Finding the Fairies at Will Rogers Gardens - MetroFamily Magazine
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Finding the Fairies at Will Rogers Gardens

by Debbi Marshall

Reading Time: 3 minutes 

Have you explored Will Rogers Gardens with the little ones in your life? You may recall from days past that the park is home to specialty gardens, a variety of trees and circuitous walking trails. You may also remember the ponds and 1930s-era red stone picnic shelters built by the CCC and the WPA. But did you know the park is also home to fairies and gnomes?!?

Surely the whimsical creatures dwell in the tiny houses and behind the doors?  Seeking fairy dust, my grandchildren and I scampered about, delighting in the variety of doors we discovered. Even if you don’t actually find a winged creature like Tinkerbell or the Tooth Fairy,  searching for the quirky doors and houses throughout the park is sure to delight children. The gnome and fairy homes were handcrafted in 2020 by Robert Trobaugh, an imaginative Oklahoma City Parks & Recreation Department employee. And you can rest assured no trees were damaged in the process!

In addition to the hunt for fairy doors and gnome homes at Will Rogers Gardens, the little ones in my life have fun watching the gazillion turtles plop from the sunny banks into the ponds. Brightly colored koi and ducks are always swimming about.  There are several small bridges to cross and plenty of wide open spaces for active play. The gardens are now pet-friendly, so you can take your dog along to chase the squirrels. A recent addition to the park is the Memory Garden offering a peaceful pocket of solitude.

And speaking of fairies, why not create a fairy garden at home? Tiny hands can craft fairy dwellings or gardens constructed of natural materials found in your backyard. You will find countless ideas online; however, your child’s imagination and creativity will serve them well. Colorful fairy-sized tables, chairs, toadstools, frogs and other miniatures are available at craft and garden stores and through online sources. Selecting just the right items can be a fun shopping experience for you and the children. 

Make-believe play is recognized as an important component of child development.  A fairy garden provides opportunities for children to use their imaginations, practice social skills and engage in problem-solving. Once a fairy garden is created, children may revisit the area often to check for activity. My toddler grandchildren remarked that an overturned table or chair was clearly evidence of a tea party with tiny winged creatures as guests. The inevitable follow-up question was, “But Grammie, are fairies really REAL?” Cherishing their fleeting moments of make believe, I decided that’s a question best left unanswered!

Debbi Marshall is a retired U.S. probation officer, master gardener, active community volunteer, therapy dog mom and Grammie to Addie, Hutch & Weston.

About Will Rogers Gardens

Will Rogers Gardens is a 30-acre park in Oklahoma City located at the corner of 36th Street and Portland Avenue. Land for the park was purchased by city leaders in 1912, and development began in 1932.

Managed by OKC Parks, the historic gardens feature the Charles E. Sparks Color Garden, the 10-acre Margaret Annis Boys Arboretum and the Ed Lycan Conservatory, which houses one of Oklahoma’s largest cacti and succulent collections. The park also hosts hands-on classes and camps throughout the year.

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