Enjoy Sculpture in the Gardens with kids at Auckland Botanic Gardens

The Head of John Doe at Sculpture in the Gardens

Enjoy a family day out with the kids at Sculpture in the Gardens this summer at Auckland Botanic Gardens


Auckland for Kids visited Sculpture in Gardens 7th biannual FREE exhibition trail at Auckland Botanic Gardens in Manurewa, South Auckland.  The large scale sculptures on display this summer did not disappoint and were impressive in their outdoor garden setting.

The sculpture trail is a perfect family day out at the gardens and a fun way for children to learn about New Zealand modern art.  The 2km outdoor sculpture trail features 20 impressive large sculptures made by New Zealand artists. Have a look at the pictures below of our favourite sculptures from this years exhibition.

Sculpture trails can be a great way for kids to enjoy art who don’t like going to art galleries.  Kids can walk or run around the sculptures and even go under some them to take in the art work from different angles that you can’t see in a photo.  One of the best things about outdoor sculpture is that you can touch them. Feel their shape and texture, the heat from the sun on them and watch them move.

The trail is an easy walk for children and takes approximately an hour. The paths are buggy-friendly and if someone in your family needs mobility assistance you can book a wheelchair or mobility scooter for free at the Visitor Centre.

Don’t forget to pack a family picnic to enjoy at the gardens. Either have a break part way through the trail if the kids get tired or wait until you finish to relax.  Cafe Miko is next to the visitor centre with relaxed all-day cafe food and caters for children that is open from 8am to 4pm. An outdoor shaded children’s play area with a large wooden boat for your kids to play and climb in  is immediately in front of the cafe.

Sculpture in the Gardens runs over summer until 1 March 2020, so if you can’t visit during a weekend it is definitely worth checking it out with the kids in school holidays.

Composition 10 sculpture at Sculpture in the Gardens by Auckland for Kids
Composition 10 sculpture made from wood and macrocarpa by Sasha Reid
Hand in the Dirt at Sculpture in the Gardens
Hand in the Dirt sculpture by artist James Wright made from Corten steel, stone and bronze.

Auckland for Kids tips for enjoying a family day out at Sculpture in the Gardens

  1. Pick up the free Fun Trail Guide booklet for the kids and an adults Trail Guide for yourself from the Visitor Centre to learn about the sculptures on your way around the trail. Let the kids have fun deciding which way to to find the sculptures using their map and the arrows sign posted around the gardens. Remember to bring some pencils or pens for the kids to complete their fun trail map on the day.

  2. Bring a picnic to enjoy in the gardens for fun family day out. Or you can always eat at the cafe.

  3. It gets hot as you walk around. Remember to stop for breaks if your little ones get tired. If you need to fill up your water bottles, there is a drinking fountain by the Rose Garden.

  4. Don’t forget to put sunscreen on before you set out. If you need more and forget to bring your own there is free sunscreen in the visitor centre.

  5. Leave the kids bikes, scooters, skate and skateboards at home as these are not permitted within the Gardens.

  6. You can bring your dog to Sculpture in Gardens too, as long as you keep them under control and they are kept on a leash.

  7. Enjoy the sculptures as works of art, but let your children know they should not climb on or put the sculptures under stress as they are not designed as play equipment.

  8. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite sculpture when you return to the visitor centre at the end. The kids can each fill in their own voting form too, so you can each choose which sculpture was your favourite.

Sculpture in the Gardens NEW Pavillion by James Kirkwood Photo: Auckland for Kids
NEW Pavillion 2019 sculpture by artist James Kirwood (Photo: Auckland for Kids)
Bee Haven sculpture
BeeHaven sculpture by Jane Downes made from mild steel and discontinued plastic honey jars
The Safety Gardens at Sculpture in the Gardens
The Stafety Gardener sculpture by Aaron Frater made from barrier mesh, cable ties, warratahs and safety barrier
Breathe sculpture by John Freguson - Photo by Auckland for Kids
Breathe sculpture by New Zealand artist John Ferguson made from Corten Steel
Auckland Sculpture in the Gardens sos sculpture auckland for kids
If Ever I Should Walk on Water - SOS - by Gina Ferguson made from recycled rubber, plastic, wire and fabric
Islands sculpture by Jeff Thomson
Islands sculpture by Jeff Thomson made from used corrugated iron, water, glavanised steel mesh, hay, wire, wetland and aquatic plants
Sculptures in the Gardens 2019 to 2020
Vote for 2019/2020 People's Choice Award for Sculpture in the Gardens 2019/2020

Sculpture in the Gardens

Where: Auckland Botanic Gardens, 102 Hill Road, Manurewa, Auckland

When: 17 November 2019 to 1 March 2020

Sculpture in the Gardens and the Auckland Botanic Gardens visitor centres is open from 8am to 4:30pm each day in Summer. Although the visitor centre closes at 4:30pm but the gardens remain open until 8pm. Please note that the Visitor Centre and Cafe Miko are both closed on Christmas Day.
Presented by Friends of the Auckland Botanic Gardens and Auckland Council

Admission:  FREE entry

Exhibition organisers:  Friends of the Auckland Botanic Gardens and Auckland Council

Find out more: https://www.sculptureinthegardens.nz/

Auckland for Kids visits Auckland Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre and Cafe Miko
Auckland for Kids visits the Auckland Botanic Gardens Visitor Centre and Cafe Miko

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