Published on: May 11, 2016

Tulsa Botanic Garden will celebrate grand opening of the Children’s Discovery Garden to the public on Sunday, May 15.  The Garden will open at 3 p.m. and offer free admission for the event which will include ribbon cutting, music with Klondike 5 String Band, food trucks, and crafts. The Garden will stay open late for the festivities, closing at 7 p.m.  On Sunday morning, the Botanic Garden will be open only for members from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for a special preview that also includes music, crafts and yoga. 

Schedule of Activities May 15:

10 am -3pm: Garden closed to public – Botanic Garden members have exclusive access to preview the Children’s Discovery Garden from 10 to 3.

10 am – 12 pm: MEMBERS ONLY: Music by Eric Himan in Children’s Amphitheatre

11 am & 1 pm: MEMBERS ONLY: Garden tours

12 -3 pm: MEMBERS ONLY: Family crafts under tent

12:30 – 2:30 pm: MEMBERS ONLY: I AM Kids Yoga fun in the Children’s Amphitheatre

Food trucks will be on site from 1 to 6 pm


3:30 – 5:30 pm: Music by Klondike 5 String Band in Children’s Amphitheatre

3:30 – 6:30 pm: Family crafts under tent

7 pm: Garden closes

The Children’s Discovery Garden encompasses almost two acres near the Garden’s Visitor Center and is designed as a wonderland garden environment for experience-based learning for children and families.  The focal point of the north half of the garden is the Stream Valley, with a shallow stream surrounded by natural boulders offering opportunities to explore water ecosystems. The Spring Giant, a water source for the stream, is a one-of-a-kind 15’ tall fantastical head created with rebar and concrete to look like stone. A “salivating” water curtain inside the open mouth of the face will fill a raised basin from which kids can scoop water to use for painting on the slate Art Wall nearby. The top of the structure includes a hidden planting bed where “hair” for the Spring Giant will be planted and changed annually. Musical instruments, including xylophones and metal drums, are mounted in a plaza behind the Spring Giant near a curved wall and seating area.

The Stream Valley includes three “spitting” animal fountains representing Oklahoma wildlife including map turtles, leopard frogs and a raccoon with sunfish.  The Stream Valley feeds into the Round Pond which is home to aquatic plants including water lilies and papyrus as well as water insects. Bog bowls placed nearby will offer opportunities for visitors to see carnivorous plants such as Venus fly-traps, sundews, and pitcher plants.

The Meadow, anchoring the southern half of the garden, is planted with prairie grasses and flowering perennials with trails for exploration.  Larger than life insect whirligigs hover above the meadow and children can make the insects on each whirligig “fly” by turning a wheel.

At the southern tip of the Meadow, the Children’s Amphitheatre includes a small lawn and seating to rest and listen to music, watch a show, read a story or play games.

A naturally occurring grove of post oaks, located at the highest point of the Children’s Discovery Garden, is home to the Tree Fort, offering vantage points through windowed portals set among the tree limbs.  Oversized, ornate Oak Thrones, created by Oklahoma artist Clayton Coss offer great photo opportunities for families.

Tulsa artist, and owner of Garden Deva Sculpture, Lisa Regan created colorful metal entrance banners as well as art pieces that are placed within garden areas such as the Sensory Walk, Butterfly Stroll, and Hummingbird Walk.

Over 350 different kinds of plants, more than 7,500 total, comprise the Children’s Discovery Garden including the ‘Godzilla’ Japanese Painted Fern, which can grow three feet tall and six and a half feet wide and Teddy Bear magnolia, which forms tightly upright evergreen spire-like trees.

Designers for the Children’s Discovery Garden include landscape architect Tres Fromme of 3.Fromme Design as well as Tulsa firm Howell & Vancuren.  Fromme is one of the leading designers for public gardens in the country and has designed children’s gardens for Longwood Gardens (Pennsylvania) and Atlanta Botanical Garden.  Howell & Vancuren have worked on many prominent projects in the city and region, including Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art (Bentonville, AR) and Philbrook Museum of Art.

The Children’s Discovery Garden is the second of four gardens to be completed as part of the 3-year Reaching for generations capital campaign.  The A.R. and Marylouise Tandy Floral Terraces, a 3-acre ornamental garden, opened in October 2015.

With the opening of the Children’s Discovery Garden, the Botanic Garden will increase days open to the public.  Starting Tuesday, May 17, the Botanic Garden will be open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Admission will be $8 for ages 13+; $4 for children 3-12 years. Ages 2 and under will be free.  Garden members receive free admission. The Botanic Garden is located eight miles northwest of downtown at 3900 Tulsa Botanic Drive, Tulsa 74127.  For more information, call 918-289-0330 or visit