About 500 people flocked to Fort Williams Park on Friday for the grand opening of the new Children’s Garden, the latest feature to be developed at the popular recreational area in Cape Elizabeth.

Started last spring, the $400,000 landscaping project by the Fort Williams Park Foundation has transformed 1.5 acres of the 90-acre public park into a natural wonderland for children and adults alike, according to James McCain, arboretum director.

The garden was designed by Mitchell & Associates Landscape Architects of Portland and built by L.P. Murray & Sons of Cape Elizabeth and Linkel Construction of Topsham, with help from a few subcontractors.

Funded through donations and grants, the garden includes a tree fort, a wildflower field and a frog pond crossed by a stone path. There’s also a rocky stream that cascades beneath two footbridges and “gopher holes” that allow kids to venture underground.

Another significant feature is the Council Ring, a stone-and-concrete bandstand built during the Great Depression by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Set among several mature oak trees, the shaded platform has been refurbished with fresh bricks and engraved granite paving stones.

A central, handicap-accessible path allows people in wheelchairs and parents with strollers to visit an area of the park that previously was inaccessible.

About 1 million people visit the town park annually from around the world to see Portland Head Light, Casco Bay and other attractions.


Comments are no longer available on this story

filed under: