This family garden is a place for jumping, splashing, digging, creating, daydreaming, discovering, and simply enjoying time spent outdoors.
But mainly it is a Garden designed to engage children in outdoor play. We hope to inspire parents to take the message home and create spaces in their own backyard that will foster an appreciation for the natural world.
There are 16 different themed areas designed to engage a range of ages and abilities. Seedling Circle provides a special spot for toddlers while Nature Play features more challenging activities like fort-building. Even teens and adults without children will enjoy visiting the garden’s art and plantings.
We want children to have fun, but we want to make sure they’re minding their garden manners when they visit. We’re seeing a lot of plants getting trampled in the display beds. We know that it’s confusing to have an area for children where you encourage them to play freely in some areas, but stay out of others, so this is where we need the parent’s help. They can use it as a teaching moment to help explain that for flower beds to be successful, you have to till the soil making it loose so that the plant’s roots can thrive. When lots of little feet walk in the beds, the soil gets compacted making it hard for the plants to stay healthy. Please make sure that children stay out of planted flower beds.
Because this is a garden, not a playground, parent supervision is really important. We want to make sure everyone remains safe (especially around the pond) and that the garden thrives. There are several places where adults can rest on a bench while their children play, but for the most part, they need to be playing right alongside them! Unlike traditional children’s play equipment, the natural materials, original artwork, and unique exhibits in this garden were designed to create a whimsical garden setting. If children play roughly with these materials, they will break. We hope that families will view this as “their special garden” and will help take care of the play props and plantings.
We hope that parents will use their visit to experience magical spaces in the garden and explore alongside their children. There are many areas in addition to the popular playhouses and treetop play area where discoveries can be made.
Parents can encourage observation by asking questions, like "I wonder why that bee is visiting that flower? What does that plant smell like? How does that tree’s bark feel?
There are also many wonderful areas throughout the Garden for families to visit, such as the Prehistoric Plant Trail, the Urban Orchard, and the Butterfly Garden.
We have info in our Student Program Guide on classes that we offer in My Big Backyard. Classes are for groups of 25 students or less and require a 1:3 chaperone ratio. hey include 45 minutes of instructional time and 45 minutes of free play. The fee is $5 per student. Interested groups can call our Education Department at 636-4126 to schedule a visit.
Enjoy Nature Responsibly...
Have fun, but be careful!
Please remember that this is a garden, not a playground. Have fun and be mindful of others. Parents, please supervise your children at all times...especially around the pond.
Keep our plants healthy and happy.
Become one of our gardeners and help take care of My Big Backyard by not stepping in the planted beds or picking the flower, plants, or fruits.
Pick up, please.
Replace toys and props when you're finished, sothat we can keep our garden tidy and so others can enjoy them too.
Leave your swimsuits at home.
Our water features are for splashing, wading, and cooling off. Please wear appropriate garden clothing at all times.
Picking a place to picnic.
Out of consideration of our other guests, groups wishing to picnic must do so in the Pine Grove Picnic Area or another suitable location in the Garden.
The Pond Outback is not a swimming hole.
For the safety of our guests, there is no swimming or wading allowed in the pond area. This pond is for plants, wildlife, and observation; the water is not chlorinated and not suitable for swimming.
Celebrate in My Big Backyard!
All birthday parties and special events in My Big Backyard are by reservation only. Here's some information about planning a special event at the Garden.
For updates and more!
Central Daylight Time Hours:
9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Central Standard Time (Winter) Hours:
9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
We are located at:
750 Cherry Road
Memphis, TN 38117
(Between Park & Southern)