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


Home Schooling

Add plant science into your home-school curriculum! These classes offer hands-on experiences that address NJ Science Standards in a unique and engaging educational setting.

Click on the flyer at right for more information.

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:
Fall '14, Winter '15

Click here for cancellation policy

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Sat Jan 3, 2015

Sat/Sun Jan to Mar
9:00a - 3:30p

Winter Weekend Photo Scavenger Hunt

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 change every month.

  • January’s theme is “January Thaw”
  • February’s is “Brrr! It’s Cold”
  • the theme for March is “Teeny Tiny Signs of Spring”.

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

Families welcome to participate any time between 9:00 am and 3:30 pm

Cost: $10 per family payable at the Haggerty

Location: Haggerty Center

Sponsor: Friends