Today, we went on a field trip that was supposed to happen about 3 weeks ago. Due to the unpredictable weather in Texas, we had to postpone the plan and finally it happened. Can we complain? Absolutely NOT!! The weather could not have been more perfect than today with a high of 68 degrees.
Fair Park, surely did not seem the same that I have visited before during the Texas State Fair. Except the ferris wheel that I saw from the bus. The open roads and the free parking in front of the ‘Texas Discovery Garden’, actually surprised me a bit. Our bus was able to drop us right in front of the gates. After checking in at the front desk, we began our trip with a self-guided tour of all the gardens that included the Master Gardener’s Garden, Shakespeare Garden, Minnie Marcus Garden and Grand Allee du Meadows moving on to the Grand Allee Fountain. During this tour we got to learn and discover several techniques from how to design our own garden, what are group plants, how to water wisely and how does composting help in increasing the soil’s organic matter.
Among a number of interesting things in the garden, one was the ‘Sun Clock’, that was highly liked by the children. The time on it was displayed by the shadows throughout the day, as the sun moves from dawn till dusk. We loved the Grand Alle Fountain that reaches 50 feet high and made the perfect backdrop for one of our photos.
We also got to explore the snakes of Texas. As we continued to head on, we came to the Monarch Mansion, where the garden was divided according to the size, species and families of the butterflies. Our students also wrote down about some facts as they learned. They got to draw in their journals as they were attracted by the Monarchs, Buckeyes, Crescents, Emperors, Ladies and Leafwings. (I will do a separate post about journaling sometime).
As the garden tour ended, we headed inside of the building where the guide was waiting for us to take us to her information room. She gave us a lesson on the life cycle of butterflies, their five senses and how they use them to encounter the world. She also familiarized us with some important differences between a butterfly and a moth. We ended this session with a game where we had to distinguish between different kinds of butterflies and moths.
The guide, later took us all to the ‘Butterfly House’, which was a huge green house. This was one of the most beautiful things, we’ve all seen and were in total awe. There were butterflies flying over us, under us, beside us and much more. (Did I just give you a lesson on ‘prepositions’ 😉 ). Well, I was only trying to give you a slight picture of the paradise we were in.
At noon each day, they release fully grown butterflies and that is a scene not to be missed. During the release we got to discover new facts about the butterflies, like when the butterfly comes out of the chrysalis, its wings are still a bit damp and they begin to harden after sometime. That is one of the reasons they release them after a day.
If you enjoyed this virtual tour of the ‘Texas Discover Garden’, I really encourage you to please try to spare one weekend during this Spring or Summer to check out this beautiful place.