The Garden’s Discovery Trail

2017 is a pivotal year for the garden as TBG delivers on a long-awaited promise to better engage children and families by creating The Garden’s Discovery Trail (the Trail).

Guided by local supporters and created by national experts in family garden design, the Trail represents an advancement of knowledge around how children learn in, and interact with nature. Embracing the entire 66-acre campus, the Trail invites children and their families to explore the garden through “playable places” and “playable moments.” Using natural materials and the garden’s ever-changing landscape, emphasis is on encouraging hands-on experiences and discovery through play.

The Trail has distinct experiences and will be implemented in phases:

  • 2017
    • May – Trail footprint revealed to the public, including 5 “playable moments”
    • October – Break ground on Playable Place 1 “The Secret Forest”
  • 2018
    • May – Dedicate The Secret Forest
    • June – Break ground on Playable Place 2
    • October – Dedicate Playable Place 2

The Trail is an evolution of a previously proposed concept and is supported by donors, the board, staff and volunteers. The concept is unique, emphasizing TBG’s existing features, and is distinctly Toledo. Education cloaked in fun gives children and families a delightful invitation to engage with the Garden in a unique and ever-changing way. The trail will ultimately consist of four major “playable places” connected by a loop trail carrying visitors across the entire 66 acre property. Destinations marked for playable place enhancement include:

A nature-inspired, imaginative play destination near the picnic area by the Garden’s east entrance. This will attract families with children of all ages and be within a short distance of parking and existing restrooms.

Adjacent to the existing Education building is the Nature Lab, a garden classroom providing natural science education opportunities in a playful context.

The Pondside Meadow, further along the trail to the south, is a gallery in nature featuring installation artworks that provide visitors with an immersive experience in a meadow of native perennials and grasses.

Firefly Woods completes the loop and offers a range of construction play opportunities using natural materials, and will serve the larger community as a stand-alone destination conveniently located by the south parking lot.

Toledo Botanical Garden’s new Garden Discovery Trail delivers on a 15-year promise to the community. Built on the platform of increasingly spectacular garden spaces, this offers a boost in programming and a thematic connection along a legible, unified trail. Through this unification under the theme of creative, play-based learning, Toledo Botanical Garden forwards its mission of nurturing the joy of growing through stewardship of horticulture, the arts, and nature.