While my husband and older son went to Elitch's for the 100th (seems like it anyway) time today, I invited a friend and her 3 year old son along to explore the Botanic Gardens. We went to the York Street location and checked out the Children's Secret Path first. Somehow I had missed this great little area on previous visits.
What a great area for kids! There are plants to smell and touch. Plus a soil station complete with shovels and rakes so the kids can dig to their heart's content. We had to practically drag the boys away from this area and they were covered in dirt from head to toe. But hey, that's what baths are for! The alligator drum and giant amandinda (think giant wooden xylophone) were also a lot of fun for the kids. There was a giant tree with draping branches and benches underneath that made for a great tree house. And the boy loved going through the tunnel made of vines. One of the coolest areas was the kaleidoscope, that looked at a bowl of flowering succulents, the images of the flowers comprised the base of the kaleidoscope views. Hard to describe but very, very cool...check it out!
We weren't sure how much of the rest of the gardens would hold the boys' attention so we decided to play it by ear. They loved the waterways area with the fountains or "waterfalls" as the kids called them. They liked climbing all the steps to the top of Anna's lookout and getting a bird's eye view of the gardens. We followed the kids as they ambled down the various paths and stone steps.
The kind lady at the admisssions desk told us about the grassy amphitheater-like area and said to feel free to let the kids roll down it. The boys preferred to run to the bottom and back up again but they still had fun. And burned off a lot of energy.
After a couple hours, it was clear the kids were getting tired from all the walking and exploring. So we started making our way back to the entrance. Only to end up back on the Secret Path for one last time before leaving.
It was a great way to spend the last official day of summer! And as a bonus, we left with tired little boys ready for a nap.
The Denver Botanic Gardens at York Street will be having free days on Sept. 27 and October 18th. Kids 3 and under are always free!