The Friendly Garden Club
 of Traverse City, MI

P.O. Box 1286, Traverse City, MI 49685

Plant Michigan, Plant Native


Thank you to all our current donors; click here to see the list.   FGC DONORS      Additional CSG Photos

The Friendly Garden Club of Traverse City, Michigan, is embarking on an exciting new project in partnership with The Botanic Garden. Our club has taken on the responsibility of creating, developing, and maintaining a children's sensory garden located in the heart of Traverse City on the grounds of The Botanic Garden at Historic Barns Park.  The mission of this garden is to invite children of all ages to explore and experience meaningful connections with nature through the five senses.  This garden is designed to create an engaging outdoor learning environment by offering elements that will spur creative and active play, open-ended discovery, fine and gross motor skills, and language development thru various levels of interaction.  In addition, this garden will be a sanctuary providing educational, therapeutic, and safe garden experiences that promote the love of gardening and environmental responsibility that can be enjoyed by all visitors--both young and old alike.  


*Growing a garden where flowering plants bloom, and people bloom with smiles!

*A garden designed to be touched, inhaled, and experienced using all five senses.

*A garden that exposes youth to a planned outdoor environment promoting future generations to

   become environmental stewards.

*A garden with sensory spaces and trails that provide science-based (STEM) learning, encouraging

  curiosity, beauty, and joy.


*A garden safe for children to experience the “Whimsy” of imagination and excitement of 

  awakening creative energies forming lasting memories.

A garden that provides educational experiences, including speakers, storytellers, and all kinds of   entertainment.

*A garden that is very therapeutic for people who suffer from sensory problems and integration 

  disorders, such as autism and dementia.  It can provide a calming place and a gentle way to 

  stimulate the senses.

This environment is specially designed for visitors of all ages and abilities.  Research shows that children's contact with nature is critical for their healthy development.  For a toddler who is just beginning to explore the surroundings or a person with a sensory impairment, this garden provides a safe developmentally rich play environment. Opportunities for learning and self-discovery abound with fun water elements, hideaways, hidden creatures, and whimsical features that can be experienced throughout the garden.   

1) Serve as a rich community resource; a gathering place for all members of the community to share ideas, foster relationships, and collaborate on projects, plus be an attraction for visitors coming to our area.

2) Foster environmental stewardship.  Our garden will offer a project-based learning platform that will increase understanding of ecology, build understanding about the interconnections in nature and lead to advocacy for the local environment as well as serve as a real-life context for diverse subjects, such as math, geography, ethics, economics and language

3) Support intergenerational learning.  Research shows that experiences between both children and adults offer multi-layered benefits.  The garden will provide conversation starters as wisdom is shared between the generations.

4) Encourage positive social and interpersonal skills.  Children can learn interpersonal skills by interacting cooperatively with other on project-based activities.

5) Provide a welcoming environment for all.

6) Reinforce healthy eating and nutrition.  The Friendly Garden Club will utilize decades of experience to design an environment where children learn how to incorporate healthy practices into their daily lives.

7) Strengthen STEM skills and attitudes toward learning among visitors.  Research has shown that students who utilized a garden-based program have an increased interest in science and show improved science test scores.

8) Celebrate local history by providing a year-round sanctuary of environmental preservation honoring the elements, trees, and plantings of original historical importance.

9) Be an incubator for family connections that are inclusive for all parents and children regardless of age, race, ability, income, or family makeup.

The Children's Sensory Garden will be admission FREE!  All funding to create, maintain, and support this garden will come from grants and donations from individuals and businesses who have a stake in enhancing our community environment.


The Children’s Sensory Garden is being developed and operated by The Friendly Garden Club of Traverse City, Michigan, a non-profit 501(c)3 at the Historic Barns Park, a public park in Traverse City that is home to The Botanic Garden, our partners in this endeavor.

For photos of our "Kick-Off Celebration" involving our club members, click here!