GOOD FOR: All Ages

Source:Outdoors with Kids Philadelphia (AMC Books)
Address:5105 Kennett Pike, Winterthur, DE
Hours:10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday
Fee: Adults, $18; children ages 2-11, $5; children under 2, free; Winterthur and American Horticultural Society members, free
Contact:, 302-888-4600

Bathrooms: In visitor center, at museum and Enchanted Woods, and elsewhere (see map)
Water/Snacks: Water fountains and café in visitor center and museum

Provided upon admission; (click on Visit)

Discover the joy of the unexpected at the Enchanted Woods, a children’s garden-within-a-garden.

Photo by: Susan Charkes

Winterthur (pronounced “Winter-tour”) may be a somewhat expensive destination, but is worth a special trip for its unique Enchanted Woods; kids will also enjoy other features of the formal gardens and museum. Its grounds are beautiful and walkable at all times of the year.

In a 1,000-acre preserve that was once the Henry Francis DuPont dairy farm, Winterthur is perhaps the most beautiful of the former DuPont country estates that serve today as public gardens in the Brandywine Valley. Winterthur is famous for its huge collection of decorative arts and its 60-acre naturalistic gardens. But for families, the high point is the Enchanted Woods, a fantasy-play garden that covers garden. Kids, even older ones and those not convinced of the reality of faery folk, will delight in exploring the garden, finding surprises around every corner and down every hidden path. There’s a kid-scale bird nest with moveable eggs, a genuinely serpentine path, an old-fashioned maypole, a hollow tree with furniture, even a Green Man who seems to emerge from the woods itself. Don’t stand too close to the toadstools—and watch for trolls under the bridge!

It is possible to walk from the visitor center to the Enchanted Woods, or take a free, stroller-accessible garden tram to get a narrated, guided tour. 

In the Glade (near the museum), kids will enjoy the koi pond and its giant, colorful fish that lurk close to the surface. Inside the museum, the Touch-It Room allows children to experience Colonial life through daily objects that they can pick up and examine, and clothes they can try on. 

Winterthur’s expansive landscape is perfect for picnicking. You can picnic anywhere on the grounds, including the lawn next to the Enchanted Woods, and picnic tables are near the museum.

The gardens are laced with paved paths, all easy for walking or for those with strollers. Trees and plants are labeled with their names. Beyond the gardens, mowed paths wind through the meadows and natural trails lead through the woods. Here, kids can practice their newly acquired knowledge of trees, plants, and fairies.

Winterthur offers numerous programs for children of all ages (even babies), introducing them to birds, flowers, and gardening (fee charged for nonmembers). Kids can also participate in a summerlong vegetable-gardening program (members only).

Remember: Your admission tag is good for two days.

Plan B:

In Wilmington, Brandywine Creek State Park is a large forested area with hiking and biking trails.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Commercial areas are along DE 52 closer to Wilmington.


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