The Winthethur Museum is an American country estate, is the former home of Henry Francis du Pont. Don't miss the 60-acre naturalistic Winterthur Garden. Youngsters (and the young-at-heart) will wonder at the magic of Winterthur's famous fairy-tale children's garden, Enchanted WoodsTM, and enjoy hands-on learning in the Touch-It Room.
The Winterthur museum, gardens, and library are based on a 1,000 acre piece of property in Wilmington, DE. I visited on a cool Sunday morning with my husband and 2 sons, ages 3 and 5. Although the spring flowers were not quite in bloom, I could easily imagine how beautiful the gardens would be when in full bloom. The scenery was amazing and the staff was so kind and knowledgeable. Our whole family enjoyed our visit to Wintherthur.
We started our tour with a narrated tram ride through the gardens. Our tour guide was so friendly and accommodating to our kids. She asked them to sit right up front with her and often engaged them throughout the tour. As you can imagine, looking at plants and flowers is not the most exciting activity for kids, but our tour guide made it fun for them with her stories. She kept reminding the kids to look for chipmunks and for the fairies that ride on their backs. The kids were happy to be riding up front and without a car seat.
The tram dropped us off at the Enchanted Woods and we were off to explore. The Enchanted Woods were designed for children to play and use their imaginations. There are 12 different attractions within the Woods and the kids were welcomed to climb, touch, and explore everything. The Faeries Cottage offered a child size cabin for the kids to go in, tend to the pretend fire, and sit at the little picnic table. A few of the features involved water, though it was too cold for my kids to enjoy those on this day. We spent a lot of our time in the Woods. The kids were so happy to be outside and able to explore so many unique features. It was hard to peel them away from the Woods, but they were happy to check out the nearby koi pond too.
Although there are extensive gallery, library, and home tours available, with two little kids, we opted to skip these exhibits. Instead, we headed to the museum’s “touch-it room”. The room is designed in an 18 and 19th century setting. My kids loved playing with the old toys and tools. There is a cast iron pot hanging over a pretend fire and the kids loved pretending to stoke the fire.
The museum is very family friendly, offering clean and large restrooms with changing stations. Their trams and buses are all stroller friendly. They also offer to let guest borrow strollers on a first come first serve basis. The museum loans out “preschool packs” which contain books, puzzles, and games geared for children ages 3-5. For children ages 5-10, they offer to loan an Enchanted Woods pack with binoculars, sketchpad, and magnifying glass. Visitors are always invited to bring a lunch and picnic in the gardens. There is also a café onsite that offers a huge variety of food and drinks. They have hot entrees, a salad bar, dessert bar, soda foundation, and grab and go sandwiches.
All admission tickets are valid for 2 consecutive days. It is a little costly, $18 for adults and $5 for children 2-11. However, there is certainly enough to see that you could potentially visit for 2 days. There is so much that we didn’t see, simply because we had 2 little kids in tow. However, the museum recommends their guided house and library tours for children ages 8 and older. I would recommend visiting their website before you visit. It is full of information about the current tours and exhibits, as well as suggesting itineraries for your visit based on the attractions you are most interesting in seeing.
This review is based on a complimentary visit to the Winterthur. I received no other compensation and these opinions are entirely my own.
Winterthur is a wonderful park for all ages. The grounds and estate are awe inspiring and if you go in the Spring, you will be swept away by some of the most beautiful scenery ever. But it's not just for adults.
The Enchanted Woods are completely magical. Fairy rings, tiny mushroom stools, a wishing well and fairy cottage, a huge nest for playing and a water feature are just a few of the delightful parts of this part of the park. Our children felt they had stepped into a magical world and could have spent all day there.
We ADORE this park. The price is expensive, but well worth it!
With smaller children, you may want to skip the indoor exhibits (do kids really care about a collection of soup tureens?) and head to the Enchanted Woods. This beautiful setting is full of whimsy and activities to ignite the creativity in young kids. It's particularly good for preschool and early elementary kids.
At the end of your visit, the tram ride around the grounds will give everyone a chance to wind down and end on a magical note.