There's a not-so-secret garden in Wellesley, MA that is a perfect place for kids to explore nature: The Massachusetts Horticulture Society's Gardens at Elm Bank. This 36 acre gem which is actually the headquarters for Society, is worth the drive because it has so many intriguing spots for the kids to discover including a children's garden just for them.
Everywhere you turn in the Children's Garden there is something new to make the kids want to play: large nest-like chairs, a tiny water fountain, a sandbox, paths to explore, a tea party table, musical instruments, and many little spots to hide. We had a great game of hide and seek when we visited!
The whole estate is so inviting to all -- it is all accessible and therefore stroller friendly. The ground are made up of eight separate gardens each of which offers something to explore: fairy houses, seed mailboxes, fountains, sculpture, pagodas and of course incredible blooms and plants. Beautiful photo ops abound.
My favorite element are these Goddess Statues which were given to the Mass Horiculture Society in 1861 by Benjamin Pierce Cheney -- the founder of the firm that became American Express. This photo really doesn't do them justice -- these ladies are so impressive in person -- viewing them makes you feel that you must be far from home.
Elm Bank is a beautiful place to spend a summer or fall afternoon with lots of space for the kids to run around. There is a lot of shade for summer days and so many opportunities to teach the kids about plants and flowers. You don't have to be an avid gardener to enjoy a visit here. Picnic tables are available for lunch and there are clean bathrooms on site. Elm Bank is located right near Wellesley College which is another nice place to explore and not too far from the Natick Mall which is also worth the drive.
Elm Bank is open to the public from May 1 through October 12, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The grounds are closed to the public on Mondays and there are usually children's activities and garden tours offered on the weekends. Admission is $10/adults and FREE for kids under 12. Set your GPS to 900 Washington Street in Wellesley.