VAIL — Discovering the great outdoors during the summer often makes a lasting impression. Whether it is examining an insect through the lens of a microscope, or creating art using natural materials, Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is a beautiful, outdoor classroom for kids to explore and learn.
Starting this week, the Alpine Gardens’ Learn and Grow projects are available Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon until Aug. 14. The drop-in activities are held in the Children’s Garden amphitheater and are appropriate for children ages 5 to 10 years. Weekly themes include “Plant Life Cycle,” “Flower Power” and “Uncovering what’s Underground.”
The Alpine Gardens is also showcasing its two new Discovery Carts on Monday — one developed specifically for children and complete with microscopes, observation containers, bug nets and craft supplies.
Hunting For Treasure
The Alpine Gardens Treasure Hunt is a self-guided activity but requires at least one person who can read the clues. The Hunt leads children from clue to clue to uncover a hidden treasure. Along the way, they will learn about features in the Gardens that are prevalent in our surrounding mountains.
“While the Treasure Hunt was created for kids, adults can learn a lot about the environment,” said the Alpine Gardens education intern Madra Choromanska. “However, the treasure at the end is more appropriate for children.”
The first clue is available in the Alpine Gardens’ Schoolhouse Gift Shop, open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Alpine Gardens is now offering half-day nature camps, called Magical Mornings, on select Fridays from 9 a.m. to Noon. Children will spend the morning getting their hands dirty making clay, planting seeds and constructing fairy gardens. On July 18, campers will learn all about the sun by creating sundials, desert fairy houses and more. And on Aug. 8, children will construct wind chimes and boats from natural materials. Registration is required and the cost is $35 per child. To register, call 970-476-0103, ext. 3.
Betty Ford Alpine Gardens is the highest botanical garden in North America. The Gardens are free and open to the public from dawn until dusk. In addition to its youth programs, the Gardens engage adults with guided tours, cooking demonstrations, yoga classes and photography workshops. A complete list of events is available at bettyfordalpine gardens.org or call 970-476-0103.