Ithaca Children Garden

NY 14850

Ithaca Children Garden

Environmental EducationEco-Agriculture/PermacultureGreen BuildingComposting SiteEcotourism Resource


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This is a public garden located at the southern end of Cass Park on Rt. 89 in Ithaca, NY, conveniently located near the Waterfront Trail.
The Garden is open dawn to dusk, offers educational programs and events for children and families. There is no admission fee and it is wheelchair accessible with pathways that connect all the garden features:

The garden swings were renovated and rebuilt with paint donated by Sherwin Williams.
The Strawbale Troll House was installed in 2008 and used sustainable building methods.

Gaia the Turtle and the Wetland Habitat Gardens

Located at the southern end of the Garden, you can't miss Gaia and her wetland. Gaia is a 30' by 60' snapping turtle built in 2005 by Bo Atkinson. Feel free to play on Gaia but be careful of the construction to the plates on her back. We are in the process of replacing the soil and plant material so visitors can play more comfortably. Another feature on Gaia's shell is the lunar calendar.
- The Edible Garden had its permanent design installed in 2007. The Youth Horticulture Apprentices installed the split rail fence that defines the Edible Garden during the summer of 2007 and in November 2007 construction began to shape the pathways and beds of the new area. View the design (pdf). There is an herb garden lush with several varieties of sage, thyme, oregano, and mint as well as medicinal herbs such as pennyroyal and bee balm. The Edible Garden also includes a perennial fruit garden with June bearing strawberries and asparagus. Themes within the Edible Garden change each year. Past features include an Old World/New World Pizza Garden, Salsa Garden, Pickling Garden, Ugly Vegetable Garden, and Alphabet Garden.

- Sod Salamander: In May 2007, Cornell student and ICG intern, Danielle Hodgins led a living sculpture workshop at the Garden. Participants learned the techniques to create sod sculptures and ICG gained a great addition to the wetlands area.

- The Meadow is lush with flowering perennials Spring through Fall. The Meadow provides a rich habitat for numerous insects and birds and is incorporated into many education programs.

- The Labyrinth: is 60' x 60' across. It is virtually hidden in the summer, but it is located due east from the Edible Garden. In the spring, the labyrinth is bursting with daffodils.

- Bird Habitat Garden: Installed in 2009, the Bird Habitat Garden includes three separate garden beds planted with trees, shrubs and perennials chosen to attract several local species to the Garden. See the Children's Garden's Partner Spotlight on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Celebrate Urban Birds website. If your group would like to participate in a Celebrate Urban Birds citizen science activity at the Garden, contact them at 272-2292 or

- Story Tree: A large Pin Oak near the labyrinth is affectionately called the Story Tree as it has become the favored spot to gather during our most popular summer program, Summer Sprouts. There is seating for more than twenty with views of the inlet and East Hill. This year they collaborated with Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Celebrate Urban Birds Program.

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