Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden

The Elizabeth Morse Genius Children’s Garden provides a fun and comfortable indoor setting for families and school children. A giant, meandering vine with larger-than-life sized roots, seed, leaves and flower provides opportunities for children to play while learning about plants. Families are welcome at this haven for children with its interactive displays.

The Children’s Garden includes extensive plantings, a pond featuring hydroponic plants, and large, sculptural displays based on the themes of plant birth, growth and reproduction.

This garden was made possible by a generous contribution from the Elizabeth Morse Genius Charitable Trust.

Learn more about our challenge grant here.


French Fry Plant

As the name suggests, this plants’ flowers have a very peculiar, and familiar, odor of french fries.  You can find this plant in a large pot opposite the bottom of the slide.  Just be careful – don’t stick your nose close to its tiny flowers unless you’re prepared to get hungry.

Sensitive Plant

Plants don’t move on their own…right? In the case of the Sensitive Plant, that’s actually not true!  When touched, or even moved by a light breeze, this plant’s leaves will fold in and branches collapse upon impact.  There is not consensus on why this plant evolved to do this peculiar and incredibly unique movement, but two possible theories are:

  1. To scare off grazing animals.
  2. To appear less healthy and therefore less nutritious to potential predators.

This plant is fun for the whole family!

Bird of Paradise

The Bird of Paradise sits in the northeast corner of the Children’s Garden and is one of many throughout our collection.  The unique shape and structure of its flowers is perfectly adapted to its pollinator, birds.  Birds land on delicate dark purple portion of the flower which causes the purple part to open up slightly, revealing layers of sticky pollen.  As the unaware bird leans over this pollen to stick its beak into the orange part of the flower to drink the nectar, its belly is rubbed along the sticky, exposed  pollen.  Once its had its fill, the bird moves on to another flower, causing the same reaction, and inadvertently rubs its belly along another length of sticky exposed pollen.  In doing this, the bird carries pollen between plants, allowing the plant to reproduce.