Longwood Gardens has been a place my family has held near and dear for years. Our annual Christmas visit, summer strolls under the stars, meeting friends for morning play-dates, spring days out with Grandpa…it’s the perfect place for respite and beauty whatever the reason or season. And the most perfect part? All the gorgeousness is kid-friendly.
The first few times took my kids I was nervous: would this be okay or would this be another example of publicly showing off our travelling circus show? Much to my surprised delight, Longwood not only worked with kids, it was the ideal place to hang out with them.
It was brilliantly easy and fun. So much so that when my sister and I recently made our yearly visit to honor my mother’s love of flowers, we decided to skip sorting childcare and take the whole crew with us.
What makes Longwood Gardens such a fantastic place to visit with young ones?
1) Space to run…and run and run some more. Without the worry of cars or roads, it is safe to let them play and romp around, all while soaking in nature’s delights and getting some fresh air. Bonus for parents? They sleep like bricks when you get home. Total win.
2) The Children’s Gardens. There are two, one outdoor and one indoor. Both have fountains for them to splash in and loads of things to explore. My children squee when we get to these gardens–every single time. Just make sure to bring some dry clothes and shoes to change them into when they’re done playing and you’re all for a less whiny ride home, Mom!
3) The Treehouses Does it get any more fun than having ginormous treehouses to climb around in? One of them is even stroller-friendly which makes managing a baby with older kids far less daunting. And checking out the bee hive in the one house (completely safe, I promise!) is a huge hit.
4) It’s the fanciest place you will ever potty-train in. I’m serious. Using the family-friendly, generously-sized (read: you can push your stroller easily into each private bathroom). And the Green Wall is gorgeous.
5) The special exhibits and activities. We’ve never done any of their summer camps, but I have heard nothing but rave reviews. And when the train exhibit goes on display in the cooler months, we are all wowed. The intricate villages and landscapes the gardeners create around the tracks leave your jaw dropping!
6) The music show at the Open Air Theater. Because it’s small, the kids are able to get so close to the action. Watching my kids beam and clap along with the music makes my heart swell in a way that makes me so proud that we got ourselves out of the house to enjoy something special.
7) The logistics are NOT a beast. Pack a backpack with what you need–water, snacks, diapers, bottles, etc. and cruise around at a pace that suits you. Don’t have time to pack a lunch? There is a cafe with loads of kid-friendly options. If you have older children, they will fight to be the one to hit the button to open the doors for your stroller at every entrance/exit. If not, some sweet copatron or one of the friendly volunteers will get your back; people there are nice, really. There are bathrooms scattered frequently throughout and there are plenty of places to grab a seat for a rest when the kids wear you down.
When I say that it’s kid-friendly, it is. I am not a brave soul when it comes to taking my children out and about by myself, but I take them to Longwood Gardens. I am also pretty stingy with my money, but I fully believe that a membership or day out at Longwood is worth every penny. It’s the perfect place to just let kids be kids while soaking in all the glory that nature has to offer.
Plan a visit now and thank yourself later!