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Evans Children’s Adventure Garden

The Evans Children’s Adventure Garden offers 1.5 acres of pure fun! The interactive garden rocks with more than 3,200 tons (or 6.4 million pounds) of Arkansas-quarried boulders positioned to encourage exploration of the natural environment. A 12-foot waterfall cascades over the entryway to an ADA accessible, man-made cave, beckoning children inside to discover “ancient” fossils overhead. The garden also features a unique bridge constructed from wrought-iron " Cedar tree branches" and a maze of rocks that lead down to a series of wading pools. Parents can enjoy a bird’s eye view of their children at play from a 450-foot long, 20-foot tall elevated walkway that also provides scenic vistas of Lake Hamilton and the surrounding woodlands.

The Benham Group of Lowell, AR, drafted the conceptual design for the children’s garden and Brent Vinson, one of the company’s landscape architects, was the lead designer. To emulate the look of centuries-old formations, David Slawson, a nationally recognized Japanese garden designer from Cleveland, OH, was brought in to manipulate the rocks and boulders to create the foundation and cave entrance, including the waterfall and streambed.

The new centerpiece of the Children's Garden is the Bob and Sunny Evans Tree House, which opened in July, 2018. The Tree House is suspended within a group of pines and oaks, bending easily between them. The theme of dendrology, the study of trees and wooded plants, drives both the form and program of the structure, designed by the Fayetteville-based architecture firm modus studio. Part of an ambitious plan to bring children back into the woods, the tree house will use a rich visual and tactile environment to stimulate the mind and body, while accommodating the needs of all users.

The Tree House consists of four levels, accessible from the ground and the overhead circular boardwalk, and each level is based upon a different part of the tree and its function, allowing visitors an intrinsic, almost subconscious, learning opportunity that builds on the experience. The first, most basic level focuses on the roots of the tree and is actually below the Tree House in the Root Plaza. As users move into the structure, levels represent the various parts of a tree (trunk, branches, leaves and fruit/flowers), and each level's significance in the life cycle of a tree is explained.

Specially treated yellow pine ribs make up the shell encasing the open-air structure, while other elements, such as the unique "Venatian Screen" on the overlook end of the structure, are made from metal. The Root Plaza is made of poured concrete with inlaid stone tiles, while native Arkansas stone abounds in the surrounding landscape.

A major part of the funds for the construction of the Evans Children's Adventure Garden and the Bob and Sunny Evans Tree House were generously donated by Hot Springs residents Bob and Sunny Evans.