While visiting Athen, Georgia recently, everyone kept telling us to stop at the State Botanical Gardens. I imagined it to be walking around in the heat, looking at flowers and that was about it. Nothing exciting, right. After being told several times we had to visit, we decided it must be worth the trip and you know what... it was. Here is a little of what we experienced in our time there, what we learned, what we would do different, and how we made the most out of our short visit. I hope it helps you when you decide to tour this beautiful corner of the world.
Where do I to start at the botanical gardens?
When we first arrived we didn't have a map so we went down the first trail from the parking lot to see where it would take us. I took note of many of the plants growing in the shade to give me an idea of what I could plant back home in our shady front yard. We noticed at the bottom of the trail that the Visitor's Center wasn't far. We had been tempted to take the winding walk way and bridge down, but decided to save it for later. I'm including a direct link to the map of the gardens so you can find your way around a little quicker than we did. Click here for their map because I found it difficult to locate on their website even after visiting. Once inside the visitors center, we explored the atrium of tropical plants. I think what amazes me most is that I have some of the same plants in my gardens, but they aren't nearly as full and beautiful.
What is the first stop at the botanical gardens?
After getting our hand held maps, we made out of the visitors center like pirates following the paper map. Again, map skills are required and it helps to have your bearings. As we made our way over, it was clear we were on the right path as we passed the beautiful statues of a class exploring the outdoors together. I didn't take as many pictures as I wish I could have because the kids started moving so fast towards the children's garden.
The mushroom misters weren't on and they would have felt so good. I suspect it might have been for health reasons, but we quickly found the fossil dig and other smaller attractions to look for. The playground and slides were a hit with the kids as they found more children to play with and we eventually moved towards the "chestnut" play area.
Leading up to the "tunnel" you see above you can learn more about what this space represents. The educational plaques that are scattered around the area are with noting and helping the children imagine just how big those trees were, but walking through the tunnels that are much like the skeleton of a tree is pretty significant and actually left me in awe of just how big those trees must have been.
So much work and effort has been put into this space for kids. It's very rugged and organic. Even fallen trees are collected in piles so kids can see their natural decay. One of my favorite lessons is on acorns and how that one little tiny miracle of a seed is like millions of other little miracles waiting to happen. There is a book that we have from the Imagination Library called As An Oak Tree Grows by G. Brian Karas that my kids love.
What I Wish I Knew...
Below are a few projects I hope to do with my kids too...
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I'm Aimee, former Early Childhood Educator and Reading Specialist turned author, speaker, blogger, and mom of 5. This website is meant to inspire & equip parents of little ones to promote early literacy & language development at home. You will also find fun crafts, devotionals, and recipes to explore..
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