Tag Archives: Montgomery County

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

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

Scenes from the Sunflower Bloom at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area



I’m no horticulturalist or anything, but I loves me a beautiful flower bloom. It’s not just the dramatic vistas they create as brilliant bursts of color stretch across landscapes; something about the annual recurrence — the concept of renewal — is at once comforting, uplifting, exciting, and hopeful. (Why, hello, my inner cheeseball.)


This was the first time we went to see the sunflower bloom at McKee-Beshers Wildlife Management Area in Poolesville, MD. I’d actually never heard about it before and have the Montgomery County Tourism Office on social media to thank for the heads-up this year. It was one of their Instagram posts that alerted me to the peak dates, which are right now through next weekend.

So, this bloom is amazing! The thirty acres of tall yellow flowers is such a happy sight, like a big congregation of smiling emoji sunshine faces. It was a crazy hot day when Owen and I went to see it, but I’m so glad we braved the temps. We didn’t stay too long, about 20-30 minutes, but it was enough time to take in the sublime scene. I recommend wearing hats, close-toed shoes, and sunscreen, and bringing along a bottle of water.

I couldn’t find an exact address for McKee-Beshers, but put the location in my phone GPS and followed the route. It led us to a small parking lot just off River Road, and a sign there confirmed we were in the right place. (There’s no admission, just park and head to the fields.) It’s just a few minutes down the road from Homestead Farms, so I recommend planning a visit there, too, to make the most of your time while you’re out that way. We did some blackberry picking and enjoyed a picnic lunch that we brought along. Just make sure you go soon, because the bloom (and blackberries!) won’t be there for much longer.

The first glimpse beyond the trees

There’s some room to walk among the flowers,but be careful!

A shorty among the tallies

The flip side…sunflowers turn slowly throughout the day, so they’re always facing the sun

Matching bumble bee

Stop and smell, though there’s not much of an aroma

Rising high

Sunflower close-up

Still in the bud stage

Go see them…and have your camera ready!


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Filed under 2017, All ages, Annual, DC, Free, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Seasonal, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend

Give Kids a Fun & Educational Summer Encounter with e² Young Engineers

e2camp

Just because kids are out of school for the summer, that doesn’t mean they have to stop learning. And when it’s through activities they love, like LEGO building and experiments, complemented by creative work and outdoor games, well, that just makes it plain ol’ fun.

This is the thinking behind e² Young Engineers summer programs. It’s not just a STEM summer camp — it’s a complete fun and educational encounter! Everyday, campers participate in a variety of enriching activities with sessions centered around one main theme.

Hosted at Cabin John Regional Park in Bethesda, camp takes place in an air-conditioned clubhouse the first half of the day, where kids enjoy a fun, educational experience, like building an electric motor LEGO model. The second part of the day consists of supervised outdoors activities. Each day of camp also includes a ride on the Cabin Ride Miniature Train.

Space is still available in all of these sessions, and you can get early bird discounts if you sign up soon:

Superheroes Camp | June 19-30
Dedicated entirely to children’s favorite superheroes. Sessions, production, and construction will take place around famous superheroes and different types of powers.

Sweet Camp | July 10-21
A literary and culinary experience for children centered around the world of food. The experience will take place while building, creating, and playing in relation to the subject.

Science Camp | July 24 – August 4
Learn the laws and concepts of the world of science, math, and engineering through the combination of a construction challenge and experiments that campers can take home.

Challenge Camp | August 7-18
Challenge the mind through the exercise of finding creative solutions to problems. Then take it outdoors for physical and sports challenges, too.

* * * * *

Visit the e² Young Engineers website for more information. And if you’re ready to enroll your child for a fun and educational summer encounter, go here!

This post is sponsored by e² Young Engineers, however, I only promote programs, places, and services that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under 2017, Camp, Class, DC, Educational, Gradeschoolers, Maryland, Professional Service, Seasonal, Sponsored Post, Summer, Weekdays