Great Georgia Gardens for Kids

georgia gardens

Think a trip to the botanical garden is just for grownups? Check out all the exciting programs gardens around Georgia offer just for kids!

The Atlanta Botanical Garden has a Children’s Garden just for them, but be aware: it’s closed until sometime in June to allow for a fabulous renovation/play space construction project to be finalized. Once it’s ready, it’ll be a great way to get in some active play in the middle of the city – or be a fun jumping off point for exploring the Atlanta BeltLine.

But even with the Children’s Garden on a temporary hiatus, there are still lots of great programs for kids at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. May 14 is a special celebration of Endangered Species Day, with all sorts of hands on interaction and info about conservation efforts in Georgia. There are also lots of recurring weekday programs for preschoolers, like Garden Playtime, Garden Grooves and Storybook Time. All are free with garden admission (if you plan to go regularly, a family membership will pay off quickly). On weekends, Amphitheater Programs bring a variety of live performances from some of Atlanta’s best storytellers and musicians. They also offer some cool summer camps, but unfortunately all are sold out for 2016 (for other options, see our Summer Camp Roundup). Homeschoolers also have a special day set aside on May 25 (for more homeschool nature programs, check out our recent post).

The Atlanta Botanical Garden now also has a Gainesville location, with more great kids’ programs for the Northeast Region of the state. Train lovers will be thrilled by the Model Train Garden, and can even play with the boxes of trains there for sharing. Other regular kids programs include Story Time and Smiles, Budding Artists (a chance to make seasonally-inspired works of art), and Children’s Performances. Discovery Stations are set up every weekend to showcase different topics on the Garden’s natural environment, so you can go at your own pace to learn and explore.

The State Botanical Garden of Georgia, on the University of Georgia campus in Athens, GA, also offers a number of children’s and school outreach programs, including Family Festivals, field trips, Adventure Packs for homeschoolers and other self-guided groups, after school nature clubs and summer camps. There are also a number of short woodland rambles, with the option of connecting to longer hiking trails, if you want to stretch your legs a bit.

The Coastal Georgia Botanical Garden in Savannah is hosting an Astronomy Day on May 14, followed by a free Gazing in the Garden event that evening. Telescopes are provided by the Oglethorpe Astronomical Association, who will also be on hand to offer advice if you’re in the market for one of your own. They also host nature walks and educational programs for schools, scouts, and homeschool groups on topics like pollination, poetry in the garden, and the water cycle. They also offer strawberry picking while they’re ripe (check their website for availability and hours).

Woodlands Garden in Decatur hosts the M.A.Y.Fair (Music, Art & Youth) in spring and Fairies in the Garden in fall. It’s a great add-on trip to Fernbank Museum of Natural History, just a mile or two away.

Most nature centers around Georgia also have display gardens to give your family examples of native plants, butterfly gardens, and other plants that can help attract and feed wildlife in your yard. The Chattahoochee Nature Center has a particularly nice one. Once you’ve been inspired, take the Million Pollinator Garden Challenge and start one in your own yard (or even a container)!


Spring Break Sweepstakes!

Summer Camp 2016

There are so many great summer camps across Georgia that will let your kids experience summer vacation the way it’s supposed to be: outside, with lots of chances to play, get dirty, and explore. Plus, they’ll learn a ton about science and the natural world — and their own abilities. Here is our master list, organized by region. Please click through for more info and to see if it’s the right program for your child.

As a special giveaway for our readers, we have a $50 gift certificate for the TreesAtlanta Junior TreeKeeper Spring Break Camp, April 4-8!

Win a $50 gift Certificate to TreesAtlanta's Junior TreeKeepers Spring Break Camp!
Enter our Spring Break Sweepstakes!

Did we miss a great one? Let us know in the Comments section!

Metro Atlanta

Junior TreeKeeper Day Camps, Trees Atlanta TreeHouse. Use Referral Code Blog_GAkids when you register to be entered in a drawing to receive a free copy of “Last Child in the Woods” by Richard Louv. Winner will be announced August 1, 2016!

