Magical fairy gardens to spark wonder? Check!
Picnic tables and a nearby playground? Check and check!
Sensory and gross motor activities? Check!
Educational exhibits, like one incorporating the alphabet? Check!
Beauty, nature, fluffy creatures, flying (or crawling) critters, and more? Check, check, check, check, and check!
And free? Oh yeah, you best believe it’s a check on that, too.
The Children’s Garden in Fargo
Let me introduce you to my family’s favorite spot in all of town: the Children’s Garden at the Northern Plains Botanic Garden at Yunker Farm Park.
It’s an area designed for kids to enjoy. And the Children’s Garden is one of several public botanic gardens, built and maintained by the volunteers of the Northern Plains Botanic Garden Society (NPBGS) in partnership with the Fargo Park District.
For a botanic garden, it is in its early stages of development, but it is already impressive. And beautiful— especially during the peak viewing season of July through September.
More Than Just Plants
There are nine distinct gardens at that location, all of which are family-friendly. But the Children’s Garden is where our family spends most of our time when we visit. That because it’s not only scenic, it also encourages kids to learn and be physically active.
According to Barbara Villella from NPBGS,
“The Children’s Garden in Fargo consists of the original Alphabet Garden along its perimeter with each flower bed representing a letter of the alphabet. The interior flower beds compose the Sensory Garden, with the five sections demonstrating plant traits that appeal to our five senses (taste, smell, touch, sight, and sound). The Children’s Garden also has the Kids Activity Zone and nearby Fairy Garden along the south end.”
The Fairy Garden is our son’s favorite feature and we love to see how it has grown and evolved over the past couple of years.
In addition to the Children’s Garden, they also have the Mum, Rain, Hummingbird, Alerus Financial Butterfly, Woodland, and Dry Gardens.
There is also the newly planted Edible Forest that demonstrates fruiting trees and shrubs that can be grown in our area. Take a tour of the edible garden this summer, or check out this handy guide.
What to Know Before You Go
One thing to note is there are only port-a-potties available at the nearby dog park during the growing season. So plan a bathroom break right before you visit!
There are a few benches and some shaded areas in the Children’s Garden. Throughout the space are gravel pathways suitable for a stroller or wagon, but I do find a stroller easier to maneuver. On foot is really the best way to explore, if your whole crew can walk. And because it is a public park, they are open all year during daylight hours.
Outside of the Children’s Garden, you may even find a few other fun discoveries— like outdoor checkers. Or you might see a dog being walked from the neighboring Homeward Animal Shelter.
An Always Changing Destination
In recent years, the non-profit has been gradually developing the botanic garden and arboretum and hopes the expansion continues. Villella said,
“We hope to develop a Japanese Garden, possibly with a four-season Pavilion building. We have ideas for creating new gardens such as a prairie, labyrinth, meditation, medicinal, and rock gardens. These are all contingent on finalizing our available footprint for the Northern Plains Botanic Garden at Yunker Farm Park.”
Too Good Not to Share
I almost selfishly want to keep this place a northside “hidden gem,” because it is always so peaceful and quiet. But it is just too awesome not to share!
Seriously, do yourself and your kids a favor and give the Children’s Garden in Fargo a try. I’m confident you won’t find anything quite like it around.
And if you find yourself loving it as much as we do, you can keep up with them on Facebook, become a society member, volunteer, or donate to keep the gardens available, pristine, and growing for all the community to enjoy.
For more ideas for free fun in our area, see 30 Free Things to Do in Fargo this Summer!