Children's Programs at the Arboretum

Children's Activities

The Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum have regular educational programs for children from toddlers through junior high school.

Activities are grouped by age:

“Branching Out!” – Forty-Two Seasons and still going!

“Branching Out!”, the hands-on, gardening program where young people are allowed – no, encouraged – to play in the dirt, will begin taking reservations in early January. 2014 will be the 42nd gardening season for this hands-on, educational program which will run Saturdays in the spring and two days a week in the summer depending on age level. Gardeners may attend spring, summer or both but no matter what, they will learn that with a little work and a lot of patience, the food you grow yourself is usually the best! Time to get dirty and get digging.

Watch for information on a new session for Middle Schoolers.

For more information or to request a brochure be mailed to you, call Gwen Montgomery at 973-631-5004 or email

Garden Sprouts - Fall 2014

Click to enlarge

Fall may seem like a time when the garden is winding down but don’t believe it. Each week, preschoolers and their grown-ups will explore different gardens and learn to look at the garden as a living, changing place. Along the way they will learn how important plants are and why they need to take care of them. Each class will include an activity and a story.

All classes will take place at 11:00 am (please be prompt) on the Mondays listed in the program listing below where you may sign up for as many or as few as you choose.

Cost: $7 per child for members / $10 for non-members

Register below using Paypal. Please note that an adult must accompany the child.

Seasonal Scavenger Hunts

Grab a camera or phone and stop by the Haggerty Education Center to launch a nature photo scavenger hunt. These change with the season and get a new theme every month. Visitors can pick up the list, head outside and shoot away. Take a picture of every item, return to the Education Center and pick up your prize.

Scavenger lists will change every month. Look in the events listing, below, for information about the current scavenger hunt. What a great way to explore the arboretum and to get the family outside in the fresh air.

Family Discovery Backpacks!

Create and make discoveries in the gardens with one of our Family Backpacks, developed for use by families with children in preschool through 5th grade. Each pack contains materials, activities, games and suggestions to help adults and their young people find new ways of looking at all the plants and other living and non-living things that can be found in the gardens all year round.

Family Discovery Backpacks are available on a first-come, first serve basis. Advance reservations are not accepted. The fee is $5 per family but Family Members of The Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum may use the backpacks at no cost. You must show your membership card. Backpacks can be checked out from 9 am daily for up to 21⁄2 hours at the Haggerty Education Center Reception Desk. The last rental time is 2:30 pm daily and all backpacks must be returned by 4:00 pm.

Explore the Gigantic World of Plants with Junior Master Gardeners


The Junior Master Gardener (JMG) program returns to The Frelinghuysen Arboretum for its 9th year. This program for students in grade 3 – 5 is an intensive, hands-on gardening and horticulture science program that includes inside and outside time (all year long!) as well as planting, propagation, and experiments. This year’s JMG program will focus on numbers – size, shape, age and more. Biggest, smallest, oldest, newest, farthest and smelliest are just a few of the categories to be explored.

Using all sorts of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math lessons, JMG-ers will learn mapping, dating, and estimating along with propagating and growing all kinds of plants. 3rd, 4th and 5th graders should lace up their hiking books and be prepared to get outside all year long to explore the gardens and collections of the arboretum and get their hands dirty too.

The Junior Master Gardener program was created by the University Cooperative Extension, the same organization that coordinates the Master Gardener program in each state in the U.S. – a program known for its educational outreach and service to the community.

The 2014-2015 Junior Master Gardener program will begin Wednesday, October 1 and meet every other Wednesday from 4 pm – 5:30 pm weather permitting (except holidays – a complete schedule will be given upon registration).

The fee for this program is $245 includes a one year Family Membership to The Friends of The Frelinghuysen Arboretum. The fee for current members of The Friends is $200.

Click on the image at right for more information or speak or email Senior Horticultural Program Specialist, Gwen Montgomery at 973-631-5004 or at to request a registration brochure.


For information about booking field trips for schools and scout troops at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum, please contact the Horticultural Program Specialist at 973-631-5004.

Coming in 2014 - Scavenger Hunts for Scouts

Watch here for more information.


