The Maples: A Family Garden

Site Design and Fundraising Support

Brookings, SD

The master planning process revealed a strong desire for McCrory Gardens to play a role in the reconnection of children to their green world.  The Master Plan answered the call in two ways.  First, it suggests that “family moments” be sprinkled throughout the entire Gardens, carefully matching the age of the targeted audience with the proposed garden component. So for younger audiences, simple rock hopping, vine tunnels, interactive garden fountain features and small mazes are planned. For middle-school and older youth, the natural areas of the Gardens became the hot spot of physically- and cognitively-challenging destinations, such as tree houses, fire towers, large ponds and rock outcroppings.

Coupled with these family moments, the Master Plan earmarked a two-acre collection of maples as a succinct garden destination to offer young children spontaneous natural play and unscripted exploration.  A hidden yet purposeful agenda within this garden is to get the grown-ups to play too!  We want them to have so much fun that they are inspired to bring a day at the Gardens home by re-creating natural learning opportunities in their backyards and schools.  The ultimate goal is to get children outside . . . in nature . . . every day.


  • The Acorn Group

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