Children's Garden

The Children's Garden features several individual gardens and activities to explore and enjoy. We invite you to come and learn more about how to grow plants and the important role plants play in our daily lives. The Children's Garden is located in the Horticulture Display Garden at the West Central Research and Outreach Center (WCROC).

Vegetable Demonstration Garden

Our vegetable garden showcases a variety of vegetables for homeowners, and gives children an idea of where their food comes from. Vegetables are labeled, and signage provides information on how to grow particular varieties.  Some years, our vegetable garden highlights All-America Selections top performing vegetable varieties, allowing visitors to take note of superior performers.   

Backpack Shack

Within the windows of the Backpack Shack is an educational display. Hanging outside the shack are three backpacks, each containing an interactive self-guided lesson plan and/or activity, perfect for visiting families or class visits. 

Birds & Butterflies

  • Bird Garden: A trellis and seated arbor allow visitors the opportunity to sit quietly and observe bird activity in the garden. Trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers provide shelter and food for nearby birds.  
  • Chimney Swift Tower: Designed to become a natural habitat for chimney swift birds, this tower was the idea of UMM Biology Club.  Chimney swifts used to live in the chimneys of the old Morris Elementary School building, but when the building was torn down in 2013, many of these birds were without a home.
  • Butterfly Garden: features plants that attract butterflies.

Sensory Garden

The Sensory Garden is planted in raised beds, allowing visitors to touch, smell, see, hear and taste their way around. A variety of plants and flowers are used to create a unique sensory experience for sight, sound, taste, and touch.  Plant materials may include pineapple scented sage, mint scented geraniums, sensative plant, lamb's ear, chives, swiss chard bright lights, and a popcorn plant.

Playground

Our playground structure includes a shaded sandbox, twirly slide, hanging bridge, gazebo and handicap accessible deck.  Children will find fun sand toys to play with in the sandbox, and interesting facts about prehistoric plants near our succulent-laden dinosaur. 

Pizza Garden

Made in the shape of a pizza, our Pizza Garden highlights agricultural ingredients needed to make pizza.  Some plants in the Pizza Garden represent ingredients used directly in pizza, such as basil, tomatoes, onions, and wheat.  Other plants, such as soybeans and corn, are consumed by dairy cows, beef, and swine for the production of cheese and meat.

Other Attractions

  • An 18-foot-tall teepee with climbing vines (of course kids can go in it!)
  • A spitting frogs pond - as kids spin the merry-go-round gate, water shoots out of the frogs mouths.
  • A painted checkerboard on top of a large stump table, with two stump chairs, located in the shade.
  • Four giant vegetable cut-outs are perfect to peek through and make for a great photo opportunity.
  • Picnic tables, benches, portable restroom and hand-washing station.