As a Cincinnati native, I often feel like I am privy to many of Cincy’s hidden gems and attractions. However, becoming a mother has brought a new sense of exploration and excitement as I discover even more treasures that our city has to offer. Our most recent find was the enchanting Highfield Discovery Garden located in Glenwood Gardens. This charming and imaginative park is full of surprises and appears to have popped right out of a fairy tale. Here is an inside look into this magical wonderland.
Admission To Highfield Discovery Center
The Highfield Discovery Garden is located inside Glenwood Gardens. If you do not have a Great Parks annual permit, you can pay for the day to enter Glenwood Gardens. Admission into the Highfield Discovery Garden is sold separately inside the visitors center. Admission is $5 per person. Children under two are free. They do offer winter pricing at $2.50 a person starting in November through March. Family passes are offered at $45 for a family of four which offer special benefits like member-only days, discounts and priority registration for special events. The daily educational programs which are offered are free with admission, whether daily or pass holder.
Hours do vary month to month so be sure to check their schedule before loading the kids up! Check out their schedule here. They are always closed on Mondays.
One of the greatest things about this park is that they offer educational programs on all days they are open to visitors at no additional cost. These programs can vary from building a fairy garden to learning how to grow your own vegetable garden at home. They also offer special programs throughout the year; for example, they host Frankenstein’s Garden during Halloween and my personal favorite Owl-o-ween! Even if there are not a scheduled programs happening visitors young and old are always welcome to visit the Garden Workshop. The Garden Workshop is home to a few resident animals, educational materials and craft opportunities.
- Tuesday–Saturday: 10:45 a.m. & 1 p.m.
- Sunday: 1 p.m.
- Wed–Saturday: 10:45 a.m. & 1 p.m.
- Sunday: 1 p.m.
Gardens of Discovery
It is hard to miss the most notable feature of the park which is the 25-foot tall Discovery Tree. My daughter loved peering into every nook and cranny and crawling through every hole. There is even a ramp to access the tree from behind. Parents with multiple children may find this area a shade difficult to manage as they can easily run in multiple directions with limited visibility. In addition to the Discovery Tree, there are seven smaller gardens to explore.
Frog & Toads Garden
Located next to the discovery tree you will find the frog and toad garden. This peaceful garden is known for its resident frogs that flood the pond. Fish can be seen swimming between lily pads as you step across the stepping-stones. If you don’t keep a close eye on little ones they will likely end up in the pond trying to catch the frogs.
After you have entered the park you will come to a crossroads. Take the wooden steps down and enter the land of fairies, wizards, and dragons. The resident fairies have made their home here so be sure to find the fairy garden before you venture over the bridge.
Take a look at what produce is growing in the raised flower beds. This allows little ones to get a bird’s-eye view of a variety of vegetable plants often time with veggies on them.
Grandma’s Scent Garden
The aromas coming from this garden will leave you questioning which scent you are smelling. Have fun discovering the different scents and maybe stay for an afternoon tea party!
Kids of all ages love seeing gigantic mushrooms, caterpillars, and more!
Take a stroll through the perfectly manicured butterfly garden and be greeted by a multitude of winged beauties. Butterflies of all sorts can be found in just a short walk through this garden that is actually shaped like a butterfly!
This is a favorite of ours. Running in front of the Discovery Tree are four small-scale trains making their way through storybook land. Pretend to be the conductor in the train station by pressing buttons to turn on the train signal, horn and even start one of the trains. Fair warning: The fencing around the trains can be easy to get through and those trains can be so tempting.
More About Highfield Discovery Garden
- A paved walkway makes this park very stroller friendly. Be sure to check out the walking trails in Glenwood Gardens for more paved and serene options.
- The majority of the park is handicap accessible.
- Highfield Discovery Garden does not allow dogs.
- An outdoor patio is available for guests to bring food.
- Bring a school group, your scout group or have a birthday party here.
- Be sure to check out the awesome gift shop that offers a variety of books and toys to engage your little nature enthusiast.
- There is currently a train table located inside the visitors center. It makes a welcome distraction while you make the final preparations to enter the gardens.
- Guests can purchase snacks and beverages at the gift shop.
- Bathrooms are located at the Garden Workshop inside the gardens.
This has been one of my favorite places to bring my daughter who is 16 months old. It is a park that will grow with her and I can’t wait for her to get to enjoy the tea parties, garden lessons and more!
Are you looking for another fun park to check out in Cincinnati? We recommend visiting West Fork Park.
Read more about our fun finds in Cincinnati here.
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