Long time readers will know our family takes a yearly trip to the local botanical gardens every summer around the girls' birthdays. It's usually the only time we can afford the ticket price plus gas plus time plus snacks for the day. However, I lucked out and won a Twitter contest held by the gardens a few days before this year's spring break for Hubby's school.
|Here's a pic from our first trip as a family for comparison.|
We allow the girls to have half days when Hubby is off for school holidays aside from summer vacation, so time wasn't a problem this time. We needed to head into town anyway to run errands on Tuesday, so gas wasn't a big issue. So we packed up our own water bottles from home, grabbed a box of trail mix bars, and went to the gardens several months earlier than is our usual.
The weather was very nice. It was just a tad cool when the wind was blowing, but just perfect in the bright sunlight.
|This year's theme was dwellings. We loved the hobbit hole.|
We arrived to find the gardens in the midst of construction and revitalization efforts before their peak season. We've never gone this early, so it was interesting to see almost "behind the scenes." The earliest we've ever gone was for a late April/early May biology assignment Hubby and I had in college, which is what introduced us to the gardens. It's been a favorite of our since.
|Some places in the gardens rarely change, like this arbor. It's a favorite of ours.|
We were somewhat wary going in this year after what happened last year. Boo decided she'd had enough within half an hour and whined the rest of the trip. We ended up leaving after barely an hour after shelling out roughly half our usual weekly grocery budget on tickets. We'd decided this would be the last trip for our family if that happened again.
It didn't. In fact, we ended up spending three and a half hours exploring the gardens throughout the morning and early afternoon.
|They dug in the sand at "Fort Remington" for a good quarter hour.|
Maybe it was because of the cooler temperatures. Maybe it was because Boo now realizes the importance of keeping herself fully hydrated and didn't work herself into a tummy ache with a little walking. Maybe it was just the novelty of getting out of the house this time of year when the weather can't make up its mind as to which season it is. Whatever the cause, we were happy to have a terrific visit to the local gardens.
|Sneak loved the swings at the pirate ship. Boo was busy playing captain.|
We walked most of the trails. The girls stopped and played or explored almost all of the exhibits. We had to make two stops each at the pirate ship and the group of hammocks.
|Sneak took to the hammock's like she was born to them.|
The only disappointment we really had was in the butterfly house. It's been a consistent must see for us every year for the past six years. In fact, we almost didn't manage to pry the girls' fingers off the doors, metaphorically speaking, the first year we visited. (We'd made the mistake of visiting it last. It's been a first stop since until this trip.) We suppose it's because of how early in the season it is, but the butterfly house was empty except for the turtles. We figure it's a tad too cold for the butterflies and bees as of yet. Either that, or the sound of construction so close by just had them too skittish to come out.
We enjoyed our trip to the gardens this spring break, and we have a lot to look forward to when we go back for our usual trip in the summer.