Garden in the Woods
GOOD FOR: Ages 5-8

Source:Outdoors with Kids Boston (AMC Books)
Address:180 Hemenway Road, Framingham, MA
Hours:Trails: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with last admissions at 4:30 p.m., Tuesdays through Sundays and holiday Mondays, April 15 through October 31
Fee: Adults, $10; children ages 3–17, $5; children under age 3, free
Contact:; 508-877-7630

Bathrooms: At the garden shop and at the education center
Water/Snacks: Water fountain outside the education center; some snacks and drinks for sale at the garden shop

Garden in the Woods is an outdoor botanical garden with whimsical touches that appeal to kids.

Kids love the Lily Pond at Garden in the Woods.
Photo by: Jerry and Marcy Monkman

Garden in the Woods, part of the New England Wild Flower Society, is New England’s premier wildflower garden, with more than 1,000 native plant species. The paths and trails found here can seem magical to kids. The main trail, Curtis Path, is about 1 mile long. If you’re looking for a longer, more rugged walk, try one of the woodsy trails. Either way, pick up a scavenger hunt at the garden center when you arrive. Two versions of the hunt are available: one for younger kids, one for older.

Near the beginning of Curtis Path is Lily Pond, a main attraction for kids. The pond is shallow and has little floating islands with tons of frogs, turtles, and dragonflies in lots of bright colors, all surrounded by wildflowers. It is hard to drag kids away from the pond. On one visit, we saw a big green frog swallow a worm about a foot away from where we stood! The wildlife is transfixing, but if you are participating in the scavenger hunt, you’ll probably be able to move on.

It’s worth leaving the main loop to see the flowers on Hop Brook Trail in summer. The exhibits change each year, so visiting never gets stale. Sections may include the Idea Garden, with container gardens, edible plants, and a roof garden. Interpretive signs describe the garden and habitats in depth.

Remember: Guided walking tours are offered every day Garden in the Woods is open. Weekday tours are offered at 10 a.m., and weekend tours are at 2 p.m. Special events include full-moon walks and winter solstice celebrations. The trail is well kept and smooth, but a baby pack would probably work better than a stroller here because of a few steps.

Plan B:

The Danforth Museum of Art, also in Framingham, has a great collection of contemporary art and offers family-friendly programs.

Where to Eat Nearby:

Several restaurants are on MA 9 in Framingham.


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