If you’ve been reading my blog for long, you will know that we love, love, love the Dallas Arboretum. For years now, we’ve been excited about the children’s garden that we knew they were going to build. Every time we visited the Arboretum, we’d watch from afar as the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden took shape, screened from our view by fences and the busy goings on of tractors and general construction dust and chaos. We’ve been waiting excitedly, knowing that our kids would be the perfect ago to enjoy it – with many years to come – once it finally opened. This week, we had a chance to visit the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden for a special preview, and you guys…it’s more amazing than I ever could have imagined.
The culmination of almost two decades of planning and research, the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden is one-of-a-kind. Children (and adults!) can explore 150 hands-on exhibits and natural elements, and in true Arboretum style, you’ll find surprises around every corner.
The garden is named after Rory Meyers, a long-time Arboretum board member and former chair of the Arboretum’s Education Committee. This $62 million dollar project is a “museum without walls,” with exhibits based on state and national curriculum standards for life and earth science.
Not only is it full of educational experiences for the kids and amazing sights for all who attend, but it’s tons of fun, too. As soon as we walked in (and the entrance is amazing – sweeping views of White Rock Lake), the kids were drawn to the First Adventure exhibit, which is geared towards the littlest visitors and is full of hands-on, child-friendly activities. Honestly, they would have happily stayed put here for an hour or more!
One thing the kids always love – always, no matter where we are – is digging. There was a digging area with all kinds of fun implements to experiment with!
Everything is sized for children, including this mini archway and the tiny trees behind it. The kids loved exploring all of the paths and running down the different trails they discovered throughout the garden.
It was pretty hot, even in the evening, and the kids loved the misting gazebos (okay, so did I). There were several located throughout the garden, and we all appreciated the relief from the intense late-summer Texas heat.
One of my favorite stops was at the Plants are Alive exhibit. Surrounded by giant flowers, flower pots, and leaves, it had a very “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids!” vibe going on, and was also reminiscent of Alice’s trip through the flower gardens in Disney’s Alice in Wonderland movie.
Jack is at an age where he has lots of questions. He wants to know the “hows” and “whys” of pretty much every.single.thing.under.the.sun. He loved getting a chance to learn about how energy is created – and create some himself – at the T. Boone Pickens Pure Energy exhibit.
One of the more unique experiences is found in the Walk in the Clouds exhibit, which is easily recognized by the ginormous tree. Not only can you descend a spiral staircase inside the trunk of the tree (which Jack was really excited about), but you can also do something I am willing to bet most of you have not done before – you can bounce on a net above the treetops!
We spent so much time outside, we hardly had any time to spend in the 9,100 square foot indoor (and air-conditioned) Exploration Center, but we did check it out – and were in awe of the huge Omni-Globe, which is one of only 50 in the world (this giant and interactive globe demonstrates weather systems and movements in the earth, and shows how they impact us locally).
We were there for two full hours, and the garden is only eight acres – but every inch of every acre is utilized, and two hours wasn’t long enough! There was lots more to see, and lots more to do. On our way out, we passed these dragons, and on the way home, Jack asked if we could please come back so we could see them up close.
The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden opens to the public on September 21st, 2013.
If you want to attend, you can buy your tickets in advance (I recommend doing so, as the 21st is also the first day of Autumn at the Arboretum…it should be busy!). You can buy your tickets here (there are only a few time slots left).
There is food available in the garden (and it’s delicious…), or you can bring snacks.
Wear your walking shoes, and carve out several hours to spend there so you won’t be rushed – there is so much to see and do!
Are you as excited as I am about the Children’s Garden? Will you be visiting?
We received admission to a preview of the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden. All opinions, experiences, and eight gazillions photos are my own.