Texas Discovery Garden ~ Fair Park

by Jessica on April 6, 2011

Technology has no doubt revolutionized the travel industry, as travelers can research every aspect of a trip with just the touch of a button. Technology also offers unexpected little gems that can enhance your visit, as we learned at the Texas Discovery Garden at Fair Park.

It was the allure of the year round butterfly garden that brought us to the Gardens. Over 500 butterflies of over 30 varieties call this multi story conservatory home. The big kids were content to use their butterfly map as a living I Spy book, working together to find as many species of butterfly as possible.

Next, we ventured out into the gardens. As we were exiting the door, I noticed a tiny sign that invited us to use our phone to scan the barcode to unlock a secret mystery quest. Sometimes it’s all in the presentation, for as soon as we mentioned the word ‘quest’ an afternoon in the garden turned into a serious adventure.

Our first quest challenged us to find the hidden rose garden and seek out the oldest heirloom rose in the garden. We entered the Rose Garden through an alluring ivy arch and found an heirloom rose that was grafted from a plant brought to America in the early 1800s.

The next quest challenged us to find the seeds that were shaped like mini mines. Out onto the Grand Alley we marched where we found a carpet of sweet gum seeds. This prompted a great discussion about seed pods and how they work to disperse seeds.

Next, the magic quest sent us in search of the vegetable garden, where we saw a variety of vegetables and fruits. The veggies were just beginning to grow, so there would not have been much to see if it had not been for the trumpet flowers growing on the vine next to the garden. Gary showed the boys how to nip the end of the flower off with their teeth and suck the nectar out of the end of the flower. This simple activity was a great treat for the kids, who stuffed their pockets full of the fallen flowers so they could enjoy the sweetness as we continued the walk through the garden.

Our last quest took us to the Shakespeare garden, where we found a tribute to Shakespeare and Shakespearean quotes interspersed through the flowers. Gary, despite being the king of the Cliff’s Notes, has memorized a fair amount of Shakespeare, so he invited the boys to have a seat on a bench so he could entertain them.

It was a scene fit for a storybook. Four sweet boys with the cherubic faces upturned sitting among the flowers, as their father quoted the immortal words of the Bard. I was wistfully soaking up the moment, as it warmed the depths of my homeschool mama’s heart when I heard this:

“But soft, what light through yonder window breaks, it is the east and Juliet is one hot mama.”

Like the scraping sound at the end of a record player, those words brought me back to reality and sent the boys into peals of laughter.

The quest into the garden turned out to be a fantastic way to explore, and allowed us to see many parts of the garden we would have no doubt overlooked otherwise. Best of all, an afternoon in a garden is usually a fairly mundane activity for a family of active boys, but it turned into a great family memory, shoddy Shakespeare and all.

{ 1 comment }

thecoolmom April 27, 2011 at 7:06 am

I love the Discovery Garden. For several years running, we took a picture of all the kids sitting on the edge of the big fountain. I was sad when they took out the train garden though.

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