At Mt. Cuba Center, a Botanical Garden That’s Family- and Wallet-Friendly
Take the kids to this Delaware spot that welcomes families.
A kid-friendly, picnic-welcoming, botanical garden that’s also easy on the wallet? Yes, please.
You can find nature’s splendor, fun, and affordability at Mt. Cuba Center. Located in Hockessin, Delaware, this nonprofit garden offers visitors infinite beauty.
And it’s not just for adults: children of all ages will enjoy exploring this hidden gem. The garden is home to an extensive collection of native plant and tree species, groomed walking trails and easy-to-explore ponds.
Begin your visit by purchasing tickets in the Main House. If you are interested in a more structured experience, which includes learning specifics about the native plants, try the Garden Enthusiast Tour. It takes place the second Saturday of every month, beginning at 10 am.
The tour runs for two hours and guests get to take home a native plant. The gardens are always changing, so it’s easy to do this tour more than once and see something new each time.
If structured tours aren’t your thing, the gardens are open for visitors to explore freely. If you have young kids, this is the way to go. If you get hungry, there are snacks and drinks available on-site, but definitely bring a picnic if you want to chow down. Spread yourselves out on the Upper Lawn and enjoy amazing views while the kids run freely.
Families can also set the pace, and educate themselves, with the ever-changing scavenger hunts. Easy-to-follow picture cards are free with admission and can be found in the Main House. You can meet here every Thursday at 10:30 am for Storytime in the Gardens, ideal for kids 5 and under.
Another can’t-miss for visitors with children are the ponds. If you happen to visit in early spring, you can see thousands of tadpoles along the water’s edge. It’s easy to get down and view these frogs-to-be, but visitors are asked not to disturb animal and plant life.
Benches are scattered around the pond, and throughout the entire property, so there are plenty of opportunities to just sit and enjoy.
The staff at Mt. Cuba Center is extremely knowledgeable and eager to share what they know. They’ll answer questions about plant life in Mt. Cuba’s gardens, and advise you on what’s best for the garden in your backyard.
As Sarah Gram, a longtime season pass holder from Gladwyne, said, “the staff provides information that leads to beauty and practicality.”
“Mt. Cuba Center has educated us so we know which species of plants grow best in our area, which ones the deer won’t eat, and they are always so beautiful.”
Mt. Cuba Center aims to “inspire an appreciation for the beauty and value of native plants and a commitment to protect the habitats that sustain them.”
Through its events, including the annual Wildflower Celebration, certificate classes like Sustainable Landscape Techniques, art offerings like Eco-Print Silk Scarf Making, and yoga, Mt. Cuba Center is constantly moving toward bringing this mission to life.
Mt. Cuba Center is at 3120 Barley Mill Road in Hockessin, Delaware. It’s open for general admission Wednesday through Sunday, April through November. You can also visit during the golden hours on Thursdays until 8 pm from April through August.
Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids ages 6 to 17; kids 5 and under are free.
Their education classes are offered year-round. Want to know more? Visit Mt. Cuba’s website for more details or to plan your visit.
Photographs By Sarah L. Bender.