When the NEW Ann Goldstein’s Children’s Rainforest Garden opened in November, 2013 at Selby Gardens, it ushered in a new era in ways for the Garden to connect and build relationships with and among children and families. Open daily during regular hours (10 am to 5 pm), the children’s rainforest offers a delightful, natural space for discovery, exploration, learning and PLAY! In conjunction with nearby Kids’ Corner, there are hands-on, developmentally-appropriate activities and programs available on a regular basis.
The Banyan Tree is 100 years old and the centerpiece of the Children’s Rainforest Garden. Under this magnificent tree’s branches, a shaded deck provides a place for parents to sit and socialize or to depart with their family for adventures in the rainforest. Restricting visitors to a single entry/exit assures parents that no child can enter or exit the Children’s Rainforest Garden without parental supervision. Children may freely explore, play, come and go within the garden at their own rhythm.
The Waterfall is 12’ in height and cascades down a rock face covered with lush plantings, adding the splash and gurgle of rushing water to the rainforest soundscape and creating a delicate mist that enhances the rainforest ambience. The waterfall nearby forest pool provide opportunities to educate visitors about the water cycle.
The Forest Pool is located just beside the entry plaza—1,000 sq. ft. and holds 27,000 gallons of water. The stream flowing from the waterfall continuously refreshes this shallow body of water, a cool place to contemplate the majesty of the rainforest environment. The pool is planted with aquatic rainforest plants and is an excellent chance to explore the relationships between water, plants, and ecosystems.
The Canopy Walk and Rope Bridge are a place of (safe) risks that engage the body and mind in exploring the canopy layer while surrounded by the sights and sounds of the rainforest from 27’ above. This is a place to feel the wind and enjoy expansive vistas of the gardens beyond. The Moreton Bay Fig’s massive buttress roots and the aerial roots of the banyan trees are a natural entrée for introducing information about plant adaptations.
The Amphitheatre and Village Shelter will welcome groups as they return to ground level. The Village Shelter is a rainforest classroom containing tables, benches and stands adjacent to the amphitheater and is used for direct instruction and small group experiences. Flexible seating can be used for eating or learning. The Amphitheatre is a stadium-style stage and seating area for special performances and presentations.
The Research Station is built along the edge of the rainforest. It includes the Huts, three individual, circular structures with conical, thatch roofs, each hosting a different exhibit that expands guests’ knowledge and deepens their curiosity about life in a tropical rainforest.
The Lawn is the perfect spot for children to soar new hights on our swings and follow a trail that leads into the deepest and darkest part of the children’s rainforest. This is also the place to open visitors’ eyes to the origins and appearances of many common food plants, such as bananas, pineapple, papayas, and more.
The Epiphyte Canyon is a world of lush plantings and hidden treasures. Plants and rocks frame a winding corridor, immersing guests in the infinite richness of the rainforest environment. Children will enjoy hiding and playing in the caves, and visitors will be enchanted by new surprises at every turn. The Epiphyte Canyon offers an excellent chance for a discussion of the special adaptations of lithophytes (plants that grow on rocks).