Lets Move 

Let's Move! Museums & Gardens

APGA's mission is to advance public gardens as a force for positive change in their communities through leadership, advocay and innovation.

Let’s Move! Museums and Gardens allows public gardens to demonstrate their leadership role in their communities by adopting  First Lady Michelle Obama's Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens initiative which is dedicated to combating obesity and putting America’s children on the path to a healthy future by offering  healthy food choices and educating families about where their food comes from .

Currently, over 500 museums and gardens in all fifty states are participating in Let's Move! Museums and Gardens.  


It's easy to join in; you may already be qualified if your garden:

  • Is committed to offering interactive experiences that promote healthy eating and physical activity

  • Offers healthy food choices and physical activity with emphasis on afterschool, summer and school-based programs.

  • Provides food service facilities with menu options that reflect healthy choices.

  • Has a food service that incorporates interpretation about healthy food choices.


Join your fellow public garden colleagues in this important national program. SIGN ON TODAY


Let's Move! Garden Success Stories


Success Story: Growing Healthy Snacks

Powell Gardens, Kansas City's Botanical Garden
Kingsville, MO

Powell Gardens' Good to Grow program features age-appropriate modules on nutrition and healthy living taught within the nation's largest edible landscape, the Heartland Harvest Garden. Students learn how to make smart food choices while experiencing the benefits of "green" exercise. In module one, students learn what is takes to raise healthy produce. Plus, they see and touch the plants behind some favorite treats like marshmallows and popcorn. In module two, students are physically active while splashing around in the Water Conservation Courtyard, by exploring the Tutti Frutti Maze, and by climbing atop the 40-foot Missouri Barn silo. In module three, students discover nutrient-dense foods while creating a healthy garden snack. Over 1000 students from the Greater Kansas City area participated in the Good to Grow program in 2012. From watching seedlings sprout to preparing a healthy snack, students see, smell, taste, and touch what is takes to bring healthful food from seed to plate.



Success Story: Families logged 149 miles at Cornell Plantations Let's Move!event

Cornell Plantations
Ithaca, NY

Cornell Plantations in Ithaca, NY, hosted its second annual Let's Move! Family Hike in September 2012.

Over 300 families hiked through one of property's best-known natural areas, Beebe Lake. Children were given pedometers to keep track of their steps, and at the end they tallied 325,156 steps, the equivalent of 149 miles!*

"Plantations is a perfect place for families to come for a walk, a run, and some nature (what we like to call "vitamin N") to increase overall wellness," stated Sonja Skelly, Director of Education at Cornell Plantations. "I'm asked a lot about why we are part of the Let's Move! initiative, and the answer is simple: Take It Outside! It's become somewhat of a mantra here — Taking it Outside — going out in nature does a lot for people — relieves stress, provides a way to be physically active, and at the same time provides an enjoyable way to have fun in beautiful surroundings!"

Cornell Plantations is the botanical garden, arboretum, and natural areas of Cornell University.


Success Story: Garden Fresh Family Cooking

San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden
San Luis Obispo, CA

In an effort to connect families to fresh local foods, the San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden has teamed up with STRIDE, a health and wellness club at California Polytechnic University, for its sixth Garden Fresh Family Cooking Class. The approach is "education through exploration," so the children and guardians participate in the whole process of planting, harvesting, cooking, and eating. The event begins as children discover planting and harvesting in the Botanical Garden Kid’s Garden. Generous local farmers provide additional ingredients. The children then head to the kitchen to don their chef hats and aprons. With the guidance of STRIDE Health Ambassadors, everyone learns nutrition, kitchen safety, and cooking techniques, while creating a gourmet meal to share. Participants receive recipes, a list of local farmers markets, and My Plate information. Kids also take with them the confidence, skills, and passion for growing and cooking healthy food.


