A few weeks ago, we finally got to visit one of the locations, we’ve been wanting to visit for quite a while, the Camden Children’s Garden. Since we have so much to say about it, we are going to get right to it.
When you enter the Camden Children’s Garden you are greeted by the Violet Plaza, inspired by the NJ State Flower, the violet. My boys had fun following the stem paths and climbing the violets. It’s also surrounded by benches painted like murals, beautiful to look at and relaxing to sit at when you need a rest from exploring the garden.
When it’s warmer the colorful balls become water fountains, spouting water at different intervals. Kids are welcome to jump, skip, splash and have fun in them. Jumping water jets rise from the Plaza, adding to the fun.
Bring your picnic, no! This garden is the picnic. (LOL) Foods grow out of oversized cups and pots. Ant sculptures march across the ground. All on top of picnic-blanket designed pavement.
In one area of the Picnic Garden, there are several musical instruments the kids can play. My boys loved stomping on this ground piece that played different notes depending on where you stepped, stomped, or jumped.
The Camden Children’s Garden website offers a great description of the fun your kids can have in this area learning all about food. It was closed when we were there, but you can learn more about it here.
This garden area using replicas of city row homes to show how it’s possible to have your own garden, compost area, and cistern.
Arrow River Train
In the Railroad Garden is the 600′ long Arrow River Train Ride. It wasn’t open during our visit, but when it is it holds up to 38 children or 22 adults. As you travel on the train, for a small extra fee, you’ll see:
- Expanded “G” scale display of model trains running at different elevations
- Miniature landscapes which includes a 10-foot high waterfall, several buildings made from natural products, and flowers
- A village of custom houses and “Wally World”, a collection of storefronts.
- A full-sized, 25-ton “Camden Caboose.” Originally used in 1942 for the New Haven Rail Line, this caboose was donated by Conrail.
In the Fitness Garden, kids can get all sort of exercise.
- Crawl through or on top of the rock tunnel
- Walk along a balance beam
- Climb stairs
- Slide down the sliding board
- Hop on the log stepping stones
Benjamin Franklin‛s Workshop
The Camden Children’s Garden website offers an imagined version of Ben Franklin’s secret garden and workshop. It was closed when we were there, but you can learn more about it here.
Butterfly Tent & Philadelphia Eagles Four Seasons Butterfly House
Okay, so this area was closed when we visited but for good reason. The Camden Children’s Garden recently received an amazing donation to improve the butterfly’s habitat here. So while that was disappointing for us, how exciting for the butterflies and gardeners. Congratulations, we can’t wait to see the new area unveiled. Click here for more details.
There is a small fee for the Garden Carousel, but what fun my boys had. Look at all your kids can ride.
- a rooster
- a pig
- a cat
- a shark
- a hummingbird
- a sea dragon
- several horses decorated with beautiful flowers
- a bright red chariot
Spring Butterfly Ride
For a small extra fee, the Spring Butterfly Ride provides a unique opportunity for families to ride above the Garden for a butterfly’s eye view of garden features and visitors. It was not open during our visit.
You know the stories, but have you ever seen them like this? The Camden Children’s Garden has several Storybook Gardens inspired by classics you probably grew up with.
THE THREE LITTLE PIGS
A GIANT’S GARDEN
A SECRET GARDEN
THE FROG PRINCE
ALICE IN WONDERLAND GARDEN
Red Oak Run
Travel through an above ground maze that will have you feeling like you are underground. Crawl through tunnels. Slide down a small tot slide. Pass through a stone henge. Pick your favorite rock, sit there for a while and daydream. Do all this as you make your way through Red Oak Run.
Irish Fairy Garden
A giant mushroom marks the entrance to this Garden. Behind it you will see a whitewashed and thatched Irish cottage. This garden was inspired by stories of Irish fairies.
Piney Woods Amphitheatre
Piney Woods Amphitheatre includes a seating area and several artists’ benches that can hold up to 140 visitors. On sunny days, guests are shaded by colorful yellow and blue umbrellas while performances are going on on center stage. Nothing was scheduled when we were there, so my boys took to the stage for an impromptu performance.
Do your kids love dinosaurs like mine? Look at what you’ll find in the Dinosaur Garden.
- An Apatosaurus made from recycled car parts. Artist Jim Gary said, “it took over four cars to make this dinosaur. “
- Digging in the sandpit to discover old dinosaur bones donated by Chicago’s Field Museum.
- Find the Hadrosaur, New Jersey’s State Dinosaur.
- Climb into an egg and imagine what it was like to be a baby dinosaur
Tree House & Peace Plaza
Climb or walk up to enter the Tree House for a great view of the entire garden. You may even see butterflies, hawks, and birds. The Peace Plaza is used for activities and crafts during festivals. The Peace Pole says, “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in four languages.
Plaza de Aibonito
They were still refreshing this exhibit during our visit. When done it will look like the plaza in Aibonito, a beautiful town in Puerto Rico known as the “City of Flowers”.
Ginkgo‛s Gift Shop
Look up in the Gift Shop or you might miss the G-Scale Garden Railroad that runs around the ceiling. There’s even a replica of the Ben Franklin Bridge! The G-Scale trains and the Ben Franklin Bridge were designed, built and installed by Camden’s own, Rod Sadler. The gift shop has a great area in the back for kids to play, attend storytimes at, or have their birthday parties in.
You maybe saying to yourself with so many areas closed, “did we have a good time?” Well, yes. My boys and I enjoyed exploring the Camden Children’s Garden. We never got bored. In all fairness, it had only opened the day before and when we were there it was slightly overcast. We look forward to going back when we can explore the gardens more. We are excited to see the flowers in full bloom, the rides operating, and all the exhibit areas open.
Camden Children’s Garden Admission
- $6 per person and free for children two and younger.
- $4.00 per person at Aquarium/Garden Gate.
Camden Children’s Garden Hours
- Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
- Thursday by Reservation
- The Garden is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays & Wednesdays
Camden Children’s Garden is located next door to Adventure Aquarium at 3 Riverside Drive in Camden.