ENCINITAS — Quail Botanical Gardens celebrated the grand opening of the new Hamilton Children’s Garden on June 13 to the sounds of laughter and children playing. Heaps of dirt were transformed into a thriving children’s garden thanks in large part to a few low-profile donors according to officials at the gardens.
The one-acre site along Quail Gardens Drive just north of the main gardens on city-leased property is the largest children’s garden on the West Coast.
In an effort to expand the existing Seeds of Wonder children’s garden, the new area provides an environment for children and families to explore the natural world. One of the most unique features is a one-of-a-kind climbable tree house. Rising 20 feet from the ground, the tree house incorporates manmade and living materials.
“A lot of kids have never even climbed a tree before,” Sherry Dotson said. The Encinitas resident frequents the gardens with her two young children. “I’m glad there is a place like this to escape and just be a kid.”
Samuel Burger, 3, was drawn to the water features at the river zone as he watched a stick float by. “We’ve been here for an hour and he’s been fixated on this spot the whole time,” said his mother Sara. Other activities include planting seeds, making walls out of dirt, playing an 18-foot-long bamboo xylophone and climbing the rope ladder to the treehouse platforms.
“I’m so thrilled this place is literally in our backyard,” said Devon Walters, who lives just blocks away. “I’m sure we’re going to be regulars.”
Set on 36 acres off of Encinitas Boulevard, the gardens’ mission is to inspire people of all ages to connect with plants and nature. By combining a variety of gardens with more than 3,500 plants, trails and native habitat, it provides an oasis of peace and tranquility within a growing city.