Girl Scouts

Schedule a workshop to earn a badge or patch or work on an older girls’ project at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum. Available workshops can help scouts earn these badges:

  • Brownies -- Hiker or Senses
  • Junior -- Flowers or Gardener
  • or
  • Cadettes -- Trees

Or, Daisies can earn Watering Can patch for It's Your World -- Change It! Journey.

The staff will work with leaders to design a workshop that meets the needs of a troop. Explore the gardens, take a tour and spend some time outside. All workshop participants will plant something to take home.

Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts

Many Cub Scout Achievements and Awards can be earned in a workshop lead by staff at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum. Learn what’s a native plant and what’s not. Search for habitat, exotic plants, or big trees. All workshop participants will take home a plant to care for.

For information on any scout programs at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum call (973) 631-5004.

All Children's Programs:

Click here to get printable registration forms:
Spring '13, Summer '13

Click here for cancellation policy

View My Shopping Cart


Sat Nov 1, 2014

Sat & Sun Through November
9:00a - 3:30p

Fall Weekend Photo Scavenger Hunt - November

Grab a camera or phone and stop by the Haggerty Education Center for a nature photo scavenger hunt. Visitors can pick up the list, head outside and shoot away. Take a picture of every item, return to the Education Center and pick up your prize.

Scavenger lists will change every month:

  • October’s theme is “Seedy Business” and
  • November’s is “Last One Standing”.

What a great way to explore the arboretum and to get the family outside in the fresh air.

When: Saturdays & Sundays in October and November, any time between 9:00 am and 3:30 pm

Cost: $10 per family payable at the Haggerty

Location: Haggerty Center

Sponsor: Friends

Mon Nov 24, 2014


Garden Sprouts: I’m Cold!

Winter is on its way. Discover how plants survive during the cold months and look for signs they are still growing in spite of winter’s onset.

Learn more about the Garden Sprouts and other Children's Programs at The Frelinghuysen Arboretum on our Children's Page.

Cost: $7 per child for members / $10 for non-members

Location: Haggerty Center

Sponsor: Friends

Fri Dec 5, 2014

to Sun Dec 14
10:00a - 4:30p daily
until 7:30p Fri

Gingerbread Wonderland 2014

This December marks the 23rd Annual Gingerbread Wonderland. What started as a small display of gingerbread houses has now become an incredible 10-day exhibit of hundreds of edible structures. We’ve seen everything from the Notre Dame Cathedral, grand pianos, Chinese pagodas, and Hanukah menorahs to Santa’s workshop, the Eiffel Tower and the Jersey Shore. Over 15,000 guests kick off their holiday celebrations with a visit to this charming and ecumenical exhibit.

Guests, young and old, marvel at the creativity, skill and sense of optimism that characterizes each entry. Groups of ten or more must make a reservation to visit by calling 973-326-7601. Download our Gingerbread Coloring Page by clicking the image at left.

Please note that because of the increasing cost of producing this show, we have moved from a donation to an admission fee this year. Member’s night however, is still FREE.

Volunteers Needed!

If you would like to volunteer to help out at this year's Gingerbread, then Click Here for our Volunteer Form.

Gingerbread Exhibitors!


Have you considered being part of the excitement and building a gingerbread structure to display in the exhibit?

Download Exhibitor Entry Forms by clicking image at right.

Need some help with construction technique? Download our by clicking here.

Cost: $2 per person, children under 2 free, payable at door

Location: Haggerty Center

Sponsor: Friends

Sat Dec 27, 2014

through Sun Jan 4
9:00a - 3:30p

A Special Holiday Scavenger Hunt

Head over to the arboretum for this special scavenger hunt designed to “Take it Outside.” Bring your camera or cell phone as well as a good set of observant eyes. Find most of the items on the list and take home a prize for the entire family. There’s a lot going on out in the gardens during the winter. You just have to look for it.

When: Saturday, December 27 through Sunday, January 4, any time between 9:00 am and 3:30 pm

Cost: $10 per family payable at the Haggerty

Location: Haggerty Center

Sponsor: Friends