When you walk up to the Maine Botanical Gardens, the first thing you notice is the smell. The sweet, lovely smell definitely takes you by surprise even though you are fully aware that you are about to enter a garden littered with fragrant flowers. The first thing that I spotted was a number of stunning lupines—the stunning flowers I remembered reading about as a child in Barbara Cooney’s Miss Rumphius. Everything just got lovelier from there.
A Walk To Remember
Children’s little legs get tired, so it’s always best to go hiking through the Maine Botanical Gardens and the adjacent paths first, saving the Children’s Gardens for last. (We highly suggest you bring a stroller of the rugged variety or wear the tiniest family members when you visit with your infants so you can manage the unpaved paths with ease.) The paths down to the water aren’t difficult to traverse, and they offer lots to see and smell on your journey to water’s edge.
You’ll first pass by some stunning sculptures that you’ll definitely have to make a stop at so the kids can gasp in delight as they move about in the light sea breeze before moving on to sit for a moment at the Slater Forest Pond.
As you continue on through the Haney Hillside Garden, it’s hard to tell what is more fun for the kids—running down the ramp-like path or stopping to identify and smell the flora all around.
At the bottom, you can take the Huckleberry Cove Trail to the left or the Shoreland Trail to the right, both of which offer stunning views of Back River that the kids will just eat up.
The Maine Attraction
This hike is unique as you will come across many trees and plants that are native to this great state, which is makes each and every path and plaque a wonderful learning experience for locals and tourists alike.
Kids have an opportunity to learn through reading the plaques or on a guided tour. Take the whole experience one step further by joining a boat or kayak tour to learn all about the wildlife thriving in the salty Back River of Boothbay.
Kids will relish the chance to explore the Giles Rhododendron Garden and waterfall on the far side of the complex. Walk along the Maine Woods Trail or hop on a shuttle to get there quickly and smoothly. The waterfalls just above this little pond are fun, but what kids will really enjoy is exploring the paths and discovering the flowers up and around it. After today’s journey, it might be time to escape to the Children’s Garden.
A Storybook Inspired Children’s Garden
“You must do something to make the world more beautiful.” says Miss Rumphius, and this all too true saying is immortalized in stone as you enter the Children’s Garden where the kids are greeted by great big “whale” rocks spraying water—ideal for playful little ones on hot summer days.
Quaint little houses spring up just before you, and children can read stories here or even play house. They can pump water, play in a sandbox, and even visit Mr. McGregor’s garden just like Peter Rabbit. Kids will jump at the chance to visit a bear cave or build their own fairy house. They can also exert some energy by playing in the tree house or picking blueberries around the pond.
Special events take place everyday from puppet shows to feeding the chickens, so there’s no shortage of things to do here.
Make The World More Beautiful
Just as Miss Rumphius reminds us, we should all go out into the world and do something to make it more beautiful then when we found it. All the beauty here on Maine’s stunning coast is all wrapped into one wonderful experience, at the Maine Botanical Garden, that is sure to inspire both children and adults to explore, wonder and create a more beautiful world.