Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Botanical Garden opens children’s Discovery Trail

Children to experience hands-on interactions with nature along the path


The master plan shows the Toledo Botanical Garden’s children’s Discovery Trail.


Various delights that define Mother Nature can be seen and felt along a walking trail: the sun, animals, trees, wind, and the emotions they inspire.

Such trails also serve as a place to learn.

When it comes to teaching children about nature, Toledo Botanical Garden hope physically digging and planting will be the best learning experience along its very own Garden Discovery Trail.

“These are interactive stations that will be brought to life and I think the kids will really enjoy them,” said Karen Ranney Wolkins, executive director of Toledo Botanical Garden. “The garden has been working toward having a delightful place of engagement for children and this has been worked on for many years. It was time to pull the trigger and do something meaningful.”

The Garden Discovery Trail, which was designed by national experts in family garden design, covers the 66-acre Elmer Drive campus with a goal of enticing families and their children to learn about and interact with nature.

The trail’s vision became stronger last week, as five “playable moments” opened for children to experience hands-on interactions with nature along the path.

Children can now use their imagination while in the secret spruce grove, as they sit and observe the kinds of creatures taking shelter in the area. Other might create a story with words on stones in the word garden.

Ms. Ranney Wolkins said the playable moments not only provide hands-on experience with nature, but are a tactic used for people to experience the entire trail.

“These will bring visitors throughout the garden and give them hands-on things to do,” she said. “The children can play, and have fun through learning.”

More playable moments along the Garden Discovery Trail include moving pollen from one flower to the next at a pollination station, listening to sounds of creatures and the wind at the music of the woods area, and bringing out their inner horticulturist at the digging and planting area of the trail.

Ms. Ranney Wolkins said the trail engages children in education through interactive stations. The playable moments will evolve through each season of the year, giving those walking it an opportunity to experience new things in nature brought with change.

“This is intended to bring children and their families throughout the garden to experience the whole 66 acres,” she said.

The trail and playable moments are free to the public.

Contact Geoff Burns at: or at 419-724-6054.

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