The Paul Smith Children’s Village is a must-see children’s garden for all ages. The Village’s underlying theme is to teach concepts of sustainability from the past, present and future. In accordance with our commitment to sustainability, the Children’s Village received the LEED Platinum award (see information below)
The Children’s Village site takes advantage of a pre-existing stone building and stone walls surrounding a courtyard. It was constructed in the early 1930s through the Works Progress Administration (WPA), a Depression-era job training program.
From 1930 to 2009 the building and grounds of the site functioned as a city park shop. It housed tractors, snow blowers, gas pumps, trucks and tools. We converted the building into the Lowe’s Discovery Lab and grounds of the Paul Smith Children’s Village. It is solar heated and solar and wind powered. It also includes a small historic greenhouse.
The three-quarter acre site is filled with numerous specialty, interactive landscapes including a natural wetlands, gravity powered water works, farmers windmill, solar pumps, sculptures, world vegetable garden, prairie plantings, a “Secret Garden,” art/crafts plazas, historic sheep wagon, tipi village, picnic orchard, puppet theater and more. The center of the site features a geodesic dome.
The design and construction of the Children’s Village was funded entirely through the non-profit foundation (Friends of the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens) raising approximately $2 million from donors and businesses. It was opened to the public in September of 2009.
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Paul Smith Children’s Village and Sustainability
As you stroll through the Paul Smith Children’s Village you might not readily notice our underlying theme for the site:
Sustainability: Past, Present and Future.
There you will see a farmer’s windmill, but in addition to that, you will see hand powered pumps, walls constructed out of sustainable materials, Archimedes’ screw (an ancient method for hand pumping water, along with Indian Tipis, green roof dog house, active solar heating system in the classroom, birthday butterfly sunrise/sunset calculator, energy conserving materials in the greenhouse and more.We made a conscious effort to include older sustainable technologies as they are not only educational, they are also more fun to look at and interact with.
As a result of our efforts in sustainability on this site, it has been awarded earned a “LEED Platinum” rating, the highest possible, from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.
Achieving a LEED Platinum rating for remodeled buildings and landscape is usually more difficult than for new construction because of restrictions imposed by the existing designs. This was the second site to have achieved a LEED Platinum rating in Wyoming and is the first public children’s garden to receive this designation.