Children's Garden

During the 2020 growing season amid the COVID-19 pandemic, we had to make some difficult decisions about which gardens to eliminate due to the decreased number of staff. While the Children's Garden is a delight to many, it is one of the high-maintenance areas of the Garden and therefore will not be maintained in 2020. In a "normal" growing season, the Children's Garden features several individual gardens and activities to explore and enjoy. 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, sensitive plant, lamb's ear, chives, swiss chard bright lights, and a popcorn plant.


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. 

Color Wheel

Our Color Wheel garden is filled with plants that represent the primary and secondary colors. Primary colors (red, yellow, and blue) can be mixed together to produce other colors. Secondary colors (green, orange, and purple) are created by mixing two primary colors together. Our Wheel provides a great visual for learning the relationship between the colors!

Other Attractions

  • 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.
  • A shade structure in the shape of a kite, providing much needed shelter from the sun's rays.