Top 5 Tips for Visit with Tweens
School’s out for summer! Now what?
It doesn’t take too long for the euphoria to fade to “I’m sooo bored,” especially with tweens. People may be familiar with some of Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden‘s attractions for the younger set, such as the WaterPlay splash pad and the Sand Play sandbox, but that won’t cut it for the 9- to 12-year-olds.
So how to engage those oh, so grown-up tweens at the Garden? I have suggestions.
You see, I recently led a group of Cub Scouts through the Garden. Before we set out, I thought: “What would 10-year-old boys find interesting?” Having never been one, I was simply guessing. Fortunately, they seemed to enjoy the visit, so here are some tips:
- Peer Into Pitcher Plants. Who doesn’t love the idea of carnivorous plants? The Garden has an excellent collection of Sarracenia or pitcher plants in the West Island Garden and some in the Children’s Garden. You can peek down the long, slender tubes (they are really modified leaves) and sometimes see insects being digested. Way cool!
- Roll Down a Hill. Something about the gently terraced lush lawn near the Cochrane Rose Garden calls out to kids. They’ll race straight down at breakneck speed or drop and roll until they’re so dizzy, they’ll keel right over when they try to stand up. It’s great fun.
- Watch Wildlife. The turtles in Lake Sydnor are always a hit. Watch from the Lotus Bridge as they swim, frolic and sun themselves. Bring along a few quarters for the fish food dispenser in upper Asian Valley and you can make some fishy friends.
- Get Off the Beaten Path. There are so many paths to explore in the Garden, including some less-traveled ones behind the Bloemendaal House. The Garden just asks that you be careful in some of these “wilder” areas and have other people with you. Also, please do not walk in the flower beds because it can damage bulbs and plants you may not be able to see. One of my favorite “secret” paths is one in front of the Robins Tea House, complete with stepping stones across the stream. Just don’t fall in!
- Climb a Tree. Tweens may think they’re too cool for it, but no one is ever too old for fun in the Children’s Garden. Who can resist climbing on the sprawling one-hundred-year-old mulberry tree? There’s always so much to see and do in this part of the Garden, from Word Play to views from the CWDKid’s Tree House, that tweens may forget themselves and act like kids again.
Let me know if you have some favorite Garden spots to visit with tweens. It’s going to be a long summer and I need something to get them off video games.