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Family Vacations: Winterthur Gardens and Enchanted Woods


The eight-acre Azaleas Woods is filled with white oaks and hundreds of white, pink, lavender, salmon, and red azaleas and rhododendrons.
The eight-acre Azaleas Woods is filled with white oaks and hundreds of white, pink, lavender, salmon, and red azaleas and rhododendrons.

Many people visit Winterthur, the lavish former home of Henry Francis du Pont, to see its collection of art and antiques, and its elaborate formal gardens. Most popular with families is its Enchanted Woods, a three-acre fairy-tale garden. Children delight in the legend that fairies brought broken stones, old columns, crumbling millstones, and cast-off balustrades to this hilltop area to create a magical place of wonder for children.

The Tulip Tree House is located in a hollow tree that leads to the Faerie Cottage, which with its stone walls and thatched roof, is right out of a storybook. It features running water, and kids can operate a hand pump to force water into a trough that, when filled, cascades into two lovely ponds. Nearby, a giant egg-filled bird's nest large enough for children to climb into is woven out of sticks.

A magical mushroom ring sports a sign that reads, "never step into a fairy ring," and according to fairy lore, if you do you're transported to fairyland. For many children, the temptation is too great, and when they step inside, they are enveloped in a mist of fog. Kids also enjoy the estate's Touch-It Room, an imaginative play area with a child-size parlor, a small general store, and an area featuring old-fashioned toys.

Winterthur Gardens and Enchanted Woods Information

Address: Rte. 52 (5105 Kennet Pike), Winterthur, DE

Telephone: 302/888.4600 800/448.3883

Hours of Operation: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., Tues.- Sun.

Admission: $15 adults; $13 kids

To learn more about family vacation destinations, see:

  • Family Vacations: Learn about hundreds of family vacations in destinations all over North America.
  • Philadelphia City Guide: Find out where to stay, what to do, and where to eat when you visit the City of Brotherly Love.
  • Delaware State Guide: Learn about Mobil Travel Guide-rated hotels and restaurants in Delaware, as well as other recreational activities.
  • Scenic Drives: For those who think that getting there is half the fun, we have compiled more than 100 of the most scenic drives throughout the country.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Laura Sutherland is a widely acknowledged authority on family travel and has published several books on the topic, including Best Family Ski Vacations In North America and Tropical Family Vacations.