While I don’t usually travel to my local gardens with youngsters, I find it refreshing to explore the children’s gardens.  I’m referring to Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square, Pennsylvania, and Winterthur in Wilmington, Delaware.  Both former du Pont estates that are now open to the public.  These amazing gardens are only about 20 minutes apart and easily part of a family getaway in the Brandywine Valley near Philadelphia.

It would be difficult for me to say if Longwood or Winterthur has the best Children’s Garden.  They’re very different…I think it’s a matter of preference and your family’s personality.

Winterthur’s entire garden area is designed from a naturalistic perspective, and that design follows through in the children’s garden.  Imagine a leisurely walk in beautifully-enhanced woods.  This is Winterthur.  The children’s garden is in the enchanted woods, where you’ll find an open-air cabin with child-sized wooden furniture and a cozy fireplace. Of course, there’s no real fire to burn their little hands. Across the way, there are creations in stone, including a labyrinth, serpentine path, and a mini stonehenge. Makes me wish for a child or two to complete the scene and give me a reason to play in the big bird’s nest.

The Enchanted Woods

Kid-sized cabin in the woods

Walking the labyrinth


If you have a high-energy child (or children) that can go for hours, Longwood would be my recommendation.  Longwood has an indoor children’s garden with clever water features, musical instruments, a garden maze, and “water brushes” that the children can use to paint on a tile wall.  There are also large treehouses interspersed throughout the grounds, and regularly scheduled activities for children and families.  Check the activities calendar for musical and dance performances, kids story time, and horticultural crafts.  There are many other attractions at Longwood that will be of interest to children, including the many fountains, the topiary garden, and even fireworks.  Check out my other posts on Longwood for more info.

A few of the characters I found in Longwood's children's garden

A maze for youngsters to play in

Tags: , , ,

2 Comments on Children’s Gardens in the Brandywine Valley

  1. Mary says:

    Juno – you’d love the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia. I have such great memories of touring this museum as a child. They have a walk-through heart that is soooo kitschy they’ve kept it around all these years. (Yes, it’s been a while since I was a child in years, but not at heart.)

  2. Juno says:

    You know, my favourite part of museum visit is hanging out at Children’s museum. It’s always so easy to learn 🙂

Leave a Reply