Walk on Sunshine at an Overlooked Outdoor Gem
Spring is finally here and with it comes the delicious opportunity to get outside. Hooray for that! The season of green can never come too soon and now that we are enjoying every dry, sunny and warm-ish day why not plan a day trip that will delight every member of your clan? We have the deats on the best kept, easy-to-find, ready for your sprouts, outdoor, fresh air, sunshine-y (or puddle jumping) adventure. Are you ready?
Let’s Go Outside
You may have heard of it, you may have friends who have gone. It may still be a mystery to explore. Regardless, there are no words to do this lovely, magnificent, amazing, tranquil, exciting, glorious, spectacular destination justice. You truly have to see it, wander it, discover it and delight in it – to believe it. What is it you ask? Why it’s The Oregon Garden!
For the Little Acorns
Right out of the gate (the garden store and cafe where you pay admission and get a much needed map) is a koi pond of epic proportions. The fish are plentiful and the floating bridges, waterfall, maze-like trails and water garden will not disappoint young adventurers. Nor will the water dragon/Loch Ness monster swimming stealthily. You could spend all your time here; it’s that special. But don’t.
Head next to This Children’s Garden; – which delivers at every turn. Climb aboard the pirate ship/tree fort. Test the telescope, turn the steering wheel, bang on the bongos, and hug the tree anchoring the middle. Wander over to the hobbit house and choose what is the most cool – going through or over it. Then get your dig on at the dinosaur-bone-laden sand pit. Shovels and pails provided, smiles earned.
Just beyond is the train garden where a model train runs Spring – Summer to the delight of many young gardeners. Catch it if you can as it ambles along through a tunnel and around luscious plants, trees and grasses. It may just be the prettiest ride any model train has ever run.
Double back past the children’s garden and discover the Market Garden with chicken coop, raised beds full of veggies, berries and other fruits and old-school water pump. All of the veggies and proceeds from this garden are donated. Good on ya, Oregon Garden! Lastly, point out the small creek running through this garden to your little shrubs, and follow it to the finale - a mini waterfall!
As you are lead up and down the garden paths, keep an ever-watchful eye out for their silly and fun plant pot people and flora/fauna displays planted in everyday household objects. Kidlets get a kick out of them, and so will you.
Continue on your explorations and find frog ponds, gorgeous, historic Pacific NW trees, a towering fountain and at the top of the hill, The Garden View restaurant serving up lunch, dinner and views a-plenty. It is part of the Oregon Garden Resort (cozy fireside seating area by the front desk) and dishes up hearty fare for the day-trippers and sunshine walkers. There is a locked gate for re-entry to the tree party so ask at the front desk for a key if you can’t get back out. You are, after all, garden-worthy.
How Does This Garden Grow?
The Oregon Garden comprises over twenty specialty gardens that include a pet-friendly garden, a sensory garden, Lewis and Clark garden, and a 400-year-old signature oak. Now that is mighty!
Their junior gardener program for 5-10 year olds offers hands-on gardening, crafts, education, camps and coolness. The Oregon Garden hosts a harvest festival, fireworks on/near July 4th, a fall barn dance and pig roast, Santa and his reindeer in December and many other events. Keep your calendar app ready or follow them on Facebook to be in the know. Family memberships are also available.
Green Thumb Advice
The Oregon Garden has a shuttle with numerous stops through their many acres (maps available at the garden store). It is easy to jump on and off if little feet grow weary or if the rain decides to fall. Bathrooms, water fountains, and shady/dry places to sit and snack are plentiful.
The Oregon Garden is in Silverton, about 40 minutes from Portland. They are open 10:00 am – 4:00 pm October to April and 9:00 am – 6:00 pm May through September. Adult admission is $11 and kids 5-11 are $5. Under 5s are free. The Garden Café, (at the entrance) offers casual lunch sandwiches, snacks, and outdoor patio seating with beautiful surroundings. The Oregon Garden is uber-close to Silver Falls State Park and could be an excellent double header with a hike/walk to see that gorgeous waterfall. Dress for the weather and plan on having room to roam. The many gardens have wide paths and are stroller-friendly.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s one and only Oregon design sits on these grounds. Yet another reason to go! It is visible from the car as you enter and exit, or perhaps you can score a tour if you work your planning magic. It is a sight to see, no doubt about it, as are so many others at this incredible garden jewel where the grass is definitely greener. So go there. Soon! And watch your little petals shine and smile. Then you’ll know why there are no words to truly capture the magic within.
“Like” this story if you’ve spent an afternoon at this outdoor gem.
Thank you to the Oregon Garden for the train garden and scarecrow photos!