Children’s Garden

The Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden is the perfect place for kids who love getting their hands dirty in the garden. 

There’s lots of fun places to explore including the Ruin Garden, the Meeting Place (which has a water feature that sprays up out of the ground in summer!), a Wetland Area, Bamboo Forest, The Gorge, Plant Tunnel, Kitchen Garden (full of yummy vegetables!) and The Rill (a gentle waterway that runs through the Garden).

The Children's Garden is currently closed for its winter break but there's still plenty to explore with our '50 things to do at the Royal Botanic Gardens... and some more beyond' checklist. Download the checklist (PDF - 4.47 MB) or pick up a free copy at the Visitor Centre. 

  • Each year the Children’s Garden takes a break in winter for regular maintenance and restoration. This year the Children’s Garden winter closure will be extended to accommodate the construction of the new Gathering Lawn, beginning on Monday 14 July and re-opening in time to mark its 10th birthday on Saturday 25 October.
  • Open 10am–sunset Wednesday–Sunday and public holidays; 10am–sunset seven days a week during Victorian State School holidays.
  • Closed to the public Monday–Tuesday during Victorian State School terms for booked school groups only; for eight weeks for rest and maintenance following the end of July school holidays. 

The Children’s Garden is an interactive educational environment in which children of all ages, backgrounds, physical abilities and cultures can play, explore and discover the natural world. It features plants, water, structures and pathways that reflect Melbourne's changing seasons.

The garden has been designed to intrigue, teach and excite children from a very young age about the importance of conservation and the environment. It is scaled specifically for children to create a sense of ownership, care and responsibility for the environment. The Children’s Garden is accessible to anybody including wheelchair users, visitors with walking frames and parents with prams.

  • What's on at the Ian Potter Foundation Children's Garden
  • Education at the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden

Water features

  • Rill (stream): 10am–4pm daily
  • Spiral fountains: 10am–4pm on days when the temperature is forecast to exceed 25 degrees. The fountains do not operate when the forecast is less than 25 degrees.

Safety

This is a public space, so for safety and hygiene reasons, children must be clothed at all times. It can take as little as ten minutes for your child to suffer sunburn, so:

  • Slip on sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible
  • Slop on SPF30+ sunscreen
  • Slap on a hat
  • Seek shade
  • Slide on sunglasses

Adults are responsible for actively supervising children and keeping them safe while in the Children’s Garden. This is a glass-free, alcohol-free and smoke-free area.


Children’s parties

Picnics can take up a lot of space in the Children’s Garden, which is needed for jumping, running and playing! So step out into the Gardens and try these spots to throw down your picnic rug and enjoy the beautiful views:

  • Oak Lawn, beneath the mighty oaks there’s lots of space to play. A favourite for kids in autumn as the colourful leaves fall to the ground.
  • Western Lawn, with plenty of space to play close to the Children’s Garden.
  • Princes Lawn, with views down to Central Lake and a gentle hill to roll down.
  • Eastern Lawn, with shady areas with nice views towards the city.
  • Guilfoyle and Eucalypt Lawns, with shady areas close to the Guilfoyle’s Volcano and D Gate.
  • Picnic Point by the lake, where you can look for eels and black swans.

Dogs

Dogs are not permitted in the Children’s Garden, but are permitted elsewhere in the Gardens provided they are leashed and supervised at all times.