By Tom Howe, Marketing Intern
Before this summer, I'd been to the Science Center a couple of times, but in the last two months or so I've spent a lot more time on the exhibit trail. I've realized that whenever I came here with my family before, we skipped Kirkwood Gardens, and from what I've seen of people out on the trail it seems like not that many people actually stop there. One of my projects for this summer as the marketing intern at the Science Center involves getting pictures of every flower that comes into bloom in the gardens. So I have been spending quite a bit of time over there, and I've come to think that maybe more people ought to stop by on their way around the animal exhibit trail.
I think the number one reason I'd recommend stopping at the gardens is that it's a break! The exhibit trail is great, but on a sunny day it might be crowded, and while it's not really too long a walk, the gardens are about half way around, which makes them a nice place to stop for a bit. The river otter exhibit is one of our most popular, and the gardens are just before that. If you know there's going to be a lot of people around, and you're in no hurry, a quick walk around the gardens is a nice way to let crowds subside a bit before moving on.
And of course, it's not like you're just going to be walking around with nothing to see, because even if you know nothing about plants (like me), the gardens can still be interesting. There are often cool insects. I saw this Snowberry Clearwing moth earlier in the year, and this Swallowtail butterfly.
Also, one thing I really didn't expect was that the flowering plants change almost daily, with new ones blossoming and others going by very quickly. Any time you stop at the gardens you'll see something different.
Another reason the gardens are interesting to me is that despite this actually being a fairly wet summer, they still look pretty great. We've had loads of rain recently and that hasn't been great for the plants, but I hear we've also had a lot of Japanese beetles and June bugs. So the effort the people who volunteer at the gardens have put into keeping them maintained and looking as good as they do really deserves some appreciation.
And, of course, you can't forget that Kirkwood Gardens is free and open to the public. Even if you don't have time to actually come to the science center and do the whole trail, you can stop there, which is definitely cool.