The historic gatekeepers cottage at the Ballarat Botanical Gardens will soon be revived with the energy of young curious minds.
The facility will be ready for use as a history and education centre and open to the public after Easter.
The restored cottage was first erected in the Ballarat Botanical Gardens in the late 19th century and returned to its original home in June 2017, after almost 85 years situated at 1414 Gregory Street.
It will become the home of popular children's nature program BotaniKIDS and an information display on the history of the Botanical Gardens.
Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Foundation chair Elizabeth Gilfillan said members were excited and relieved the education program would have a dedicated space.
"It will help us to be able to store equipment and to improve outreach into the community," she said.
"The education program is about informing people of the natural environment and nature pedagogy - giving children the opportunity to learn in and with the natural world."
City of Ballarat funded the refurbishment works while Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens is funding the internal fit out of furniture and education fixtures.
The Friends group has allocated $65,000 of funds from the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Foundation to the cottage works so far.
Ms Gilfillan said the building will feature a reception with interpretation and history of the gardens, meeting areas and education facilities.
Donations from a BotaniKIDS planting activity for children at the Begonia Festival throughout the long-weekend also raised funds for the project.
Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens promotions and public relations coordinator Sheree Murray said parents were seeing the benefits of the BotaniKIDS program.
"Being outside is very much in line with nature pedagogy - that bush kids, forest nursery mentality and movement where children are encouraged to be outside to learn," she said.
"There was a paper published this week which said children should spend six hours a day outside, rain, hail or shine."
The education program is about informing people of the natural environment and nature pedagogy - giving children the opportunity to learn in and with the natural world.Elizabeth Gilfillan, Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens
City of Ballarat infrastructure and environment director Terry Demeo said the cottage now sits on a new foundation, new incoming services are connected and hazardous material such as asbestos has been removed.
He said chimneys have been reconstructed to match the original detail, wall and ceiling linings have been renewed and the carpentry fix out was currently underway.
A new deck area will provide a public space that can also be used for outdoor education sessions.
External repairs, cladding and panting, internal floor and wall finishes, reconstruction of the front verandas to match the original detailing, construction of a cottage garden and picket fence to the original entry, terraces to provide access to the decking’s north elevation, paths and landscaping to link the cottage to the Wendouree Parade precinct, and associated infrastructure such as parking and toilets is still to be completed.
"The cottage will deliver a space for display of the Botanical Gardens history and to provide a space for current Friends of the Gardens education activities to be expanded," Mr Demeo said.
"Council will be responsible for the ongoing cottage maintenance. The Friends of the Gardens will provide volunteers to man education activities at the precinct."
The historical building was gifted to the community through the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens by its previous owners.
Search for Ballarat BotaniKIDS on Facebook for more information on how get involved in the program or the Friends of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Foundation website to donate to the project.