Adventure Camp, Arthur M. Blank Family Youth YMCA

Outdoor Adventure Camp, Bransby Outdoor YMCA

Nature Camp, Cochran Mill Nature Center

Camp Kingfisher, Chattahoochee Nature Center

Dunwoody Nature Center

Autrey Mill Nature Preserve

Magnolia Farm Day Camp

North Metro Atlanta

Cane Creek Farm “Farm Camp”

YMCA Camp at Eagle Point

Sawnee Mountain Preserve

South Metro Atlanta

Dauset Trails Nature Center Day Camp

Junior Ranger Day Camp, Panola Mountain State Park

Outdoor Adventure Camp, Panola Mountain State Park

Archery Camp, Panola Mountain State Park

East Metro Atlanta

Gwinnett Environmental and Heritage Center

Junior Ranger Camp, Fort Yargo State Park

West Metro Atlanta

Cobb County Parks Dept. Nature Camp, Hyde Farm, Marietta, 770-528-8824

Civil War Junior Ranger Camp, Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site

East Georgia

Sandy Creek Day Camp

UGA Summer Academy (great options for teens!), Athens, GA

State Botanical Garden Day Camps, Milledgeville, GA

Junior Ranger Camp, Fort Yargo State Park

Hard Labor State Park, Junior Ranger Day Camp

Northeast Georgia

4-H Cloverleaf Camp, Wahsega 4-H Camp

4-H Wilderness Challenge Camp, Wahsega 4-H Center

Camp Elachee

YMCA Camp High Harbour, Lake Burton

Northwest Georgia

YMCA Camp High Harbor, Lake Allatoona

Junior Ranger Camp Beginner (Ages 7-9), Red Top Mountain State Park

Junior Ranger Summer Camp, Cloudland Canyon State Park

Summer Day Camp, North Georgia Community YMCA

West Georgia

Junior Ranger Summer Discovery Camp, F.D. Roosevelt State Park

Central Georgia

Day Camp, Charlie Elliott Wildlife Center

ACE (Adventures in Conservation) Overnight Camp

Outdoor Adventure Team Challenge Camp

MidSouth Georgia

Junior Naturalist Camp, Center for Wildlife Education

Outdoor Adventure Camp, General Coffee State Park

Junior Ranger Summer Camp, General Coffee State Park

Heritage Farm Camp, General Coffee State Park

Farm to Table Summer Camp, General Coffee State Park

Southwest Georgia

Summer Day Camp, YMCA of Thomasville

Junior Rangers Camp, Reed Bingham State Park

Camp Reed Bingham

Coastal Georgia

Camp Talon (Teen Adventures Learning Ornithology and Nature)

Cloverleaf Camp, Burton 4-H Center

4-H Junior Camp, Burton 4-H Center

Junior Ranger Camp, Fort McAllister State Park

Oatland Island Wildlife Center Summer Camp

Sea Turtle Summer Camp, Georgia Sea Turtle Center

Summer Day Camp, YMCA of Coastal Georgia



Exploring the Urban Forest

TreesAtlanta helps city kids make the connection to nature

I had the opportunity to drop in today at the new Trees Atlanta TreeHouse, located just down the block from the Krog Street Market and backed up by the Atlanta BeltLine.

This is the educational facility for Trees Atlanta, a group dedicated to protecting Atlanta’s urban forest through planting, conservation and education. The TreeHouse provides a space for school, scout, homeschool and other groups to take part in hands-on environmental education programs.

The TreeHouse hosts the Thirsty Roots Reading Group for ages 2-7, a free reading club that includes a weekly nature-themed book reading and a craft project every Monday. Families are also given an activity they can complete together on the Atlanta BeltLine Arboretum following the indoor activities. Periodic Orienteering Lessons give another chance to explore the BeltLine while learning map and compass reading skills

They’ve also just announced the 2016 Junior TreeKeepers Day Camp schedule (for both spring and summer breaks). Each day begins and ends at the TreeHouse, with extended care options available, but the rest of the day the kids will spend the way every summer vacation should be spent: outside, getting up close with nature, and being active.

For older kids looking for valuable work and leadership experience (and the chance to earn some cash and a free lunch every day), the Youth Tree Team offers a 9-week summer work program for grades 9-12. The application process for this highly competitive program is already closed for 2016, but check back in early 2017 for a chance to be selected.

However, there’s still an opportunity to be a member of the Acorn Club, TreesAtlanta’s newest kids’ environmental stewardship program. Members can expect invitations to special youth education events, quarterly emails with activity ideas, and discounts on camp fees.