clock 10 am – 5 pm
Two boys play a wall of instruments outside.
Explore | Exhibit

Sound Garden

Experiment with the science of sound as you roam this fully-accessible trail, adjacent to Gateway Park. Discover how beautifully tuned instruments can pair with familiar materials to create a unique soundscape—perfect for inspiring creativity in musicians of all ages and abilities.

A girl in a puffy vest plays a metal drum with a mallet.

Try a Tongue Drum

Explore a set of tongue drums custom designed for this exhibit by local musician and builder Matthew Young and artist and metalworker, Andrew Preiss. Don’t worry, despite the name, these musical marvels are played using your hands, not your mouth!
A girl in a purple shirt plays bells with a mallet.

Experiment with Sound

Many of the Sound Garden instruments can be played in different ways, resulting in different sounds. Use a wooden then a rubber mallet on the ringing bells—how does the sound change?
Closeup of a xylophone-like instrument made from wrenches.

Create Unique Music

Grab a friend and play a tune on our pentatonically-tuned amadinda—an ancient wooden instrument originating from Uganda, Africa. Or a try your hand at a wrench-o-phone, a xylophone made of entirely of wrenches.

Learning through play

Exploring musical instruments like those in Sound Garden is a wonderful way to help young children develop fine and gross motor skills—grasping a mallet to make a pleasing note promotes strong hand-eye coordination and tactile proficiency. Aspiring and expert musicians alike are invited to experiment with rhythm, resonance, and the relationships of sounds as they explore instruments from around the globe.

Small child plays drum with help from parent.