Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mother's Day at Tower Hill Botanic Gardens, Boylston

Tower Hill Botanic Gardens is one of those gems that once you discover you will be amazed that you had waited so long to visit. Just 30 minutes west, it is both a beautiful spot with gorgeous views of Mount Wachusetts, an educational center and a delightful place to spend an afternoon, or even a day. Although Tower Hill isn't expensive ($10 for adults and $5 for children ages 6 to 18) and you can get passes at some libraries, on Mother's Day, moms were free. In addition, as children under 5 are always free, we were able to have a wonderful experience for very little money.When my sons and I take our daily afternoon walk, we always bring along a birding book for children. My 3 year old loves matching the birds he sees in the trees with those in his book and is gradually understanding that if you yell, yes, you will scare the birds away. At Tower Hill we had a chance to see some spectacular birds, particularly a red-winged blackbird (that looked infinitely more spectacular than it does in this photo!)Tower Hill is really about the gardens and with 132 acres to explore and multiple gardens to visit, you can stay busy just reading all the labels of the beautiful plants. And, while the vegetable gardens were just at their early stages, many of the flowering plants were in bloom. As my son and I have just created our first garden, I hope to come back with him to have someone teach us how to actually keep vegetables alive.In the colder months, their Orangerie, while much smaller than the garden in Providence, Rhode Island, was certainly a nice place to avoid the unbelievable winds that my fearful son was convinced would blow him away!There was also a lovely vernal pool where we looked for frogs and turtles. And, although this time we used our stroller to walk around with the one year old, in the future, we hope to return to this place to check out their hikes. Tower Hill Botanic Garden, 11 French Drive, Boylston. Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Wednesday until 8 p.m. through August. 508-869-6111

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