School’s out for the summer! Translation: I’m making a long list of fun activities, projects and field trips to keep Gemma and I busy when we’re not traveling or running to local camps over the next few months. With Kindergarten starting in late August, I’m hoping to make the most of these last few months of freedom.
We kicked off the first day of summer break last Friday with a trip to the NC Botanical Garden. We’re so lucky it’s just a few miles down the road and offers up an afternoon of fun and exploration for kids and adults.
We’ve been to the Garden before but this time I challenged Gemma to a scavenger hunt! After finding our shady parking spot, we set off through the mountain terrain, on the lookout for the “not so obvious”. She had to find two butterflies (each of a different color/family), one dragonfly, one bee, a tadpole and a turtle. Within the first 5 minutes she’d spotted all but the tadpole and turtle; these two beings proved a bit harder to spot.
The Garden is alive with blooming flowers, including pitcher plants and other carnivorous plants. This particular collection is one of the best in the Southeast, so we spent quite a while checking out the Venus flytrap, orchids and other rare species. These flowers are STUNNING and well worth the trip!
There are several different gardens and habitats to explore including a garden, mountain and Piedmont terrains, display gardens, fern collection and water plant exhibits. You can easily spend a few hours wandering through and sighting various plants, insects and water features. And aside from the main Garden property, there are kid-friendly trails, part of the Piedmont Natural Trails system, you can access through back gates located behind the Education Center. The Botanical Garden also manages Battle Park Pedestrian Trails, Coker Arboretum and Forest Theater, all on or near the UNC Chapel Hill campus.
Here are a few more findings from our afternoon adventures:
- Visit the NC Botanical Garden website to learn more about what’s in bloom seasonally, and plan your visit. The center also offers a variety of adult and youth classes, demonstrations and storytime, as well as summer camps (which unfortunately are on a wait list at this point).
- There is no admission fee, however the foundation gladly accepts donations to further their mission and maintain the grounds.
- The main building also houses a very nice Garden Shop. Be sure to stop in if you’re on the hunt for a unique gift item, including live plants, botanical prints, gardner’s books and outdoor embellishments.