Magnuson Children’s Garden is a vibrant, interactive garden that is celebrating its 15th anniversary year! From the first design meeting in 2001, to this year’s community events, this garden has been an inclusive project, with all its whimsical and interactive features dreamed up by local children and carried out by child and adult volunteers. The garden is open FREE to the public 365 days a year, and a delightful place for families to have self-guided scavenger hunts and other adventures.
This unique garden is filled with plants and other features that delight all the senses:
- Plants that feed butterflies and other beneficial insects, hummingbirds and songbirds;
- A Snack Wall Garden of berries to nibble on;
- Child-size picnic tables, benches, and tree stump stools for visitors of all ages;
- A sea of flowering grasses that rustle in the wind;
- The Tea Garden, filled with fragrant mint;
- A sweet little garden shed “house”;
- The Log Pile, for building forts, nests, bug houses, or other playful structures;
- Bog Gardens made from buried swimming pools;
- The Rolling Lawn, for taking spins and giggles down the hill;
- A spiral path up the hill to the Lookout, the highest point in the whole community garden, surrounded by Oak tree “pillars”;
- The Salmon Survival Path, created by local school children and filled with mosaic steppingstones and pools depicting the upstream journey of our native salmon;
- The Starfish Garden, where kids can bask like a butterfly on a seating rock, surrounded by the fragrant herbs and perennial flowers that line each of its arms;
- A giant chalkboard for outdoor garden art;
- Tidepool Gardens with interesting Sedums and other underwater look-alikes poking up through the rocks;
- The Grey Whale Garden, complete with mosaic tail surro
unded by “splash grasses” a tall grass spout, and giant mosaic eyes to give a wink to as you walk by!
All these wonderful features are the result of the creative input from children and parents at garden design gatherings held in 2001, 2004, and 2015, as well as informal input from children and parents who have attended special events, nature classes and camps in the garden over the past 15 years.
This ever-evolving creative process, and the resulting garden installation and stewardship, has been led by a team of volunteer landscape designers and other community members who formed the Children’s Garden Committee in 2001. The role of the Children’s Garden Committee has been mainly to figure out how to fit all the children’s fabulous ideas into the garden, and how to keep it all thriving! And a happy task it has been. From the beginning, careful attention has also gone into fulfilling the children’s requests for plants with interesting shapes, colors, and scents, and plants that provide wildlife habitat.
Our plan is to make sure that the garden is never labeled “done”, because we want every new generation of children and parents to be able to participate in the creativity of new ideas and the joy of seeing their dreams come true in all the years to come!
Magnuson Children’s Garden is visited by hundreds of families each year for self-guided exploration, and their instinctive knowledge of how to interact with the garden is a testimony to the ideas that have come from the hearts and minds of the children involved in its design.
Since 2005, Magnuson Children’s Garden has also been used as the outdoor headquarters of the Magnuson Community Center Nature Programs year-round educational camps, classes, and field trips, which serve well over a thousand children and adults each year. Magnuson Nature Programs are headquartered in the adjacent Brig building, which is also home to Outdoors for All, NE Seattle YMCA, and Seattle Audubon summer camps, all of which use the Children’s Garden for education and play.