An Insider’s Guide to The Oregon Garden

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It’s no secret that the Oregon Garden is a treasure in the Pacific Northwest that everyone should have a chance to visit. But is a tranquil and peaceful garden any place for your wiliest of little ones? We investigated ourselves and got the scoop on how much fun the garden can actually be for visitors of any age. Read on to discover how to make the most of your day here with your whole family (Fido, too!).

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General Garden Info.
This gem located off highway 213 in Silverton is a beautiful place to spend a morning. There are over 23 different gardens, which gives you something new to see every time you visit, and in every season. Not only is the garden a kid-friendly place, but it is also a pet-friendly place, too.

Where to Explore: A Garden by Garden Itinerary
As you enter the beautiful expanse of the Oregon Garden, you first pass through one of the most fun gardens for kids. The Water Garden covers one acre, and features ponds and water creatures to delight any child. Frogs, fish, bugs,  ducks, snakes, lily pads and many other plants and creatures can be spotted around this garden, especially one such very silly yellow fish, who likes to hang out partially on top of the pond! 

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Once you and your little nature explorer can pull yourself away from the pond habitat, you can head northwest past the reflecting pool and the lupine sculpture, down near the Rose Garden and to the Pet Garden.  Here you’ll find a garden filled with pet-friendly plants, and a sculpture of Bobbie the Wonder Dog, an icon of the town of Silverton for his 2,500 mile trek across the country to be reunited with his family after getting lost back in 1923.

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From there, wind your way to the Oak Grove Trail, where you can walk beautiful trails and even try out a pair of binoculars to spot wildlife like woodpeckers, big brown bats, chipping sparrows, western gray squirrels and maybe even sharptail snakes. A turn along the trail will also take you to a spot to see The Signature Oak, an Oregon Heritage tree that is over 400-years-old!

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Next wind your way east along the paths to the Lewis & Clark Garden, and explore the Pacific Northwest just as they did. This garden also boasts lovely pale colored blooming dogwood trees if you visit in Spring.

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Did you know that Oregon is the number one producer of Christmas Trees in the nation?  Our trees are shipped to all 50 states and several countries along the Pacific Rim.  In the Restoration Garden you can learn about all the different kinds of Christmas trees we grow, as well as see how fast they get bigger when they don’t fulfill their Christmas destiny. Don’t miss the giant John Deere tractor to climb on, and a tire pyramid surrounded with pea gravel to dig in.

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After taking a turn through the Silverton Market Garden, which features many locally grown crops and three very charming chickens, it’s finally time to uncover the Children’s Garden. Check out the sweet hobbit hole in the center of the playground that has doors on both sides and a fun underground tunnel to pass through.

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Make a pit stop at the well-stocked sand box, a sculpture of a family made from terra-cotta pots, an entire play house made from garden items and natural materials, and a tree play area with a boat steering wheel and a set of drums. Hungry? Take a break at the stage area and picnic tables for a breather or snack time. Before leaving this area, make sure to check out the Weird Plants Garden, which houses some fun finds like a pineapple lily, a monkey puzzle tree and a balloon flower.

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Got a train-iac in your family? Slightly to the West of the Children’s Garden is the Train Garden where you’ll find a fun track set up with great accessories. Simply push a button to activate an electronic train to cruise the tracks.

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If you can peel your little hobbits away from the Children’s Garden to finish exploring, we suggest passing through the Northwest Garden to make a stop in the Conifer Garden, where you can see cones of every shape and size.

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As an added bonus, there’s a tram that runs through the garden on most days, and as long as you leave your pups at home you and your little explorer can hop on and off and get a whole tour of the garden, tram-style.

Oregon Garden
Hours: Daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct.-April, and daily 9 a.m.-6 p.m. May-Sept.
Spring admission: $12/adult, $10/senior, $9/students ages 12-17, $6 children ages 5-11, children under 4 are free.  Memberships also available.

879 W. Main St.
Silverton
503-874-8100
Online: Oregongarden.org

Which Garden is your favorite?  Let us know below!

—Stacy Coplin (photos, too!)

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