7 Magnificent Reasons to Visit Leach Botanical Garden

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It was once the private estate of John and Lilla Leach; world-travelers, botanists, and all around cool Oregonians who called their expansive garden and manor home Sleepy Hollow. Rad. They collected flowers and plants from all over the globe then gave them a home here. The Leaches bequeathed their estate to the City of Portland and the public was able to come traipsing through starting in 1983 thanks to a partnership with Friends of Leach and Portland Parks & Rec. Wait until you see this place. What an aptly-named gem it is – simply because you cannot help but relax and be inspired at the same time. Urban oasis anyone?

leach-botanical-gardenSleepy Hollow err…Leach Botanical Garden boasts lots of room wander, explore, uncover and discover. It’s never crowded, consistently lovely and always free. With almost seventeen acres of awesomeness waiting, get ready for creek-side mosey-ing, winding trail exploring, native and unique plant, succulent and flower sniffing and stone step skipping. It’s such a magical place, it’s easy to forget how close to home(s) you are.    


The Johnson Creek Footbridge is open and awesome. This bridge isn’t always available to cross, but now in Spring it is open for all the joy you can muster. Yahoo! Kiddos and grownups will love walking on (right over the) water. Be sure to pause and take in the scene from here. It is a gorgeous place to be and like every bridge over bubbled water–it leads to some hidden delights on the other side like:

leach-botanical-garden-stonecabinA very stop-and-play-worthy stone cabin, perfect for young ramblers to claim as their own. Ninja house? Hansel and Gretel’s lair? Princess or fairy cabin? Whatevs! The stone cabin is the perfect spot for a picnic or snack break and some good ol’ fashioned imaginary play.  


You can hug a dinosaur! Yup, you can. He loves hugs. But you can’t ride him. He’s not quite that strong. See if you can find this extinct garden delight and when you do get those arms around him. Stat! And be sure to say hello to the plant pot people, too. You’ll know ‘em when you see ‘em. 


Honeybee Hikes, summer camps and other classes keep it real. Really amazing that is! There seems to always be something cool happening for the kiddos here. Especially when school is out. Keep the learning and adventuring going strong with a few hours, days or a week of guided learning and discovery. The Leach Botanical Garden web site is a bevy of info about their award winning summer programs and their partnership with Audubon means you never know who (or should we say hoo-hoo) might be stopping by.

The Children’s Nature Fair is coming soon! Last but oh-so-far-from-least, mark your calendar for this annual collaboration with Johnson Creek Watershed Council, Zenger Farms, Portland Parks EE, Audubon Society of Portland and EEAO.  Blooming on Saturday, May 18 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm, this year’s Children’s Nature Fair theme is Nature Explodes! and will feature volcanoes, oozy geology, arts & crafts, slug races, 25 cent mini ice cream cones, live music, ladybug walks, worm activities and something billed as the Mad Science’s Fire & Ice Show. Ok, sold. See ya there!

Leach Botanical Garden is free (donations welcome) and open Tuesday – Saturday 9:00 am – 4:00 pm and Sunday 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm.

6704 SE 122nd Ave
Portland, OR

–Liz Overson

What did you do on your last visit to Leach Botanical Garden?

Photos courtesy of Leach Botanical Garden Facebook page and Liz Overson

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