Imagine if you could take your kids to a fairytale garden that you thought only existed in the pages of a storybook. Luckily, just a short jaunt away in Fallbrook, lies a world of wonder in Myrtle Creek Botanical Gardens & Nursery. Here kids and families can wile the day away amidst endless blossoms in the company of butterflies, birds and even resident kitty cats. You can savor a picnic lunch, complete with homemade pie and lemonade, feed mountain goats and build a fairy garden! Read on to learn more about this portal to a magical retreat.

Grab a Picnic Basket Lunch or Dine at Cafe Bloom
First things first: every parent needs to know the lowdown on food when on an outing with kids. No outside food is permitted, but that’s no problem because the Garden’s Cafe Bloom runneth over with options. Order at the counter and they’ll provide a basket to pack your food in and lend you a blanket so you can go find the perfect spot for a picnic or dine al fresco at the tables on the whimsical patio that overlooks a lily pond and is shaded by blossoms and greenery. Crepes are made to order on weekends and you can choose between a wide array of sweet (Nutella, berries) or savory (Fallbrook avocado, wild mushrooms) fillings. The menu features a rotating variety of options from pizzas, paninis and quesadillas to salads, wraps, soups and sandwiches, coffee and tea. There’s also a Kid’s Basket lunch for $6.99 that includes a turkey and cheese sandwich, sweet potato chips, fruit cup or piece of fruit, a chocolate chunk cookie and myrtle berry lemonade.

Note: Cafe Bloom serves lunch from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Weds.-Mon.

Top it Off with Myrtle Berry Pie and Myrtle Berry Lemonade
Be sure to grab a slice, or a whole signature myrtle berry pie and wash it down with sweet myrtle berry lemonade. There are other pie flavors to choose from as well as pastries made fresh daily: pumpkin or maple scones and muffins. If you want to be certain you leave with a myrtle berry pie, call 760-728-5340 to pre-order one, as they do sell out.

Stroll Through the Wild Bird Sanctuary & Butterfly and Hummingbird Gardens
Lined with towering historic oaks, sauntering through the Wild Bird Sanctuary will put a spring in your kid’s step. Over 50 bird species call this sanctuary home. See if your little birdwatchers can spy the Barn Owl, a pair of nesting Red Shoulder Hawks, Ring Neck Doves, Finches and song birds. In another area on the property, be sure to stroll through the Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden as well. There are so many colorful wing flutters your kids won’t know where to look first!

Create Your Own Fairy Garden to Take Home
A truly therapeutic and lovely place, the Fairy Garden Workshop area gives kids the chance to sink their hands into earthiness to create a unique little enchanted garden to call their own and take home. Select the size of pot you’d like, then fill it with any variety of moss, soil, geodes, crystals and pebbles laid out buffet-style to choose from. Next kids can fill their garden with succulents, plants and flowers…

Fairy Garden Decorations
What will arguably be your little fairy or gnome’s favorite part of the process is selecting figurines and miniatures to inhabit their freshly-built Fairy Garden. Options include tiny animals, miniature birdhouses, teeny planters and fairies of course. Everything needed to build a Fairy Garden is sold a la carte so you can tailor it to your budget. Pots start around $5.99, plants range from .50-$2.99 and figurines range from $2.99-$12.99.

Feed the Goats at Happy Goat Mountain
For $3.50 your kiddo will gain entrance to Happy Goat Mountain, along with a treat to feed the Garden’s rescue goats. (Children age 1 and under get in for free). Or you can pay $19.50 for a happy goat treat, myrtle berry lemonade, kid’s cookie or healthy snack and to build a mini-fairy garden or farm (which includes a container, organic soil and moss, 3 herbs or flowers in 2 inch pots, a scoop of rocks and twigs and a mini plastic farm animal).

Have a Ball Unplugging
You may be surprised to discover that one of your kid’s favorite things to do at the Garden is run around a grassy field throwing around a couple jumbo beach balls and honing their hula skills with some hula hoops––toys that are set out to bring forth pure joy in young ones. This serene area behind the Carriage House invites kids to unplug in nature and just be kids.

This area is also a wonderful setting for a birthday party. Click here to learn more about hosting a birthday party at the lovely locale and ask about the Fairy Garden Birthday Package options.

Vintage Carousel, Gypsy Wagon & Photo Ops Galore
There are endless photo ops that pepper every corner of the Garden. Above is the original carousel from the Santa Barbara Children’s Zoo. And don’t miss the Old Gypsy Wagon––another great backdrop. Not to mention the greenery and flowers around every turn. You’ll definitely want to take a ton of pics of your little ones basking in the garden atmosphere.

Shop Before You Go
Stop by the charming Farmhouse Gift Shop for an array of decor, gifts and souvenirs like myrtle berry jams, preserves and salsas. And don’t forget that this Botanical Garden is also a nursery with a vibrant, lush and affordable array of plants, succulents, flowers, trees and shrubs. It’s a bonus if you need plants because they’ll always remind you of your visit while growing in your home.

Insider’s Tip: Fallbrook is known as the “avocado capital of the world;” so be sure to pick up some avocados on your visit to the Garden or look for roadside avocado farm stands on your journey to and from the Garden.

2940 Reche Road
Fallbrook, Ca 92028

Hours: Weds.–Mon. 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. *Closed Tuesdays. Hours also depend on weather so call ahead to make sure they’re open before your visit.

Have you discovered Myrtle Creek Botanical Garden & Nursery yet? Tell us about your experience in the comments.

––Beth Shea

All photos by Beth Shea.