The garden

With the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop, Boxerwood is a 15-acre nature center and woodland garden, filled with delights for nature enthusiasts, gardeners, birders, art lovers and wildlife viewers. The grounds feature a remarkable collection of dwarf conifers, dogwoods, magnolias, and perhaps the largest collection of Japanese maple varieties in the country (145). Birding devotees have spotted as many as 38 species on the grounds, including great blue heron and red-tailed hawks. We have identified 26 species of butterflies, and visitors adore our turtle family in the wetlands.

The Play Trail

a fenced-in acre of land designed for young children (ages 7 years and under) to explore nature and engage in unstructured free play. This area features play spaces created from natural materials and encourages imaginary play. Some of the structures include a Mud Kitchen with the “Dirty Bistro,” Dig to China (where children unearth “dinosaur bones”), Dales Creek, Tiny House Mountain, a Haiku Bird House, and our newest feature, The Roto-Rain Recycler. We incorporate the Play Trail in our Early Education Programs and also make it available to families free of charge.

play trail guidelines

  • Children must be accompanied and supervised 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.
  • The Play Trail is designed for children 7 years and younger. Older children are invited to explore the rest of the garden including the Fairy Forest.
  • Each area should be ready for the next visitors. Help your child “tidy up” — especially in the mud kitchen.
  • Small family groups of young children (10 or fewer) are welcome without advanced notice.
  • School visits may impact visitors and you may be asked to relocate to accommodate a learning opportunity.
  • Please refer to Boxerwood staff for advice.