What a difference a year can make.
We headed out to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden “Holidays at the Garden” display with all of the usual emotions that accompany our annual family Christmas card photo shoot. On the one hand, visions of picture-perfect children dancing through my head…on the other, the possibility of a toddler meltdown like last year instead.
DSBG is terrific any time of the year. But it’s hard to think of a more spectacular setting to doll the kids up and yell at them to keep smiling through their chattering teeth than THIS time of year.
Last year we took advantage of the “Santa’s Workshop” event. It was a lot of fun, but there were also a lot of people and a lot of activities, which can be overwhelming for the little guys (and parents). What an awesome change of pace to have the gardens nearly to ourselves during such a busy time of year. I can only wonder if the space and solitude were secret ingredients to our good time.
We arrived around 4:30 on Sunday afternoon to scope out a good spot while the sun was gearing up to settle in for the night. At the stroke of 5:00, the lights magically clicked on, giving us about 30 minutes of late-afternoon/dusky light to snap away. And, for one miraculous afternoon, the kids were actually into playing the part. The fairy-like setting certainly helped as we found new angles around every corner, much to their delight.
My older two enjoyed getting our nearly 3-year old to laugh, cracking us all up. And, poof, before we knew it, it was too dark to take another picture. Which signaled the time to head into the orchid conservatory to warm up. And squeeze in a few more shots.
After all of our hard work running around, we felt we earned a fabulous hot chocolate (not too hot…not too cold…topped with whipped cream) and enjoy the choo-choo. The afternoon was topped off with a “just right” craft on theme with the natural surroundings. Picture perfect.
Daniel Stow Botanical Gardens “Holidays at the Garden” display runs through December 31. Special events include Santa’s Workshop and a Holiday Tea. Spots fill up fast and reservations are strongly suggested. Garden admission ranges from $6 for children 4-12 to $12 for adults. For event dates, availability and reservations, visit http://www.dsbg.org/.