Success Story: Mango Munchkins Cooking Class

Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden
Miami, Florida

Always looking for new ways to engage the Miami community in learning to live healthier and more environmentally conscious lives, Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden hosted its first-ever Mango Munchkins Cooking Class this summer. More than 40 children participated in the free, hands-on class that served as a celebration of the 20th anniversary of Fairchild’s International Mango Festival. Kids donned chef hats and aprons and got down to business learning while garden staff showed them how to make delicious, healthy dishes such as mango pizza, smoothies, and popsicles using fresh mangos grown at the Fairchild Farm. They also learned about the health and nutritional benefits of mangos and the rich history of Florida’s most beloved summer fruit. As the children left the class with sticky fingers and big smiles, they were handed goody bags with mango recipe cards and My Plate information to share with their friends and family members at home.


Success Story: Family Hike at Cornell Plantations

Cornell Plantations
Ithaca, NY

On Saturday, September 15th Cornell Plantations held a very successful Let’s Move! Museums and Garden event for over 200 kids and their families. “One of the many things that makes Cornell so special is its landscape.  The gardens, trails, and natural areas cared for by Cornell Plantations are a rich resource for Cornell, our local communities and visitors worldwide.  This Let's Move! family hike at Cornell Plantations aims to bring together the wonderful benefits of nature and physical activity, both of which are tremendously important in our own lives. We believe in Mrs. Obama's initiative to help families find ways to be happy and healthy together, and we think the Let’s Move! family hike at Cornell Plantations provides the perfect opportunity!" stated Dr. Robin Davisson. Click here to learn more. 


Success Story: Student Groups Create Edible Bouquets

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens
Vail, Colorado

The Betty Ford Alpine Gardens has been teaching kids about healthy eating through its vegetable and herb gardens. As a public botanic garden, it participates in community outreach events and garden education. Visitors have learned about the challenges of growing edible plants in the mountains of Vail, Colorado, including tomatoes, basil, cilantro, lettuce, and asparagus. Groups of students have learned how to grow their own herbs and have made “edible bouquets” of herbs and flowers to take home and cook with. Discovering that basil is in pizza sauce and dill is in pickles was surprising to many kids! Garden staff shared their favorite recipes and growing tips with the kids, who were excited to use their bouquets as ingredients for dinner. 

two students make edible bouquets in the garden



Success Story: Urban Youth Internship Program

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

This summer, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens welcomed a fantastic group of high school students to be part of its six-week paid internship for urban youth. Working with horticulturalists, the participants designed and planted their own plots in a green-roof edible garden with cabbage, chard, tomatoes, kale, cucumbers, and other crops which they carefully tended to daily. Every Wednesday, the interns harvested ripe produce to sell at Farmers at Phipps, a market featuring only organic and Certified Naturally Grown local fruits and vegetables. On Thursdays they learned how to cook nutritious meals that they could easily replicate at home. Further empowering them to become agents for change, the students also took fieldtrips, read books, watched documentaries, and had discussions that highlighted healthy lifestyle choices, so that they, too, could pass their knowledge on to others and make a difference in their communities.

photo of three interns in the garden


Success Story: Fun in the Sun Adventures

Ruth Bancroft Garden
Walnut Creek, California

On Saturday, August 4, the Ruth Bancroft Garden held its first family summer event, Fun in the Sun Adventures. The garden was filled with fun, laughter, and happy families. The purpose of the day was to teach about the importance of water conservation and nature and to get kids active through fun educational games and crafts. An obstacle course had children and adults zigzagging through cones, limbo-ing under a broomstick, and hopping to the finish line. A water relay race show how much water is used while washing your hands, and a “smelly” hike encouraged families to visit different plants in the garden with unique smells. Children were able to spend time with their families being active in the beautiful outdoors, learning together, and exploring the unique and beautiful garden. Best of all, the families created memories together that will last a lifetime.

Fun in the Sun Adventures logo



Garden Success Story: The Desert Botanical Garden

"David Rogers’ Big Bug Exhibit"
Phoenix, Arizona

When “David Rogers’ Big Bug Exhibit” came to the Desert Botanical Garden guests were treated to fantastic, larger than life bug sculptures throughout the garden. As part of the “Big Bug Exhibit” students and Garden Educators moved around the Desert Botanical Garden to each of the Big Bug sculptures performing exercises when they stopped. They hopped like grasshoppers, moved their arms like dragonflies, and squatted like praying mantises!

