The James Family Discovery Gardens

Now Open!  Tuesday-Sunday, 9am – 4pm

Come celebrate the beauty and extraordinary biological diversity of the Central Highlands in our accessible Native Botanical Gardens. Experience outdoor learning in a whole new light!

  • Accessible Native Habitats
  • Naturalist-led Nature Programs
  • ‘Lens on Learning’ Guidebooks
  • Interactive ‘Learning Circles’
  • Beautiful Outdoor Event Venue
  • Children’s Nature Play Area
Click image to view larger.

Admission to the Gardens


Saturday – Sunday

Adults: $5

Children ages 5-12: $2

Children under 5: Free

Free Admission to Highlands Center members


Admission includes Interactive Discovery Stations and Guided Walks Weekends Only

Interactive Discovery Stations and Guided Walks are offered every Saturday and Sunday. Walks begin at 9:30 AM and 10:30 AM and meet at the Gathering Circle.
View September Saturday & Sunday Schedule (PDF)
View October Saturday & Sunday Schedule (PDF)

Tuesday – Friday

Free Gardens Admission for Everyone!

Learning Circles

The James Family Discovery Gardens features Learning Circles focused on the natural history and ecological diversity of the Central Highlands. These interpretive areas will serve as an introduction 
to the plant communities represented in the region,
 as well as techniques for sustainable living, such as rainwater harvesting and landscaping with native plants. Interpretive signage will be located at each of the Learning Circles and will allow visitors to have a full, self-guided experience.
  • Gathering Circle
  • Grow Native Demo Gardens
  • Riparian Riches
  • Montane Forests
  • Rainwater Harvesting
  • Ethnobotanical Gardens
  • Secret Nook
  • Woodland Wonders
  • Graceful Grasslands
  • Chaparral Hillsides
  • Forest Play

Learning Lenses

Lens on Learning Guidebooks will bring educational opportunities to visitors on a range of topics regarding the natural history and ecology of the Central Highlands. Each lens will offer interpretation on a single theme at varying levels of depth. Lenses are designed to allow visitors of all ages and abilities to experience the Discovery Gardens and return again for deeper understanding. General “Pocket Guides,” themed by season, will also be available and will include a map of the trails along with common plants and animals one might encounter in the Gardens.

Visitors can explore the Discovery Gardens throughout the year and make new discoveries with each visit.

Celebrating the Central Highlands

How about a walk in the woods in the Highlands Center’s new Discovery Gardens?

Stroll along the creek on a paved path through Learning Circles. Bring the kids and play in a natural Forest Play area. Listen to birds and sounds of the forest in the Secret Nook or relax in the shade on a comfortable bench.

Need a place for an outdoor event in a quiet, pristine forest setting?

Rent the new Ramada or the entire garden for your wedding or private gathering.

Community Partnerships

The Highlands Center and the new Discovery Gardens present multiple opportunities for Community Partnerships which provide vital support for the Center’s many nature-based educational programs. In return, our partners receive a variety of benefits that will make a lasting impression on clients, employees, and target audiences.

With a Ramada, children’s nature play area, and
 Ethnobotanical Garden, the Discovery Garden is
 a naturally beautiful setting for your business or organizations special event. The Highlands Center also offers opportunities for local businesses to sponsor a specific Educational Learning Lens. As a sponsor an ad featuring your business will appear on your chosen lens.

To learn more about Community Partnerships with The Highlands Center’s Discovery Gardens, please contact Dave Irvine, Executive Director at 776-9550 to customize a sponsorship package!

Photo Credit: Photos by Nancy Maurer

Contact Us

Learn more about our location and site hours.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates!

You have Successfully Subscribed!