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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Botanical Gardens with Kids

Yesterday I went with my daughter's kindergarten class to visit the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens here in Sarasota.   The class had their own tour guide (the extremely knowledgeable "Mr. Jim") and we first visited the butterfly garden and learned all about butterflies.  We looked through small kaleidoscopes to experience how butterflies see and we touched hot rocks where they warm themselves.  Next we saw a huge tree with plants growing on its trunk and limbs.

 Then, the class used turkey basters to extract water from the center of bromeliads and study the contents through a magnifying class (which was really cool).  At the pond, we saw a cotton plant and everyone touched a real cotton ball.

The fragrance garden was filled with herbs, flowers, and had a sweet almond tree. The conservatory had lots of orchids and a cacao tree a.k.a. the "chocolate" tree. We also learned about simple and compound leaf structures and made a "leaf rubbing" with crayons (which I loved because I love doing leaf painting with my art class). We saw huge Koi in the fish pond, learned about bonsai trees, saw the largest bamboo in the world and, finally, the amazing banyan trees with roots that grow in the air!

At the end of the visit we all had lunch under the banyan trees.   What a great field trip!! 
Looking through "Butterfly Eyes"

Cool Epiphytes- Plants that Grow on Trees
Collecting Water from a Bromeliad

Inspecting the Water with a Magnifying Glass

Leaf  Rubbings

Koi Pond
Smelling a Sweet Almond Tree!

A Real Ball of Cotton

Roots of a Banyan Tree
Playing in the Banyan Trees

Looking at the Cacao Tree
Bonsai Trees

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