Sunday, July 21, 2013

Day at Fernwood Botanical Gardens

I usually do some research at the beginning of summer to see what kind of FREE things we can do.  I have wanted to visit Fernwood Botanical Gardens in Niles, MI for quite some time now, but with all of our children, it really adds up to get tickets for everyone.  So, I happened to see that they are having one Free day a month during the summer.  We snatched up the chance to go and took my mom along.  On our way, we stopped at the Blueberry Ranch in Mishawaka, IN and picked some blueberries, then headed onward to the gardens.  What a lovely place!  Despite the super hot and muggy weather, we all survived and had a great time!

 First stop in the welcome center (well, after the bathrooms) was the inside train garden.

 Packed lunch and decided we better eat before we started walking.

 The girls stayed with Grandma Deborah for a few days and made these cupcakes.  Alegra did all the flowers with frosting on them.  So proud of her creativity!

After lunch we decided to start our tour of the gardens in the herb garden.

 Such fun structures and loved seeing and smelling all of the herbs.  It was right up my alley!

Then we headed for just some other trails.  There were lots of trails throughout the property but we only took the stroller accessible ones.....well, we did take one not so friendly to strollers.

 This pond provided us with the most laughs.  When Diella stood there and looked into the pond, frogs would jump right in front of her into the pond and scare her badly.  Finally, after being asked where they are coming from, she put her hand underneath the cement rock area that hangs over and just as she did that a frog jumped right out of that very spot.  She was startled and we all laughed so hard.  Good memories!

 Out of the woods and onto the nature center.  It was a small but very enjoyable one!  They had a really neat display of mammal's fur and body size differences.  Time to move along, so we headed for the butterfly and train gardens.  First stop, the train garden.
 This garden area reminded me of Mr. Rogers make believe land with the trolley.  It really was a neat little area!

 With water and bridges, trains on the ground going through tunnels and trains up above going over bridges, it made for a very unique area for the children to spend some time. 

 We visited the butterfly garden and didn't see too much there, then headed to the entrance back to the welcome center.  We stopped for a rest, drinks, and pictures at this amazing little structure.  Saphira was just the perfect addition to this area.

 Isn't it just a pretty little area?  And so filled with many wonders.  Oh the enjoyable chats with friends that could take place in a building like this.

And this is Josiah and Benaiah.  Josiah has on Alegra's glasses and is pretending that he is a masked robber (nobody can see his face due to the glasses covering him up).  These places just bring out the most imaginative play and child could ever have.  Such a great place!

And Alegra did have the camera for a bit and captured a pretty butterfly on this bush.  She just loves taking pictures of nature, especially butterflies.  I highly recommend this garden and would love to take Jonathon, so we could walk all of the trails.  Maybe on a day that isn't quite so hot.  Good things we packed lots of water!