Disclosure: While the field trip was super, my son’s behavior was not. For those of you who have the impression that life is perfect at Casa Field Trip, you’re wrong. P was contradictory, demanding, disrespectful and whiny at times throughout the afternoon. I was able to enjoy the gardens anyway.
We drove past the edge of Bookworm Gardens on our way to park the car. I immediately felt a rush of adrenaline. Yes, folks, that’s what happens to book nerds like me when they get excited about books. P practically tore through his seatbelt trying to get a better view of the Magic School Bus. It even had wings! The three of us could hardly wait to start exploring the literacy-themed gardens. We didn’t even make it as far as the visitor’s center. We were lured off the sidewalk by the Magic School Bus’s siren song. And it was worth it. I knew as we entered the school bus from the back emergency door and headed towards the front, that this garden was something magical. Copies of Magic School Bus books and laminated activities sat on the seats leading up to where Ms. Frizzle drove the bus in the books. It’s one thing to see a place in your mind’s eye as you read about it. It’s another to have someone capture it in a garden. Movies can’t even get it right with all their millions of dollars of special effects. That’s what it came down to for me. Bookworm Gardens was able to capture the feeling of each book and translate them into interactive garden settings. Frankly, we felt like we were walking into the books.
Yep, still magical. There’s no way I can relate in this blog post just how fantastical this place was. What I will try to do is, show you the features that called to me the most. Did I mention it was raining? Yep, still magical.
Each of the gardens has a theme and a book nook. The book nooks are filled with the books represented in the gardens. There are plenty of seats and benches in each area for you to sit down, read the books and do activities together.
Magic Tree House
Maybe because I’ve listened to the audiobooks repeatedly or maybe because my son is so enthusiastic about Jack and Annie or maybe just because I love tree houses, but I wanted to plunk right down in one of the Adirondack chairs and start reading a good book. Leaning over the railing, listening to the sound of the raindrops hitting the leaves was unbelievable. I could have spent a lot longer relaxing in the tree house, but P was off and running, excited about the next amazing thing he discovered.
Pooh’s house at Hundred Acre Wood
I own the Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh. I love Pooh (classic). I still read it once in a while…by myself. Pooh’s house felt absolutely true to the stories. The garden designers even set the stage inside his home in a tree. Ring the Pooh’s bell and open the door for another smile.
Tea House and Zen Garden
It was the sense of peace that made me love this part of the gardens. Set under the canopy of tall hardwoods, the tea house was decorated with a Japanese tea setting on a low table looking out over the gardens. There were even Japanese geta shoes. Just outside the tea house was the Zen Garden fenced in bamboo.
I intentionally didn’t show you every detail or write about which books went with each area because part of the magic of Bookworm Gardens is discovering the clever details for yourself. Ambling through (or speed walking if you’re seven), discovering the neat parts that make you say, “Oh my goodness! Did you see this?” or “This is so cool!” or “Oh! I love this book!” is absolutely part of the experience. We rediscovered so many books we’d forgotten about and a few we’d never read. This week i’ve been reserving books from the library so we can dive into the books that were featured in the gardens. Next time we’ll bring a picnic, a few books and take our time, reading as we go.
Nuts and Bolts:
- It’s FREE and depends largely on volunteers. They suggest a $5.00 donation per person.
- This is a kid friendly attraction. They have thoroughly thought through everything from bathrooms to safety.
- The bathrooms are definitely family friendly with a sturdy step stool, toilet seats with a flip down potty seat, bathroom related picture books, and bright animals painted on the walls.
- The Hansel and Gretel Learning Center houses a fantastic little library. We sat in the rocking chairs (big and small) and read a few books after wandering the gardens.
- You can picnic anywhere there’s grass, but they also have The Secret Garden area next to the Hansel and Gretel Learning Center with plenty of tables. They just ask that you take your garbage with you.
- There’s a cute little gift shop in the Hansel and Gretel Learning Center.
- It’s not just for kids! Anyone who appreciates gardens and/or children’s books will enjoy it!
For more information please visit their website http://www.bookwormgardens.org