In addition to the exercises performed, visitors walked over 55,000 miles during the school tour season! This distance was calculated by pedometers worn by each Garden Educator on all of their tours. The student’s enjoyed learning more about the “Let’s Move” program and were always so proud when they found out how far they walked that morning.


larger than life bug sculptures throughout the garden



Garden Success Story: Gardening for Healthy Living

Smithsonian Gardens
Washington, D.C.

Smithsonian Gardens’ Let’s Move! program is a choose-your-own-adventure treasure hunt that encourages visitors, especially young people, to move and explore the many gardens in Washington, D.C. Searched-for items include everything from artifacts in the Smithsonian’s collections to lively butterfly habitats to a Victory Garden. On the Smithsonian’s website, visitors can find Let’s Move! brochures, share pictures of what interested them, and record how many steps they’ve taken. So far visitors have recorded 39,000 steps and counting!

The Let’s Move! program also inspired the annual Garden Fest theme, “Gardening for Healthy Living,” which encouraged fitness and healthy eating and living. Gardening demonstrations, yoga, and heirloom tomato plant potting were some of the many activities. The people at Smithsonian Gardens are always glad to promote health and fitness so look for next year’s Garden Fest and join them as they keep moving!


Photos from Garden Fest: Gardening for Healthy Living and panels for the Let's Move! treasure hunt.

Click here to read more


Do you have a story to share? Send your Let's Move! Museum & Gardens success stories to Caitlin Simkovich, APGA Communications & Logistics Manager at csimkovich@publicgardens.org, so they can be shared with our members online!



What is Let's Move! Museum & Gardens?

APGA has worked in partnership with the Association of Children's Museums, the American Association of Museums, and the Institute for Museum and Library Services to develop Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens.  First Lady Michelle Obama announced Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens as part of her broader initiative to raise a healthier generation of kids.

Because APGA member gardens are uniquely positioned to meet the goals of this program, the gardens that join the campaign will be identified as Let’s Move! Gardens.  Now the hard work begins!  APGA, along with our partners, have committed to signing up 2,000 public gardens, museums, zoos, historic sites, aquariums, and science and technology centers in the first year.

In developing this campaign, APGA worked with the First Lady’s office to identify four priority areas where gardens can take action:

  • Each year, 200 million visits will be made to Let’s Move! Museums and Let’s Move! Gardens that have committed to offering interactive experiences that promote healthy eating and physical activity.
  • Each year, 20 million participants will engage in programming that includes healthy food choices and physical activity with emphasis on afterschool, summer and school-based programs.
  • Each year, 90% of Let’s Move! Museums and Let’s Move! Gardens that offer food service will already offer or will change their menu to offer food options that reflect healthy choices.
  • Each year 90% of Let’s Move! Museums and Let’s Move! Gardens that offer food service will incorporate interpretation about healthy food choices.

APGA has set a goal of having no less than 300 of its member gardens sign on to Let’s Move! Museums & Gardens within the coming year.

Get involved TODAY!

  1. Visit the IMLS website at imls.gov/letsmove. Read the welcome and familiarize yourself with the goals of the program at the bottom of the page.
  2. Click on the Guidance for Let’s Move! Institutions at the top of the page. This summarizes each goal and the kinds of activities you could include to contribute to achieving those goals. You will see that many are activities you may already be doing.
  3. Click on the Let’s Move! Institutions link at the top of the page and check the list (organized by state) to make sure you haven’t already signed on.
  4. Click on the Sign Up Now link at the top of the page and fill out the application.

Key Tips:

  • If you signed on as an early adopter back in May, you still MUST sign on to the campaign through the website.
  • You do NOT have to sign on to help achieve all of the goals, but should sign on to as many as possible.
  • Once you sign on, you will be required to report on your contribution to the overall goal on a quarterly basis.
  • You will also have opportunities to share your story in the reporting process. Please make sure to tell how you are making an important contribution.

Find more information at Imls.gov/about/letsmove.shtm.