Back in June, a group of D Magazine editors embarked on the media preview of the Rory Meyers Children’s Garden at the Dallas Arboretum. Check out that post here. This past weekend, we sent D Moms intern Hannah Cheves to the official ribbon cutting event. Here is her report.
By Hannah Cheves.
Walking towards the Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden at the Dallas Arboretum was like walking into a fairy tale. I came out of a trail that had taken me through masses of trees and happened upon an opening with a large crowd waiting in front of a towering, magnificent gate. This gate opened into a garden far greater than one I ever imagined when I was a little girl, and far more than I had even expected for the day. A line of band members from Townview Big D Band made up a human bridge of tubas, trombones. Glittered pom squad smiles beckoned me to the grand opening of the garden. A beautiful ribbon that had been compiled by DISD elementary school art students was on the ground. I felt I had instantly reverted to my childhood. Once inside the oasis, I sat under a waved canopy on a wooden bench that looked out to White Rock Lake. I was in awe of the incredible work that had taken place to execute such an intricate design.
The garden has been a work in progress for seventeen years, which made the grand ribbon cutting a sweet moment for all of those who made the garden come to life. The event was no less than grand, too—Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings spoke and the St. Mark’s Choir entertained. There was a fresh fall breeze that chose the perfect day to arrive as we all sat marveling at the beautiful garden we were about experience.
The garden is a massive eight acres full to the brim of interactive devices advancing science education. From eco-systems and weather patterns to plant life, there is something from every line of science with the coolest “classroom” to learn in. This idea is the heart mission of the Rory Meyers garden: To help kids love science while having fun. Mayor Rawlings said in reference to the educational garden, “when we have fun we also want to do good for the next generation.” There is no doubt the Dallas Arboretum is doing well for the kids of Dallas and beyond. Having a place nationally known that presents the opportunity to educate and provide a place for a family to thrive together is something to be proud of.
After the ceremony ended we were given the “go” to explore. I grabbed my pen and pad and darted for the gate. Words cannot express the world the Dallas Arboretum created. Everything is precisely made for your child’s mind and imagination (as well as for us older “kids” too). Large oversized pots of flowers and ants the size of horses were just a few things I spotted as I began walking down the trail. A large tree house hung over the grounds, and children ran to various spots eager to get their hands on anything they could reach. With 150 different exhibits and 17 activity spots for your child to kinesthetically learn the concepts of science—water power, wind power, seasons, weight, mass—the list could go on and on. It’s hard to believe your child won’t even recognize they are learning while having so much fun.
My favorite area was by far the weather systems area. Do not miss this one. I guess I could be biased considering my lifelong dream is to be a weather girl (and one of my favorite celebs is Al Roker). But here is how it works: The large bins provided allow you and your kids to set up neighborhoods. With the press of a button the rain comes. You can watch the effects of water erosion on your creation as is tumults through. Continuing on, there is large weather system model, sundial, and all the planets in a line with a moving platform exhibiting rotation and revolution. A huge puzzle of Pangea can be separated to mimic the map representative of our world today. It truly is incredible. Every single location, not just this one area, has extensive planning and design elements.
The Rory Meyers Children’s Adventure Garden presents the opportunity for education to be fun. Whether for a field trip, a babysitter destination, a homeschool co-op, or a family outing it is ideal for kids of any age to enjoy the learning experience. (Shh, keep the “learning” part secret. They’ll never know it with how much fun they are having!) The Dallas Arboretum is a beautifully developed space with far more available than just a garden. No, this is a place created to enhance the minds of children and the families of Dallas forever.