Brookside Gardens is a great year round destination for families. Their Saturday morning story time geared at kids ages 3 to 6 is a good motivator to make the trip to the gardens and enjoy some family time.
They then lead the kids over to the craft area where with parent help each child planted a pot with lettuce seedlings to take home. The entire activity took a total of 30 minutes. There is no fee for this activity and no advance registration is required. Parents do need to remain in the classroom with their children. Story time currently runs weekly through June 11th.
To continue our day at the garden we picked up a “Garden Treasure Hunt” form in the Children’s classroom before our exit. This activity gives kids pictures of 20 things they can find throughout the gardens such as turtles, edible plants, ferns and different types of leaves. If you do plan to do this hunt, come prepared with something to write with and something to write on (like a clipboard or book to lean on). My kids loved feeling like detectives in the garden and it helped to distract them from taking a long walk through the beautiful scenery.
We finished up our visit with a visit to the Children’s Garden, located just outside of the classroom windows. Here kids will find a nature sorting area, a worm habitat, vegetable garden, log tunnel and a tree house. My kids also enjoyed checking out the gnome house and having a pretend tea party at the log table (the stumps to sit on are not too sturdy though).
Brookside Gardens is open to the public every day of the year from sunrise to sunset. The Visitor’s Center is open daily from 9am to 5pm. Restrooms, water fountains and a gift shop can be found here as well as at the Conservatories at the opposite end of the gardens. Parking is available both near the Visitor’s Center and Conservatory.
Food and drink are not permitted in the gardens, though this does not seem to be heavily enforced. Admission and parking at the gardens are free of charge though they do charge for special events such as the upcoming “Wings of Fancy” butterfly exhibit in the Conservatory, and the “Garden of Lights” display in the winter.
If you and your children enjoy spending time in the garden, grab a copy of the Brookside Gardens Children’s Xperience booklet during your visit. Many classes, special events and camps are held year round for kids of all ages. From personal experience I highly recommend the Flower Buds classes for 3 to 5 year olds. You can register for all programs through the www.parkpass.org website.
On weekday visits to the gardens, kids can visit the Children’s Classroom indoors for nature themed books, puzzles and games Tuesdays through Fridays from 2 to 5pm. In summer the classroom is open daily from 9am to 5pm. All materials found here are geared towards kids ages 2 through 7.
Head to Saturday morning story time and enjoy some time exploring the gardens with your child.
Photo by Kim Engstrom