Sarasota Children’s Garden & Art Center

Published on 11/20/22: The Children’s Garden & Art Center in Sarasota! If you’re looking for an activity while kids and grandkids are on break, add this 2-acre interactive garden to your list. As a bonus, they have a lineup of special events this Tues, Wed, Friday and Saturday. Colt had a great time on this “adventure” and it allowed dad to press the “Easy Button”. In talking to fellow parents onsite, this highly rated spot is a “go to” for those in Sarasota, though I suspect it’s a hidden gem for some in St Pete.

Our Daytrip to the Sarasota Children’s Garden

Alright, so last weekend Colt and I set out on a #LovingStPeteDayTrip to Sarasota. First was Yoder’s Restaurant and Amish Village for lunch. Anyone familiar? Next was the Children’s Garden & Art Center. Both places meet the LSP criteria of >= 4.5 stars on Google and are locally owned.

Don’t Judge Until After You Walk Thru the Gates

First up is the Children’s Garden. Cost is $10 for 13 years old and up. Ages 3-12 is $6. This is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, so your admission goes to a good cause, more on that below. While I scratched my head as we pulled into the parking lot (I didn’t see much initially), all it took was opening the Jeep doors to know I misjudged. The sounds of laughter and kids playing pierced the heavy foliage, straight to Colt’s ears. Colt [with eyes lit up]: “Dad, there must be something really good back there, hear all the kids?”. Yes, I certainly did.

The Condon Family is Responsible for the Children’s Garden

Opening in 2003, Joan Marie Condon’s family brought their vision to reality. She “wanted a special place for children to come and leave the electronic world behind and discover new adventures in the natural world […] a place for creative play and to find magic in Mother Nature […] teaching our children to become good stewards of the earth.”

We met Joan’s very kind daughter Robin while onsite, she works hard and has very good reason to be proud of their non-profit business!

Lots For Kids To Do!

As you walk through the entrance, they want you to feel as though you “fell down a rabbit’s hole to a Wonderland”. It’s certainly a whole different world behind the hedges! The 2 acres holds activities such as a tree house, pirate ship to climb aboard, rope swing, dragons, homes for the 3 little pigs (and kids), garden maze, “beach” with sand and toys, costume dress up area, plants of all kinds, and much more.

There’s also a house in the middle, like a real house with rooms, plus a library that has tables for “tea”. This is actually called Caterpillar Cottage and is often used to host “birthday parties and celebrations with its ‘Snow White’ theme and twinkling lights.” You can host parties of up to 24 guests and include nature “add-ons” where the staff leads hands on activities with your guests. They handle the prep, mess and cleanup.

Nature and Gardening Classes at the Children’s Garden

Growing up on our avocado farm, here’s an aspect that I really appreciated: “Nature, gardening and art classes are taught weekly at the garden to nurture and teach children the beauty in Mother Nature.” These classes are designed to help kids connect to nature and explore, fostering imaginative play. I’ve noticed that once Colt (and other kids) start playing in an environment like the Children’s Garden, the thoughts of “Nintendo Switch” go away. I need to be more proactive in taking Colt to places like this…

The Children’s Garden is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and public charitable organization and rely on admission and donations to support their mission, which is to keep kids connected to nature. Additionally, you can purchase plants for the kids to use their newly acquired skills at home. Proceeds from the plant sales support their nonprofit mission.

Hours: 

Tues- Fri: 10am – 4pm

Sat & Sun: 10am – 5pm

Closed Mondays

Cost:

13 years & up: $10+tax

3 years & up:   $6+tax

Children under 2: free

Here’s this week’s schedule of events for an idea of what they offer!

Tuesday, November 22nd, 11am-12pm – Nature Gratitude Scavenger Hunt Set out on a Nature Gratitude Scavenger Hunt around the garden and enjoy a sweet treat when you finish!

Wednesday, November 23th, 10 – 11am – Thanksgiving Placemats Join us from 10 to 11am this morning to color in your Thanksgiving placemat and enjoy a holiday cookie!

Thursday, November 20th – Closed all day. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at The Garden!

Friday, November 25th, 11am – airy House Making Join us at 11am sharp in the garden as we make fairy houses alongside a magical story at the stage, then color a little fairy door to bring home.

Saturday, November 26th, 10:30am-1pm – Local book authors will be joining us for a very special story time today!

  • Sara Jonas, author of “Ham’s Big Adventure,” will read her story on the stage at 10:30am
  • Melissa Mangiapanella, author of “Pea-ple of the World,” will be reading at 11:30am, and
  • Joan Marie Condon, author and founder of The Children’s Garden, will join us on stage at 12:30pm for a reading of “Snuffy, the Beautiful Dragon”!

Nature add-ons to give you a general idea of offerings:

Taken directly from their website as of 11/20/22

Bug Hunts This Way

Learn about all the creepy, crawly & flying bugs in the Garden & some interesting facts you didn’t know about bugs! Each child will get to embellish their bug catcher cup for the bug hunt, complete with one toy “bug.”

We have a sweet little craft called the “Bug Jar” where they can put their fingerprints on each insect in the jar.  This is a special memory keepsake for their parents!  Education, crafts & bug hunt equal lots of fun exploring nature.

$10+tax per person

Fairy & Wizard Nature Wands

These spellbinding wands are made from nature with a twig and a cardstock star waiting to be a special art project that you can uniquely make your own.  Embellishments such as markers, ribbons, jewels, stickers and bells make this a perfect keepsake to remember the special day.

$10+tax per person

Mermaid & Merman Sparkle Wands

From Under the Sea, we have sparkly starfish wands waiting to be embellished. Use  ocean-colored ribbons, mermaid inspired stickers & jewels to attract any mermaid’s attention!

$10+tax per person

Fairy & Dragon Dish Gardens

Start with a little crystal dish to hold a special miniature garden!  Each child will add dirt, a little succulent plant, mushrooms, jewels for decoration & glittered rocks they paint to add a personal touch.  A fairy or dragon friend of their choice makes it special!

Google Reviews: 337 with a 4.5/5 Average

Address: 1670 10th Way, Sarasota Florida

Phone: 941-330-1711

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