now Photos
Since September 2006, the WOW Children’s Garden has been the backdrop for many fun family photos! As part of the 15th birthday celebration of WOW, we are asking guests and Members who have visited over the years to help us put together a WOW Then & Now photo collection. Send us your “then” photos with the approximate date the photo was taken, and an updated “now” photo. All photo submissions can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your photos might be shared on our social media pages and/or other NBG publications!
Splash your way around the world! Practice your geography as you explore the oceans, continents, and other notable landmarks on Earth.
At the entrance to Discovery Peak visitors will see a wide variety of edible plants that can be grown here in Tidewater. Many of these will be familiar, while others may seem more exotic. To the right are two vertical “living walls” that demonstrate just how little space is needed to grow a garden. Between these walls espalier fruit trees are planted.
As you continue on the Discovery Peak path, you will get a “world tour” of edible and commercial crops grouped by their continent of origin. This is a great place for children to see how cotton and bananas grow, where grapes come from, what sugarcane looks like, and to perhaps get a new appreciation for just how important plants are to humans and wildlife. Grown-ups… with your children, gently touch and smell herbal plants, including mints, dill, oregano and more.
In recent years, Discovery Peak has also been planted with hardy fruit bearing trees and shrubs that do well in our climate. Many of these plants are not only edible, but are also attractive and would make a nice addition to home landscapes. All of the edible plants (and ornamental ones as well) in Discovery Peak are grown using organic pest controls, only as necessary.
THE DIRT FACTORY
This is a great place to dig, climb, and explore. Learn about bugs, plant seeds, and well, play in the dirt! The farm houses are a great place to also encourage your little ones to practice their imaginative free play!
Tell time with your own body on a sundial, mark birthdays on a colossal calendar, and follow a trail through nearly an acre of wetlands, forests, grassland, and desert areas.
Explore the Plant Safari to see four distinct North American habitats.
- Frog Bog. Here you’ll find wetland plants and aquatic life such as frogs, turtles, snakes, and fish who call this area home. Can you pull your way across the bog on our floating bridge?
- Grain Plain. Walk through winding paths of long grasses, and learn about the American Indian agricultural practices.
- Whichway Woods. Stop by the Log Cabin to relax in our shady woods, and then explore the diverse ecosystem living inside a rotting log.
- Prickly Pear Lair. See plants found in the American Southwest, and learn how animals and plants adapt to the survive a desert environment.
Explore different biomes from around the world, and learn about some of the plants found in each environment. Here’s where the trip will take you:
- American Woodlands (Deciduous Forest)
- Russian Taiga (Coniferous Forest)
- South American Rainforest (Tropical Forest)
- African Savanna (Grassland)
- Australian Outback (Desert)
- Mediterranean Chaparral (Scrubland)
An indoor classroom that is an ideal site for birthday parties. Don’t forget to stop at our refillable water bottle station before continuing your adventure through the Garden!
Stop by The Knoll for delicious lemonade, soft pretzels, and fresh-made cookies! Seasonal hours of operation.