Visiting Schnormeier Gardens in the hills near Gambier, Ohio is like finding a secret treasure. Why? This private, home garden is a diamond of a destination, yet it’s only open in June of each year.
Schnormeier Gardens is named after Ted and (the late) Ann Schnormeier, who built their private residence here in 1994, before beginning the gardens in 1996.
On our family’s second visit to Schnormeier Gardens, we enjoyed many of the same things as the first: Dreaming of trips to Eastern cultures. Enjoying bright sunshine and reflections on the numerous ponds. And appreciating a collection of sculptures that rival those of great art museums.
What can you expect while visiting Schnormeier Gardens?
Schnormeier Gardens is located at 8701 Laymon Rd., Gambier, Ohio.
Because of the overwhelming turnout in 2020, the 2021 entrance process will be a bit different. Reservations will be made for each vehicle. 40 vehicles will be allowed at 10 am and 40 at 1 pm each Thursday-Sunday during June ONLY. Book your reservation ahead of time at schnormeiergardens.org.
Remember, the gardens are not open to the public outside of the weekends in June. Check out their Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.
Volunteers at the entrance offer maps and a cheery greeting. Public restrooms are also available. There are three private stalls. Even if nature doesn’t call, visit the restrooms so you can check out the mirrored doors. You can view the gardens from the toilet (ahhh), but thankfully those waiting can’t see you.
Schnormeier Gardens encompasses 75 acres. There aren’t designated pathways, so wear good walking shoes. If you’re bringing children, the grounds aren’t stroller-friendly. It’s also very hilly! I’d recommend using a baby carrier for littles under 2. We used our Lille baby carrier for our 9-month old and Moby wrap for our foster baby.
Don’t miss spots at Schnormeier Gardens
There’s not much you’ll want to overlook at Schnormeier. It’s all fantastic.
One of my favorite areas is the Chinese Cup Gardens. The Chinese Pavilion is an exquisite building and you need to step inside to gaze at the light fixture. (Can I have one, Mr. Yoder, pleaasseee)?
Nearby you’ll find the resident dragon, Draco Teribillis. You have to be pretty cool to have a dragon in your yard.
If you need some time away from the sun, head towards the Woodland Garden. This is a great place for a scavenger hunt with the kids – there are many wood animals to find, as well as well-placed faces on trees.
Before stepping into the Woodland Garden you’ll see the statue, “Fat Man Dancing.” This is a favorite with our kids.
Tip: Don’t forget to stop in front of the Schnormeier residence and check out the replica Terracotta Warriors.
Why visit Schnormeier Gardens?
Visiting Schnormeier Gardens brings back the memories of the Sunday drive. It’s a place where natural beauty, exquisite design, and a great taste for art leave you feeling like you just had a cultural experience in the middle of Ohio’s rolling farmland. For those in Ohio, take this short road trip and feel like you’ve traveled to another corner of the world. Our hearts (and our families) need this experience.
For more things to do in the area, check out my blog on things to do in Knox County, Ohio.
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