Relive your childhood with treehouses and forts at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden

Growing up in the Minneapolis suburbs, my next-door neighbor had the coolest treehouse. His father constructed an elaborate three-story fort, complete with a ladder and a secret trapdoor where his mom ferried up sandwiches in a pail attached to a pulley.

We played for hours in that treehouse for days on end, never tiring of imagining all manner of scenarios we cooked up about saving humanity from invaders.

Beginning Saturday, April 30, I can relive my boyhood dreams at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.


Nine unique forts, treehouses and specially-constructed playhouses are featured in the garden’s “Wee Houses: Places We Play” interactive exhibit designed by local creatives that allows children of all ages to connect with nature and let their imagination run wild.


Each Wee House is themed and all are playful, encourage access, fun to play in and make for great photo opportunities.

The first Wee House built was constructed by the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden staff inside the garden’s orchid conservatory. It’s a teepee appropriately named … wait for it … the WeePee.


Other Wee Houses throughout the Garden and include Rubik, Mirrors, Out on a Limb, the Elizabeth House, Log Fort, Hive, Bamboozled and Hollow Tree.


Out on a Limb

DSBG partnered with local designers and builders to build the structures. These include: UNC Charlotte School of Architecture, Central Piedmont Community College Architectural Technology program, Schneider Tree Care, W. Gary Smith Design, Rodgers Builders, Luis Tochiki of LTArchitecture, flux DESIGN, Scott Lucas Construction, architect Nicholas Senske, Cordwood Construction Resources, Crowder Construction Institute/Construction Management, Farris Fab & Machine Co., J. Barwick Construction, and Scott Mauney Builders.

The garden is particularly spectacular this spring, with plenty of new garden installations including extensive edible plantings of chard, kale, broccoli, herbs and vegetables.

Let the kids play in the fountains, or if you’re like me, jump right in there with them.

Wee Houses runs through Sept. 18. The garden will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Thursdays. Admission is free for Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden members, $12.95 for adults, $11.95 for seniors 60+, and $6.95 for children 2-12.

Photos: Michael J. Solender and Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden.