Nature Programs at Highfield Discovery Garden

One of Julian’s favorite parts of preschool last year was Science. Each week, a Science Teacher visited his class and taught the kids about nature, the weather, animals, insects — there was a different theme each week. So, with it being the summer, I wanted to continue fostering this interest, but in a super relaxed, fun way. I’d heard about the nature programs at Highfield Discovery Garden, but never been — so a few weeks back, the kids and I went to our very first program: Magic Plants.

Each week, there’s a different theme: vegetables, plants, animals — you name it. Julian is all about plants, and as soon as I mentioned “Magic Plants,” his first response was to ask if there would be carnivorous plants at this program. I said probably not. (Spoiler alert: I was wrong!)

We arrived for the 1 p.m. class, which was full of preschool and elementary-aged kids (with lots of younger toddler/baby siblings, too!). Julian and Mary sat at tables, and Harvey, on my lap. The instructor had great presence and enthusiasm, and did a fantastic job of engaging the kids with fun questions and silly descriptions.

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The 15-minute class featured several “magical” plants, including herbs, medicinal plants, sensitive plants, jewelweed and, much to Julian’s delight, carnivorous plants. There were fun demonstrations, plants to smell and even to touch (all of my kids were in awe of the sensitive plant and its shriveling leaves). Various samples were passed around for the kids to investigate, and there were lots of opportunities for kids to both ask and answer questions. In fact, after the class, Julian made me proud when he initiated a conversation about carnivorous plants with the instructor.

Related Post: Be a Kid Again at Highfield Discovery Garden

I admittedly wasn’t the most into science as a kid — but as a parent, it’s a whole other story. I love learning about the world with my kids — and Highfield Discovery Garden is such a great place to learn. It’s outdoors, full of learning opportunities to engage kids. We saw (and heard!) the giant frogs in Frog & Toad’s Garden, saw butterflies and dragonflies in the Butterfly Garden, and got to pet the resident mascot of Highfield: a cuddly, adorable white bunny named Mr. Lilly.

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These educational programs are all included with Highfield Admission — which, if you ask me, is a total steal at $5. (We actually bought a family pass last fall for just $45, and it’s paid for itself many times at this point.)

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With summer break upon us, I have a feeling we’ll be back weekly for more science programs — and I’m so excited to learn with my kids! In fact, when we got home, Julian felt inspired to draw a Venus Fly Trap “catching a fly.”

highfield program 7UPDATE: We’ve been to class every week since. Last week, Julian got to demonstrate a Venus Fly Trap in the “Plant Superheroes” class. Two weeks ago, the kids got a fly’s eye view as part of the “Buggerific” program. These classes are most definitely part of our summer schedule.

Highfield Discovery Garden hosts programs at 10:45 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesdays-Saturdays and 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sundays. A full program schedule can be found on the Great Parks website.

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