Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Gardens - 2010.1 Edition

Let's be honest here: It's called 2010.1 because this is the first of many posts about The Gardens, I can only imagine. We love Frederick Meijer Gardens! From the butterflies in the spring to the holiday trees for Christmas, we are there a lot throughout the year! So, here's to the first post of the year about The Gardens.
March 1st brought the opening of the yearly exhibit "Butterflies are Blooming". Today, we made our first trip to see them with Grandma, Jeremy's mom. From the looks of this picture, she enjoyed herself. It was good to see her smiling like that.
Grayson enjoyed running around the butterfly garden as much as he enjoyed looking at the butterflies. He spent a lot of time flipping this display around and looking at the pictures. I didn't realize that this photo was going to be anything special when I took it, but after playing around with it in Picasa, I saw how his eyes just popped, now I love it.
I tried to find my favorite photo of Jayce from the day, and this is probably not it. However, it does show you how interested he was in checking everything out. He was definitely interested in the butterflies and looking up the names with Grandma.
I'm going to spare you a post that is pages and pages long by grouping up a lot of the photos in collages. We had so much fun looking for butterflies, admiring the beauty of the exotic flowers, and walking along the paths and over bridges. So much fun, in fact, that it was impossible to get the kids to pose together for a photo. My one and only attempt is the picture on the top row, one in from the left: Jayce just laid on the bench, and Grayson scooted off before I could get the camera up to my eye. They were just having too much fun!
Some pictures of the butterflies. I found it very interesting that after they broke out of their cocoons (in the protective Plexiglas house), they were loaded into a plastic container by a very careful volunteer and "dumped" out in the open. The photo on the bottom, second in from the right, is just that.
Oh, the flowers were beautiful. I really tried to restrain myself from taking too many photos of the flowers. I picked out my top three to show you. By far, the while flower with the purple trim was my absolute favorite.
After hanging out with the butterflies for a while, we went downstairs to visit the turtles. The kids had fun watching them swim through the water, bask in their "sun" and hide within their protective shells.
Just down the hall, there was a magnetic board where the kids worked on creating a butterfly. Jayce is posing with his masterpiece while Grayson and Grandma looked on.
Then we ventured outside while Grandma went to a luncheon she had scheduled. Do you recognize this area? It looks a lot different covered in snow...
It doesn't seem like it was six months ago that we were splashing in the water at the Great Lakes display!
Our first real stop in the Children's Garden was the Treehouse Villiage. Grayson had a blast running up and down the many bridges - he even got up the nerve to cross the rope bridge all by himself: crawling!
Jayce spent nearly all of his time running across the rope bridge. Back and forth, back and forth. He loved it!
We moved on from there to the beaver house. Grayson showed off his mad muscles by lifting a log that was much to heavy for him, and by pushing his brother in the stroller.
The boys enjoyed running up the path to the top of the beaver house to look out over the Children's Garden.
Does this look familiar? Jayce went running over, asking to swim...
I'm afraid that it was a little to cool for an experience like this. I told him it would only be a couple more months until he was splashing in the water again.
(Should I have warned you that this post was long even with the collages?? Oops, sorry!)
Next, we ventured into the Children's Garden activity center. There were many different things to do that were butterfly-related. Jayce and Grayson, with some help, colored some wipe-off pictures of the winged creatures.
Jayce took the opportunity to dress up as a butterfly. I probably wouldn't have chosen the sparkle-y, rainbow wings, but apparently the volunteer thought that he fit the look. Oh well. Doesn't my child look thrilled! I asked him to look at himself in the mirror, and this is what I got.
See, he really was excited to see himself as a butterfly. I was excited to see him in black wings. This is one of my favorite shots of Jayce of the day.
Grayson tried to put together a butterfly, but he didn't quite "get it".
So he moved on to reading. Do you have the "10 Little Ladybugs" book at your house? We do! I think that's why he wanted to read it five times.
Jayce went to work creating a butterfly on the felt board. I asked him to pose with his butterfly here too, and this is what I got: What a goofy face! We are going to have to work on his smiling for photos.
Grayson got a hold of a magnifying glass and thought he was the coolest thing looking at everything through it.
One more stop at the Treehouse Village to run across the rope bridge (this is the other favorite photo of Jayce of the day!)....
and check out the "nest"....
and our first day at the Gardens of the year was complete. I was exhausted! I'm sure that the kids needed lunch and a rest, but I needed a nap! All that fresh air and sunshine was exhausting. We had a really great day, and the boys are already looking forward to going back again. They want to take Daddy back tomorrow!


Kim M said...

When I see the picture of Jayce posing near his butterfly creation and your comment of working on his smile, I had a flash of a memory.

Not very long into my experience as a grandmother, I was mentioning how easy it was to get a picture of Jayce smiling (you might remember he smiled all the time!). My sister, the photographer, stated "he's not 4 yet!". Want to guess how old her grandson was at the time?!?

I'm hoping it's just a stage!

MelArcile said...

He doesn't mind smiling, it just doesn't look natural anymore.

Jenney said...

That place always looks awesome! I had to laugh at Jayce's face when he was a butterfly...priceless.