Getting Kids Out Into Nature

Mother’s Day Delight

rhododendron species botanical garden, nature walks with kids, puget sound gardens
In Bloom

I’m back after a computer hard drive crash and restoration.  Let me just say how thankful I am for my techie husband who helped me fix everything.  I’ll continue later with our Spring Break Trip, but wanted to let you know about a wonderful garden that is in bloom right now, and is worth visiting.

rhododendron species botanical garden, nature walks with kids, families in nature, gardens in seattle
Giant Tree-sized Rhodie

For Mother’s Day our family went down to Federal Way to the Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden and the Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection.  This was our first visit to the garden, and we weren’t disappointed.  We started off checking out the bonsai displays.  There were many old and impressive bonsai plantings, each one displayed on a cement pedestal.  Gravel paths wind around, bringing visitors to more and more interesting specimens.  Below are some of our favorites:

Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection, rhododendron species botanical garden
Bonsai Scene
Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection, rhododendron species botanical garden
Hatching
pacific rim bonsai collection, rhododendron species botanical garden
Windswept
pacific rim bonsai collection, rhododendron species botanical garden
Ancient
pacific rim bonsai collection, rhododendron species botanical garden
Blooming

After we looked at the bonsai, we entered the Rhododendron Garden and began the self-guided tour.  Rhodies as big as trees, brilliant or pastels, in leaf or in boom, mingled with mature Douglas-firs and other native plants.

rhododendron species botanical garden
Rhodies in a lovely woodland setting
rhododendron species botanical garden
New Leaves

Many other interesting plants filled in the gaps, collections from places as far-flung as China, Japan, and the eastern United States.   We meandered along, following the signs, a new discovery awaiting at every turn.

Kids in nature, rhododendron species botanical garden
Giant Magnolia Leaves
rhododendron species botanical garden
Aaron and Annika in Bamboo Grove
rhododendron species botanical garden
Candelabra Primrose
rhododendron species botanical garden
Arisaema taiwanense

Some of our favorite areas included the field of blue poppies, the Stumpery display, and the Conservatory.

rhododendron species botanical garden
Blue Poppy with Annika’s Hand for Scale
rhododendron species botanical garden
The Pond
rhododendron species botanical garden
Entering The Stumpery

The latter would be a good  place to take refuge on a rainy day, as it was warm and calming, with a stream flowing through, lush growth, and glass art scattered among the plants.

rhododendron species botanical garden
Conservatory
rhododendron species botanical garden
Indoor Water Feature
rhododendron speices botanical garden conservatory
Friendly Slug Art

There were many people there on this sunny Mother’s Day, and they were also having a plant sale and Rhododendron blossom contest.  Despite the crowds, it was a pleasant place to spend a few hours.

If You Go:  The Rhododendron Species Botanical Garden is located at 2525 S. 336th Street, Federal Way, WA 98003.  They are open from 10-4 Tuesdays through Sundays (closed Mondays.)  Admission rates are: $8 general admission, $5 seniors and students, and children 12 and under are free. The Bonsai Collection is Free.  There is no picnicking allowed in the garden, so make sure you eat before you go.  Pets are not allowed.  There is plenty of free parking on site.  The paths are wide gravel, and are suitable for strollers and toddling walkers.  There is one bathroom, outside of the entrance, and they will let you leave and come back in to use it.  Allow 1.5 – 2 hours to see the majority of the garden.

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