Boxerwood Nature Center
& Woodland Garden

A Virginia Center For Environmental Education Excellence

Open daily for self tours from Dawn to Dusk 963 Ross Road, Lexington VA

Push Open the Curvy Ash Wood Gates ...

... and enter the Play Trail, a nature play space designed especially for young children to experience nature and make early connections to the natural world.

"Dear Friends of Children:
We recently visited your Play Trail with our 5 year old grandson and had one of the most memorable times ever. He thoroughly enjoyed exploring all the displays and especially like making "mud soup."In this day of computer games, etc. it was so wonderful to find an outdoor facility where a child could run, wander and explore." --Recent out-of-town visitor


Summer 2016 Play Trail Schedule

This summer, a number of fee-paying groups will be bringing pre-school children to the PlayTrail. These groups have priority use of the PlayTrail. We commend their efforts to get kids out in nature and we appreciate their financial support.

 Individual families are still welcome to use the PlayTrail during these times without charge. In case of over-crowding or other issues, however, Boxerwood staff may ask families to redirect their play to other areas of our Garden. Thank you for your understanding and for teaching your children to clean up after playing .

 Below is the list of pre-school group visiting the PlayTrail this summer:.

June 10 (Friday): Charlottesville YMCA, 10:30 1:30 (18 kids) + Pavilion

July 6 (Wednesday): Rockbridge YMCA, 9:30 11:30 (20 kids) + Pavilion

July 8 (Friday): Rockbridge YMCA, 9:30 11:30 (20 kids) + Pavilion

July 13 (Wednesday): Rockbridge YMCA, 9:30 11:30 (20 kids) + Pavilion

July 15 (Friday): Staunton Parks & Rec, 10:00 2:00 (35 kids) + Pavilion

July 21 (Thursday): Rockbridge YMCA, 9:30 11:30 (20 kids) + Pavilion

July 27 (Wednesday): Piedmont Y Kinder Camp, 10:30 1:30 (12) + Pavilion

July 28 (Thursday): Piedmont Y Kinder Camp, 10:30 1:30 (12) + Pavilion

July 29 (Friday): Rockbridge YMCA, 9:30 11:30 (20) + Pavilion

August 3 (Wednesday): Rockbridge YMCA, 9:30 11:30 (20) + Pavilion

Boxerwood will also be unusually busy during our camp weeks, with Pavilion, Lodge, and Education Roost in steady use. Camp dates are:

June 20 - 24

June 27 - July 1

August 8 - 12

August 15 - 16


Climb Tiny House Mountain, 
roll down, climb through the tunnel
dales creekFloat Leaf Boats in Dale's Creek mud avi
Ladle up muddy soups or serve sunshine-baked clay cookies in the Mud Kitchen
Climb on Stumps
Play in the Haiku House
Dig to China 

Try on a skeleton hat .... 

or build an imaginary creature

Write a message


The Play Trall is part of the Dale Waller Early Childhood in Nature Program whose mission is to ensure that young children in our community regularly have the opportunity to experience the joy and wonder of being in nature, and to reap the benefits of outdoor play. The Program also makes possible our Early Education Program.


Hide in a Live Willow Tunnel

There's even a Play Trail for Bugs

Play Trail Guidelines --


THE PLAY TRAIL IS UNSUPERVISED. Children must be accompanied by a parent or a designated caregiver who assumes full responsibility for their behavior and safety. Visitors who are playing in a way that is not safe or friendly may be asked to leave.

Local preschools, daycare centers and Mom's Clubs must contact Boxerwood to schedule field trips.

Scouts, home school students, and other organized groups must contact Boxerwood at least three weeks in advancs to inquire if a group visit is possible and to discuss the fee arrangments. Boxerwood staff will discuss with them if the Play Trail or other areas of Boxerwood are more appropriate.

Small family groups of young children (10 or fewer) are welcome without advance notice. Since school visits may be taking place at the same time, some space adjustments may be needed.

Clean up -- Each area should be ready for the next visitors. Help your child "tiny up" -- especially in the mud kitchen. 

Birthday Parties: We receive many requests from families with young children who want to celebrate their birthdays on the Play Trail. Boxerwood member families may schedule birthday party celebrations on the Play Trail with at least two weeks advance notification. Cake and gift-giving activities should take place under the picnic tent across from the barn so that other families with children on the Play Trail will not feel left out. Non-member families must first join Boxerwood before requesting permission to schedule a birthday celebration on the Play Trail or in the gardens.