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Youth & Family

Whether it is a hike in the woods, a visit to the Discovery Center or singing and learning during Storybook Science, families are invited to discover all the beauty and wonders of nature.

Discovery Center

Enter a world of exploration and learning. Adults and children of all ages will enjoy the Discovery Center which is located in the lower level of the Visitors Center. Open seven days a week, the Discovery Center offers:

  • Interactive displays
  • Children’s reading nook
  • Reference library
  • Beautiful bird watching garden
  • Working beehive
  • Live animals, including a Spotted Turtle and an Eastern Fox Snake

Little Buckeye Imagination Sessions

Learn with a group as the creative educators at The Dawes Arboretum bring children closer to the wonders of the natural world. We will explore trees, flowers, weather and various creatures through songs, activities, games, crafts and real animal visitors. The fun begins in June and continues every Wednesday at 2pm through August.

Click here for the 2014 topics: Little Buckeye Imagination Session 2014

Home School Investigations

Supplement your science curriculum by joining other home school students in hands-on science study. Home School Investigations introduce students, ages 6 to 10, to basic principles of ecology and biology while nurturing an appreciation for and understanding of the natural world.

Our education staff leads programs the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month (September – April) at 9am and 1pm. Each program consists of a 90-minute session that includes background information and hands-on study of a topic, followed by field experience outdoors.

Children should dress for the weather; boots, rain gear and hats are recommended. Registration is required at least one week prior to each session. Students may register for single or multiple sessions.

Click here for 2014 listings: Home School Investigations 2014.

Storybook Science

Designed for children ages 3 to 5, story time at The Dawes Arboretum entertains your child with age-appropriate stories, crafts, songs, and indoor and outdoor exploration. Adults are expected to stay and participate in the program.

The 45-minute sessions are free and held the 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month from September through May.

Click here for the full 2014 schedule: Storybook Science 2014.


Designed especially for young children and their families, StoryTrail (TM) combines outdoor exercise with a favorite children’s picture book to create a fun and unique adventure.  This year’s trail features Shutta Crum’s book The Bravest of the Brave. Children are entertained by the catchy rhymes and a surprise ending in this story of a courageous skunk on his way home through the woods at night. Bring your whole family to walk, skip, run and explore while enjoying a beloved children’s story on a specially-designed trail! The trail is located near the Visitors Center and accessible during Arboretum hours May through October. Watch for news about the next featured story for the 2014  StoryTrail (TM) at The Arboretum!

Camp Dawes

Create a memorable summer experience! Children explore The Arboretum grounds when they attend one or more of our seven weeks of summer camps. Journey through a variety of ecosystems, observe nature, create outdoor-inspired crafts, cultivate a sense of curiosity and adventure for the natural world while hiking or uncovering new and exciting plants and creatures. Camp activities are appropriate for ages 6 to 14. All campers must bring a lunch and water bottle and have completed one year of kindergarten.

Camp Dawes 2014

All 2014 Programs for Kids

2014 Kids booklet