​The Hershey Play Garden

In the Hershey Play Garden, children at Ames Family Hospice House can enjoy a healthy release in their own special environment. The Play Garden supports spiritual and emotional wellness for all children, and has become an intergenerational family space where memories are made and important moments are shared. Hospice of the Western Reserve is seeking additional donations in order to complete the next phase of the Hershey Play Garden, which will include a sculptural climbing feature.

Photo 1 Play Garden long shot.jpg

Designed and constructed by David Wells, the formerly grassy area has been transformed into a 5,000-sq.-ft. garden that includes a decked area with a Koi pond, bridge and water sluice, a playhouse, tunnels, massive sandbox and a “chalk garden.” Soft-needled evergreens and colorful perennials are included in the “hide and seek” garden as well as picnic tables, an old-fashioned tire swing and a family gathering area.


Well-known local metal artist, Ken Roby—the Village Blacksmith — created two whimsical wall sculptures that delight visitors of all ages.

The Hershey Play Garden was dedicated on June 25, 2015. The garden’s designers, Little & Wells, Westlake Mayor Dennis Clough, benefactor Debra Hershey Guren, as well as President and CEO Bill Finn and Bereavement Center Director Diane Snyder Cowan spoke of the importance of the garden to patients and their families and friends. 

 Hershey Play Garden Dedication Event

The Play Garden is eco-friendly; like the LEED Gold Certified Ames Family Hospice House, it was designed with ecologically-sound construction techniques, plus reclaimed and locally sourced materials. The Play Garden and surrounding area include unique applications of natural materials, such as a living fence woven through young maple trees. Additional developing gardens at Ames Family Hospice House include winding paths behind the house, and an area to the east designed specifically to honor veterans.


Growing a Garden

The first phases of the Play Garden are complete, as a result of the generosity of several benefactors. The primary funders are The Hershey Foundation and The Sherwick Fund of the Cleveland Foundation. Also contributing were the UPS Foundation, the Feel-Good Foundation, the Maurer Family in loving memory of Gerald R. Maurer, the Ladies' Holiday Lunch Bunch, and numerous individuals. The Play Garden will continue to grow as the trees and plantings mature and become more established in the coming years. 

Naming opportunities are available. Please contact Laura Martin at 440.383.3716, or Bonnie Robbins at 440.383.5258 if you would like more information about supporting the Play Garden.