Bookworm Gardens is a vibrant, playful garden that enhances children's literature, the natural world, and the imagination.
The two acre garden offers the young and young at heart the opportunity for free, unstructured play in a beautiful and secure environment.
story telling gallery
a time there was a lovely little town in Wisconsin named Sheboygan. Now
Sheboygan, and its darling neighbors of Kohler, Sheboygan Falls and Plymouth,
were filled with children, churches, cheese and chairs, and were wonderful
places to raise a family. Schools were exceptional, local businesses thrived,
and we enjoyed eating cheese and bratwurst. Lake Michigan kept us all “cooler
near the lake.” We were even named the “Best Place to Raise a Family” by
Reader’s Digest. When our children weren’t in school or helping on the farm,
they were climbing trees, building forts or curled up with a good book. Life was
Then over the course of time, families got busier and busier, and the children didn’t have time to play outdoors as much. Reality TV replaced real life adventure and reading for many, and playing computer games became the most popular pastime. This made many parents and educators sad.
Now a group of adults came along, and they had an idea to change all that. What if they built a special place, just for kids and their parents and grandparents where they could play outside and reconnect with nature? A safe and enclosed spot designed by award winning professionals to capture their imaginations and bring all their senses to life? An exuberant, playful space where joy is contagious? Welcome to Bookworm Gardens!
books for reading
viewed by my wife, Marlene E Roeseler
More Photos of Nurture
For the next year she mulled the possibility over in her mind. Because Sheboygan County has no botanical garden, the task was daunting--creating not only the garden, programming, and the staff to run it--but setting up a not for profit corporation and raising the money necessary to build the garden. The idea gelled after several meetings with the late Bob Peterson, retired City Development Director, who convinced her not only that the idea was a viable one, it was a project that MUST happen. Bob set up many meetings with local officials to help find a site, and after looking at several different possibilities they met with Ray Hernandez, dean of the University of Wisconsin Sheboygan. Ray immediately saw the value of the project, and indicated not only willingness to provide us with a beautiful location for the garden, but also to offer students’ help as interns, artists, and teachers. After our blessing from Ray, we met with County officials, on whose land the university is built. A wonderful relationship was born.
More Photos of Explore
The next years were spent in the design phase, identifying books to include through input from teachers, librarians, and reading specialists, and designing gardens around them. Finding a core of committed individuals to help make the garden a reality, we became incorporated, applied for not-for profit status, and began the task of applying for grants and soliciting donations. During this time we also contacted landscape architect Herb Schaal from EDAW of Fort Collins, Colorado. Herb had designed twelve children’s gardens throughout the United States at the time, and we felt that he could take our concept plan and transform in into a world-class children’s garden. Our idea, that of designing a garden completely around literature, was completely unique to Bookworm Gardens.
More Photos of Grow
Johnny Appleseed tree
More Photos of Celebrate
We celebrated our Grand Opening on October 16th, 2010, joined by over 2000 joyful visitors. Now that the garden is open, our attention has turned to programming. Summer camps, classes, field trips and special events are all underway. Yes, we have more to do—more money to raise, more gardens to build- but the core of the garden is garden is complete, and is beautiful
Text from bookwormgardens.org
Return to Sheboygan, Wisconsin page
People and Places