Kids learn best when they are actively engaged and having fun. Highfield Discovery Garden, on the west side of Cincinnati, Ohio, is an ideal place to sneak some natural history education into a day full of playing, climbing, and exploring. The beautiful, 2 acre Discovery Garden is geared toward children ages 3 through 8.
Highfield Discovery Garden is located within Glenwood Gardens, a unique collection of several gardens and quiet walking trails. Glenwood Gardens is located in Cincinnati’s neighborhood of Woodlawn, at 10397 Springfield Pike / Route 4. The garden is always closed for maintenance on Mondays. Summer hours are 10am until 6pm Tuesdays through Saturdays, and Noon until 6pm on Sundays. From Labor Day through October they will close at 5pm instead of 6pm.
Hamilton County Park District manages Glenwood Gardens and its Discovery Garden and family passes can be purchased online from the park district. A family pass is valid for one calendar year and costs $30. Individual tickets are $4 for adults, $3 for children ages 2 to 12, and free for children under the age of 2. Ticket prices are $1 cheaper in Discovery Garden’s off-season, which is November through March.
Discovery Garden encompasses seven smaller themed garden areas loosely based on children’s story books and fairy tales. The giant Discovery Tree is a highlight with tunnels and bridges for kids to climb and explore. From the top they get a ‘bird’s eye view’ and the opportunity to learn about how differently the world looks to a bird from the sky, than to us from the ground.
The Vegetable Garden, inspired by the story of Peter Cottontail, is where children can help water the growing vegetables and meet the bunny LuLu who lives there. The Butterfly Garden teaches children about the lifecycle through its Morph Garden where caterpillars eat willow, to its garden in the shape of butterfly wings, blooming with flowers nectar-filled flowers feeding the butterflies.
It’s an adventure traveling through a forest and over a swinging bridge to check out the Wizard Garden. Kids can push the buttons to control the lights and signals on the train running throughout Trolley Garden. Smelling and touching the unusual plants in Grandma’s Secret Garden is a delight. Frog and Toad’s Pond exposes the children to creatures living in or near water like fish, bullfrogs, and dragonflies.
Cincinnati’s Highfield Discovery Garden incorporates playful exploration with natural history education. Educational programs run at 10:45am, 1pm, and 4pm, Tuesdays through Sundays and there is no need to sign-up beforehand. Simply pick a nice day; stroll through a picturesque garden, and adults and children both will walk away with a greater appreciation for nature.