Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Kids' trip to Phipps Conservatory

Kids at Phipps Conservatory
Kids at Phipps Conservatory
We had a really fun trip to Phipps Conservatory with the kids last week. I called my friend and her three little ones to see if they would like to come play for the day with us, and they agreed. This was the first time we had been at Phipps together since the Spring Show years ago. Another friend was kind enough to come along to help us out.

Phipps has added on to their outdoor children's garden this year, making it easier for the kids to run and get their hands into real play. They were all excited to get to pot their own herb (yeah for more basil!), play with the log pieces and get wet, wet, wet! They were quite drippy by the end of the day. Bringing a change of clothing is advisable. And bringing it in with you makes it even easier because there are changing bathrooms outside by the kids garden.


Our posse running inside for the fun.
Our posse running inside for the fun.
Melissa, Bereket and Emily walking through the Serpentine Room that has been transformed this summer with arches of passion flowers.
Melissa, Bereket and Emily walking through the Serpentine Room that has been transformed this summer with arches of passion flowers.
Hunting for butterflies in "Butterfly Forest." This display is held every summer in the Oven Room, which was my childhood favorite because of the sound-deadening tunnel in it.
Hunting for butterflies in "Butterfly Forest." This display is held every summer in the Oven Room, which was my childhood favorite because of the sound-deadening tunnel in it.
I have forgotten the name of this pretty butterfly, but I will not when I see it again!
I have forgotten the name of this pretty butterfly, but I will not when I see it again!
Boys being boys in the Tree Fern Room
Boys being boys in the Tree Fern Room
Lunch in the outdoor garden, which is open free of charge most days but is often closed for weddings on the weekends.
Lunch in the outdoor garden, which is open free of charge most days but is often closed for weddings on the weekends.
The kids were entranced by the seedpods on these blackberry lilies (Belamcanda chinensis). This was quite a large stand of them! I proclaimed that they really were not blackberries, though they looked at me suspiciously. The shiny black seeds come off separately, unlike berries, and are slightly poisonous.
The kids were entranced by the seedpods on these blackberry lilies (Belamcanda chinensis). This was quite a large stand of them! I proclaimed that they really were not blackberries, though they looked at me suspiciously. The shiny black seeds come off separately, unlike berries, and are slightly poisonous.
The kids happen to find a sprinkler in the outdoor garden over the sidewalk a bit. Such delinquent fun!
The kids happen to find a sprinkler in the outdoor garden over the sidewalk a bit... oh the smiles!
The Children's Garden is located outside between two wings of the conservatory. You can explore it in all season, but the summer the most exciting because the water is turned on. Logan loves to push the large button to make the duck spray water in this lily pond. The path goes back to an over-sized climbing stump, a maze and a little house.
The Children's Garden is located outside between two wings of the conservatory. You can explore it in all season, but the summer the most exciting because the water is turned on. Logan loves to push the large button to make the duck spray water in this lily pond. The path goes back to an over-sized climbing stump, a maze and a little house.
Grace stepping on the bubbling fountain in the middle of a decorative metal grate. My kids love to play with this small, simple water feature for hours! I think it would be a fun design to include in a home garden.
Grace stepping on the bubbling fountain in the middle of a decorative metal grate. My kids love to play with this small, simple water feature for hours! I think it would be a fun design to include in a home garden.
Buzzing bee topiary in the children's borders, which are quite nice in all seasons.
Buzzing bee topiary in the children's borders, which are quite nice in all seasons.
Now she is in the misty door frame at Phipps, with her brother happily pushing the button for her!
Now she is in the misty door frame at Phipps, with her brother happily pushing the button for her!
The newest section of the Children's Garden at Phipps: the Nature Play Garden. It is based largely on the idea of "loose parts play", meaning that the kids are provided with wooden blocks, gravel, bamboo poles, burlap, etc. so that they can exercise their imaginations. Loose parts play happens a lot at our house... sometimes even when I wish it wouldn't :)
The newest section of the Children's Garden at Phipps: the Nature Play Garden. It is based largely on the idea of "loose parts play", meaning that the kids are provided with wooden blocks, gravel, bamboo poles, burlap, etc. so that they can exercise their imaginations. Loose parts play happens a lot at our house... sometimes even when I wish it wouldn't :)
I love their use of slate signs with chalk to label the areas... something that might even be fun at home to use in playtime as a chalk board. Our kids were having a blast just digging in the gravel.
I love their use of slate signs with chalk to label the areas... something that might even be fun at home to use in playtime as a chalk board. Our kids were having a blast just digging in the gravel.
Logan, the builder, hard at work by the playhouse.
Logan, the builder, hard at work by the playhouse.
Woven grass hats? Maybe for a couple of sillies!
Woven grass hats? Maybe for a couple of sillies!
These stumps were so nicely sanded that there was not a splinter to be found. Behind the stump area is swirling stone labyrinth.
These stumps were so nicely sanded that there was not a splinter to be found. Behind the stump area is swirling stone labyrinth.
These large dahlias were on their lollypop sticks beside the kids garden.
These large dahlias were on their lollypop sticks beside the kids garden.
Also nearby was this fuzzy caterpillar, which is made from alternating green and golden arbor vitae balls.
Also nearby was this fuzzy caterpillar, which is made from alternating green and golden arbor vitae balls.
A nice play outing for all kids in the Pittsburgh area!
A nice play outing for all kids in the Pittsburgh area!
See other articles about Phipps Conservatory on Wife, Mother, Gardener.

13 comments:

  1. What an awesome awesome place!!! I like how cozy it feels. A great place for little hands to learn and create!

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  2. What a fun day! And how happy and adorable they look :)

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  3. You all obviously had a wonderful time together, what a super place to visit, knowing that the children will be able to play safely while you are there.

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  4. Just so great that the children are made to feel so welcome and can be involved. You're lucky to have it near home. Christina

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  5. Looks like a great outing. Reminds me of taking my kids to the Chicago Botanic Garden or Brookfield Zoo when my kids were small. Of course, they don't always focus on the same things the adults do. For years their favorite activity at the CBG was to throw gravel into the lagoon, something they found endlessly fascinating, at least for a couple of years.

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  6. Such a delightful outing made special through the eyes of the little ones. Julie, your beautiful children are growing fast. I'm glad you are making the most of these fleeting years. P. x

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  7. your children are growing well!
    These are beautiful souvenris for them.
    I love the photo of the little girl playing with water

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  8. What a wonderful day you spent with kids! All children love to play with water, it's a nice photo of Grace under the fountain.

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  9. I love the pink dahlias because they are very pretty.
    Love, Grace

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  10. All the kids look like they are having so much fun. This is a great resource for your family.

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  11. What a great place, the kids obviously had a wonderful time. I love the caterpillar.

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  12. Julie what a wonderful, magical place for children, it's so nice to see signs encouraging curiosity rather than the so often seen 'keep off' signs, you all must have had a wonderful time and I expect the children slept well after all that running around, Frances

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  13. This is such a wonderful post! All kids need to enjoy such outdoor fun. Thank you...and great photos!

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