Kids and parents have anxiously awaited the reopening of the Children’s Garden at the Atlanta Botanical Garden, and with good reason.
The wildly popular attraction, closed for nearly a year for renovations, offers quite a few new features, and families can finally check out many of them.
Renamed the Lou Glenn Children’s Garden, the site honors longtime Garden supporter Lou Glenn, who was instrumental in developing the original Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Children’s Garden when it opened at the botanical garden in 1999 – one of the first of its kind in the country.
Since then, wear and tear had taken its toll on the garden, so it needed an overhaul. Before beginning the re-design, the Garden surveyed and conducted focus group discussions with Garden members and their children to determine where they spent most of their time and what they’d like to see improved. The renovation, to be completed in two phases, will include:
• More places for active outdoor play. Look for a new tree-house area with climbing nets, a climbing wall and slides as well as some fun bridges to play on.
• More opportunities for hands-on play. These include a water “painting” wall, a building area and musical instruments to play. The Garden also will be rolling out new nature play activities and classes, and a new position, an Educational Horticulturist, will facilitate these programs.
• A new restroom building. Designed by Smith Dalia Architects, this much-needed facility includes a family restroom and large courtyard.
• A larger splash pad. This popular feature was always crowded on hot days; now it is nearly twice the size of the former splash area, with lots of room for parents and caregivers to sit. Additionally, the entrance to the garden has been re-routed so that visitors can tour it without having to walk through the water feature.
• What didn’t change? Old favorites like the flower growth chart, where so many families have marked the growth of their children, remains but in a new location. The pond and waterfall will be virtually unchanged, though the carnivorous plant bog will be larger. And the gnome grotto stays the same, so families can look forward to visiting those little guys this summer.