Usually on a Thursday morning I take Sam to our New Parent’s Group in Decatur, however this morning we had other plans, for today was the day of my long planned visit to the Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
There’s an exhibition of large colourful outdoor sculptures by Niki de St Phall in the gardens at the moment and several of us thought that our babies might enjoy and be stimulated by a visit. Checking the website I then discovered that there was an organised Stroller Strut scheduled for today and so suggested that we meet at the gardens instead of the medical centre for this week. Oh, what a great idea that was, we had such a fantastic time there this morning.
Traffic getting to the gardens was atrocious and somebody trying to top themselves by attempting to jump off a bridge on I85 and thus closing the interstate thwarted our initial plans for the mums to meet up in the car park beforehand. I was disappointed as I pulled into the driveway as despite leaving well in advance we were quite late for the scheduled start and rather frazzled. I’d had visions of a large group of parents and babies meeting at the Great Lawn and being guided around en masse, and thus assumed that we would be too late to join the strut. With our little group of five mums and babies finally assembled and admission paid we entered the gardens expecting to be out of luck. Instead we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by a cheery garden volunteer who explained that struts were going on all morning and that they were guiding small groups of parents around in manageable handfuls. Yay!
The strut was fabulous. The weather was glorious and our guide led us on a little tour of the gardens, slightly amended to account for our babies young age. She started off by taking us to a large bush which was covered in small furry caterpillars. Plucking one from the leaves she carefully showed each baby and let them look and gently feel the little wriggly creature.
We then made our way to a station where another guide was waiting with plants for the babies to touch. She had an armful of different leaves and stalks for them to experience different textures.
Next we were taken to the scent station where eucalyptus and lemon grass were among the leafy smells to be explored. Here Sam really had his senses shocked as he was handed the lemon grass. He went to put it in his mouth but caught a whiff before he got that far. His eyes opened wide in surprise and he really enjoyed giving the herb a good sniff.
Onwards we went to the rose garden for more olfactory stimulation, followed by a story among the blooms. Unfortunately the story teller was another wet lady who did an abysmal job at reading The Very hungry Caterpillar. She was unenthusiastic and didn’t even really read the story as she kept just skipping chunks. It’s not like it’s a big book! We’re beginning to wonder why the most useless and clueless people always seem to be given the job of reading to small children. This lady just seemed really uncomfortable, and got even more so when Sam and some of the other babies needed to feed and we settled down with them at our breasts in front of her.
We ignored her and as there was no other group obviously ready to come over for storytime we took the opportunity to give the babies some tummy time on some proper grass that was green and lush and with no weeds.
Back into the strollers we then went exploring on our own and investigated the goldfish pond looking for the bullfrogs we’d been told should be out sunning themselves. They were obviously hiding from us though as not a real frog was to be found.
It was such a lovely day we then lazily wandered over to explore the Children’s Garden and meandered around looking at some of the sculptures. There were several large mosaic covered totem poles sprouting up amongst the foliage which caught Sam’s attention. He especially liked the shiny mirror tiles that glinted in the sun.
We all agreed that we’d had a wonderful morning exploring some of the sights and smells of the Botanical Gardens and really appreciated the extra insights and experiences the Stroller Strut afforded us. A very tired and content froggy went straight to sleep in his cot when we made it home.