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Alice H. Richards Children's Garden State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia

In 2017, the State Botanical Garden of Georgia broke ground on the Alice H. Richards Children’s Garden—the ideal place for children to play and learn in an environment that will inspire their sense of adventure, wonder and love for nature. This new garden transforms two and a half acres into a fun-filled educational environment for children of all ages. The garden opened March 23, 2019.

50,000 new visitors

With 50,000 children expected to visit each year, the Children’s Garden is positioned to have a profound impact on young minds around the state. Children will learn as they explore an underground root system, see the forest from a bird’s eye view, recognize a cloud structure, climb up a spider web, discover a new vegetable or investigate the hidden world of worms.

The site for the Children's Garden was originally a parking lot. The few trees on the site were repurposed for climbing in the forest play area.
The Alice H. Richards Children's Garden includes an accessible canopy walk with multiple observation decks, the Theater-in-the-Woods, edible landscapes, an underground adventure area, pond, bog garden, accessible tree house, water play area and many more interactive and educational elements.

Forest Play

The accessible treehouse provides learning wrapped in adventure within the wild and natural area of the forest. Up in the trees where the birds fly and down to the ground where the leaves are decomposing, there is much to learn about this wondrous habitat.

Forestry

The Foods We Eat

This is an area to view, touch, taste and study the foods we eat and the many elements in nature that lend to the creation of our foods. Children will have the opportunity to dig and plant in the dig and grow area.

Food Science

Rocks, Rivers, Regions and Ridges

Children can explore Georgia’s diverse regions and the rocks and rivers that make Georgia’s ecology unique. The water feature begins on a giant granite map of Georgia and leads to a rushing stream which empties into a bog full of native pitcher plants and a tranquil pond.

Ecology

Water Features

UGA students in a native horticulture class helped plant the pitcher plant bog, which leads to the pond. Two bridges, one a bright accessible path and the other a fun wobble bridge, cross the water feature area.

Over, Under, Through

Children can climb, touch and explore caves, fossils and rock walls that are examples of sites around Georgia. This area also pays homage to the granite industry in Georgia with slabs of granite collected from local quarries, selected for their unique characteristics.

Geology

Pollinator Plaza

Children discover the work and wonder behind the insects that live around us and why we should care about their fate. This area features special places for visitors to explore and use their imaginations to be a bee, butterfly or ladybug.

Entomology

What Lies Beneath

UGA students from the Lamar Dodd School of Art created informational window clings to help explain what children see when they dig into the hidden ecosystems underground, which not only support food production but nearly every form of life on earth.

Soil Science

Local Artisans

Koons Design coordinated the design of the garden. They are working closely with local and region artisans to bring the garden to life. Mosaic artist Krysia Ara invited children in SBG summer camps to help her create and paint the decorative mosaics featuring native plants and pollinators. Her giant mosaic ladybug is perfect for climbing and exploring.

St. Udio Metal Shop craftsman Austin Dishmon works on the metal mushroom sculptures that will mist water for children to run through in warmer months.

"It's so great to see all the local artists and creatives working on this project," says Dishmon. "The garden has such great energy and makes me feel like a kid again when I'm there."

Children of all ages

The artist's work comes to life in the pollinator plaza, the perfect place for our youngest visitors to get their wiggles out while they learn about the importance of pollinators and their role in helping plants and food grow.

“The children’s garden is an exploration, a journey, not something you just walk through,” says Jenny Cruse-Sanders, director of the State Botanical Garden. “Everything is designed with attention to detail and an educational component.”

The Alice H. Richards Children's Garden opened March 23, 2019

Contact The State Botanical Garden of Georgia at the University of Georgia

Public Service and Outreach Director of Communications | Kelly Simmons | simmonsk@uga.edu | 706.542.2512

State Botanical Garden of Georgia Director | Jennifer Cruse-Sanders | crusesanders@uga.edu | 706.542.6131

Director of Education | Cora Keber | ckeber@uga.edu | 706.542.6158

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