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. 

Closed to the public Monday–Tuesday during Victorian State School terms. Available on these days for booked school groups only. 

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).

  • 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
  • Each year the Children’s Garden takes a break in winter for regular maintenance and restoration for eight weeks 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. Plenty to explore in and around the Children's Garden with our '50 things for kids to do' checklist (PDF - 1.82 kB).

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 feature

  • 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.

Guidelines for groups visiting the Children's Garden for non-booked or out-of-program times

Please note that the Children's Garden is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays during school terms. Groups are therefore not permitted to enter the Children's Garden on Mondays and Tuesdays during school terms.
These days are allocated so that the Garden can rest and rehabilitate after a busy weekend. 

  • Please make a prior arrangement with the booking office before entering the Children's Garden on 9252 2358
  • Please keep groups to small 'family-sized' supervised groupings of no more than 10 children
  • For the safety of others, no running please - there are toddlers and small children sharing this public space
  • Please be mindful of classes that are being conducted and give such groups sufficient space
  • Please do not touch resources that have been left for education programs
  • Please limit your visit to approximately 1 hour


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.


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


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.