So, you're coming to visit?
Hip Hip Hooray!
ICG is free.
Yes. It really is. Visiting ICG is always FREE. Even when we are hosting special events or programs. Visitors are invited to stroll and experience the garden at no cost. The fence keeps deer out but our human friends are always warmly invited in.
Ithaca Children's Garden is a public space, so any one can just show up, hang out in the garden, and learn something. And there are a lot of activities that are low cost or no cost, so it's a learning opportunity that's open to children and families of all makeups and economic backgrounds.Jeanne Grace, City of Ithaca Forester
However don't get the wrong idea. If you're inspired to make a donation, we won't be offended!
All our bags are packed, we're ready to go... When can we come?!
ICG is open sunrise to sunset, everyday of the year. Please come anytime. Please come often.
It is quite possible you may visit at a time when no staff members are on site, particularly in off-summer hours and on weekends. Scroll down to the bottom to learn more about our off-site office location and schedule.
What do we do when we get there?
Sign in. Tell us about yourself.
When you arrive, please check the bulletin board for upcoming programs and events, and find brochures and our guest book in the mailbox. Because we don't have offices on site, we rely on these methods to share information with you, and learn about our visitors.
It may not be a fancy system, but just writing your name, address, and zip code helps us track who visits and where they're from, which is really important to some of our funders. And we love to hear the specific things you enjoy about your visit to ICG.
A love note to all you unicorns who bring your children to ICG.
First off, thank you. You are your child's gatekeeper, and we are grateful you opened the gate to this experience for them, for the planet, and for the future. Your support schlepping the kids to ICG keeps us in business.
Secondly, this is not your typical public garden. This is a garden for children and it belongs to them.
"What does that mean?" you ask.
It means we encourage children to discover ICG with all their senses.
It means children (and their unicorn adults) have permission to run, jump, laugh, play, pick, smell, taste, and explore off the main pathways.
It means children have permission to be children here.
So don't hold a tight leash on our account. ICG is a place for de-stressing, connecting with nature, and free, unadulterated, child-directed play. Children laughing, frolicking, and exploring in nature is exactly what the garden was made for.
You may see the flowers smiling at you.
Our garden guidelines are pretty straightforward.
- Respect yourself
- Respect others
- Respect the environment
.... such as.....
- Gentle behavior and activities around animals, insects, and plants.
- Awareness of other visitors and respect of their time at ICG. If you think you're bothering someone else, you can always ask. It might be that other visitors are not as peeved by your child's activity as you are.
- Observance of any signs that indicate certain garden areas are currently closed or not open for picking (for example, we might be saving seeds, or growing a row for Friendship Donations Network to feed the hungry.
- If you want to pick regularly from the garden, more than a little taste, please become a member. There is a special bed for garden member picking only, it's one of the perks of ICG membership.
- ICG is a carry-in, carry-out garden. Enjoy your picnic and time here, and please carry your refuse out with you.
- Young visitors' favorite past-time is watering the garden (and pathways and their own feet). It's fun to check the rain barrels first, and use watering cans to dip in water basins if they are available, before using spigots and hoses. If you do use a spigot, please be sure to turn it off completely when you are finished. Maintaining our water spigots is a considerable cost and frankly, we'd rather channel resources into projects more exciting projects.
If you have any questions about how to use the garden, please contact our office. We are always happy to assist you.
Finding ICG, as lovely as a Midsummer Night's Dream
Over hill, over dale, through bush, through brier; Over park, over pale, through flood, through fire. The Garden is here, patiently awaiting your arrival!
ICG is in the Ithaca city limits, tucked in the south corner of Cass Park, on Route 89 (Taughannock Blvd) along the Cayuga Inlet, across the parking lot from the Black Diamond Trail head. From downtown Ithaca, follow signs for Rt 89 N. Pass Island Health & Fitness on your left, cross over the inlet bridge, and take your first left on to Cass Park Access Road, marked with Ithaca Children's Garden's turtle sign.
From Rochester, Buffalo, and other northerly parts, make your way to Route 89 heading south. When you pass Hangar Theater and Alan Treman Marine Park on your left, you are less than one mile from the entrance to ICG. You will pass by Union Fields on the right, then pass by Ithaca Children's Garden which you will recognize by the fence. Take your last right onto Cass Park Access Road and ICG entrance before going up and over the inlet bridge towards downtown Ithaca.
There is plenty of free parking available, as well as pedestrian and bicycle access from the Cayuga Waterfront Trail. Someday, we hope to have a boat dock for canoes and kayaks to visit by the Cayuga Lake Blueway.
Our staff offices are located at the Signworks Building, a ten minute walk from the Garden. Our offices are staffed year round*, 9am-4pm, and we try to respond to visitor inquiries as quickly as possible, sometimes immediately and almost always within two business days. Call us if you need a quicker response.
Our small dedicated staff are hard at work trying to save the planet, the children, and the future, but we always want to hear how we can help make your visit magical.
Please note that we close our offices for two weeks in September to provide our staff team with well-deserved rejuvenation time after an intensive summer season. We also step away from email over the winter holiday. Non-camp related inquiries during summer may also incur a longer response time. We look forward to hearing from you!