Tag Archives: Children’s Activities in Maryland

Scenes from a Lovely Fall Outing to Brookside Gardens

 

Is it just me, or has this fall been especially beautiful?  The scenery seems ablaze with golden yellow, fiery orange, and deep red as the foliage puts on its seasonal performance. Perhaps the general gloom of this past year makes the bright spots that much more vivid, or maybe Mother Nature just knows how much we need it right now.

The fam framed by fall foliage

It’s this autumn luster that brought us to Brookside Gardens this past weekend — well, coupled with a little photography agenda.  We wanted to get out and enjoy the day before the rain came, someplace relaxing that would showcase the season.  So, I checked the round-up of the best outdoor places for ideas (yep, I use my own blog!), and in one glance I knew where we were going: Brookside Gardens, the beautiful public display garden within Wheaton Regional Park in the Montgomery Parks system.

Owen, circa 2010

Owen, circa 2015

The lead image in that post, the one of oh-so-sweet, four-year-old Owen chilling in the tree, was taken at Brookside almost exactly 10 years ago.  We recreated the photo when we happened to be back there five years later, so when I saw it again and did the math, I realized it was time for the next installment.

Paved paths traverse the gardens…

…as do leave strewn dirt trails

As those photos indicate, we’ve been enjoying Brookside Gardens for a long time.  Along with an occasional fall visit, we usually go for the wonderful annual Wings of Fancy butterfly exhibit and Garden of Lights holiday display, however, both were among the many beloved area events cancelled this year.  But this autumn outing was lovely and serene and perfect for right now.  Plus, we got that shot.

Owen at 14

Of course, we had to capture our best girl, too

Brookside Gardens is located at 1800 Glenallan Avenue in Wheaton, MD.  Right now, the grounds are open to wander and enjoy daily from sunrise to sunset, and the Visitor Center 10am – 2pm.   The sweet Children’s Garden is not accessible during Covid.  Along with the links above, read more about Brookside in this KFDC post.

And get more of a glimpse of the gorgeous fall in the pics below…

 

Goose watching

 

And it was all yellow

 

Japanese maple…wowza

 

View from a gazebo

 

Shimmering woods

 

A serene pond scene

 

This pergola turns into a fab pink walkway during Garden of Lights

 

Masks highly encouraged!

 

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Filed under 2020, All ages, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Fall, Free, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Social Distancing, Weekdays, Weekend

Giveaway: Enter to Win Free Admission to the Merriweather Symphony of Lights!


The Symphony of Lights has been a time-honored Howard County holiday tradition enjoyed by many for over 25 years. Set in historic Merriweather Post Pavilion and made up of more than 300,000 bulbs, this family-oriented spectacular is a display of larger-than-life animated and stationary holiday light creations. With the addition of new lights and a refreshed course, your time through the twinkling, winding path will surely be a night to remember!

The drive through opens November 27 and will be open every night, including all holidays, until January 1. Take part in the “Secret Phrase” contest for a chance to win fun prizes. And this year, enjoy three separate chances to walk through the Symphony of Lights! Festive Families on December 1 5:30-8pm kicks off with an exclusive holiday family photo booth, food trucks, face painting and Santa! On December 9 6-7:30pm, the Symphony of Lights is taken over by dogs during Tail Lights! Owners and their pups can enjoy the holiday lights, get a fun caricature, and take part in our first ever doggie costume contest while munching on cookies and dog treats. Midnight at 7 is our New Year’s Eve celebration from 5-7:30pm with food, activities and fireworks at 7pm — plenty of time to get the kids into bed and enjoy your own New Year’s Eve parties.

Thursdays are Military Nights! Tickets are $10 for active military and veterans, valid with ID at the gate. Regular admission is $20/vehicle. A portion of all proceeds benefit the Howard County General Hospital. (Please note, the Symphony of Lights is not affiliated with the walk through Ice and Fire event happening on the adjoining property at Symphony Woods produced by The Inner Arbor Trust. There is a separate admission charge for each event.)

Make the season bright and include Symphony of Lights among your family’s holiday festivities!

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Giveaway: Two KFDC readers can win a drive-through ticket for admission to the Symphony of Lights. For a chance to win one, simply leave a comment below letting me know your family’s favorite holiday tradition. Get an extra chance to win by entering on the KidFriendly DC Facebook Page, too. This giveaway will run through Wednesday, November 27, 2019, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!


This post is sponsored by Merriweather Symphony of Lights, however, I only promote events, places, and programs that I genuinely believe in and think will be of interest to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, Christmas, DC, Exhibit, Fall, Giveaway, Holidays, Maryland, Seasonal, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Celebrate Spring at the Annual Landon Azalea Festival this Weekend, May 3-5!




This post is sponsored by the Landon School, however, I only promote events, programs, and places that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2019, All ages, Annual, DC, Free, Maryland, Outdoor, Schools, Seasonal, Special Event, Spring, Weekend

Scenes from the Wings of Fancy Exhibit at Brookside Gardens



A visit to the Wings of Fancy exhibit at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, MD, has become an annual tradition for us. The exhibit showcasing nearly 20 species of live butterflies and caterpillars from North America, South America, and Asia continues to delight, fascinate, educate, and challenge (more on that one in a sec) year after year.

It always opens in mid-spring and runs through the summer. Sasha, her friend Ingrid, and I finally made our 2017 trip out there a couple of days ago, and it was lovely as ever! The South Conservatory transformed into a beautiful butterfly garden, with the many varieties flitting about the colorful flowers and plants, feels kind of like a fairytale world (save for the heat, which is about 10 degrees warmer than outside). It’s mesmerizing to watch the many varieties fly around, land delicately on a flower, then flutter about again. There are also chrysalises and cocoons on display, and staff are around to offer insight about the butterflies and exhibit.

We all seemed to have some “goals” for our visit (that challenge I mentioned before): The girls were on a mission to have butterflies land on them (Sasha purposely chose her dress for it!) and would stand or sit still as they waited. I loved snapping photos, with an aim to capture their intricate wing patterns, the blue morph proving to be the most elusive.

Looks like the dress worked!

Of course, we spent time wandering around the rest of the grounds, too — Brookside is fantastic to visit any time of year — but the butterflies are just here through September 17. Admission is $8/adult, $5/child, free for 2 and under for the exhibit, and entry to Brookside Gardens is free. You can read more about Wings of Fancy and Brookside in this post about one of our previous experiences there. And you can get a glimpse of it all in these images… enjoy!

Just a couple of tree nymphs, hanging out chatting about life

A perfect spicebush swallowtail

Such gorgeous wing patterns

Easy to see how they got the “owl” name

ID the butterflies!

The best I could get of the blue morph

See the butterfly in the foreground that looks like a leaf?

We “heart” butterflies

Wandering the Brookside grounds

More creatures to see beyond the butterflies

A queen in her palace

How you doin’?

Toe landing!

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Filed under 2017, All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend