Monday, October 3, 2011

Fort Wayne's Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory

Just as I was surprised by the quality experience we had at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo, I was equally blown away by the amazing Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory just a few minutes down the road in downtown Fort Wayne. The Conservatory is essentially an indoor/outdoor botanical garden. Such a great idea in the temperamental climate of northern Indiana, ensuring it is enjoyed year-round. (In fact, I think it would make a great winter outing, as the vibrant plantlife would surely cure even the worst winter blues!)

Visiting the Botanical Conservatory
The facility itself is gorgeous. Beautifully cared for, absolutely spotless. The staff that greeted us was extremely friendly, gave us an overall sense of how to experience the Conservatory, and even pointed out what would be of greatest interest to The Arrow. That type of service is so helpful to a family visiting an attraction for the first time.

Types of Plants
I really liked the variety that the Conservatory provided. Unlike many botanical gardens which focus on a particular genre of plantlife or climate, here you'll find everything from native Indiana flowers and trees, to varieties found in the rain forest, to desert dwellers. In the photo below, you see The Arrow welcoming us into the Flower Power Summer of Love exhibit.

Later, The Arrow led us through the Desert Gardens. (You'll sense a trend here... he was always so excited to see what was coming next that he spent the entire visit about 20 steps ahead of us.)

Focus on Kids
Another feature that makes the Botanical Conservatory such a great spot for families is the effort made to interest kids. There were several educational play areas throughout our walk through the Conservatory, where we could stop and let The Arrow explore at his level.

He was taken with the garden, where he could plant some veggies of his own.

In keeping with the farm-to-table trend that's all the rage these days, he could later pay for his produce at the grocery story.

There's also a talking tree and a giant tunnel where kids can pretend to be worms. They've set up these play areas in such a way that it's not intrusive to the other Conservatory patrons, but yet it also enhances the visit experience for young kids.

This post is a part of Mondays are for Dreaming at The Mother of All Trips. My husband teases me relentlessly about my love of botanical gardens (he's convinced I try to visit one in each place we travel to). Guilty as charged. What are some of your favorites? This one in Fort Wayne is definitely on my list (as is the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix), but I'd love to daydream about others!

I'll be posting more photos from our visit to Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory on Friday, as part of Photo Friday at Delicious Baby, so be sure to check back.

If You Visit:
Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory
1100 South Calhoun Street, Fort Wayne
Hours are listed here. Note: Closed Mondays.
Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for kids 3-17.
Insider Tip: While the Conservatory is accessible and strollers are allowed, this was definitely a place where The Arrow preferred to walk. We wished we had left the stroller in the car.

Disclosure: My family's admission to the Botanical Conservatory was provided by Visit Fort Wayne. I was under no obligation to write about our time there, and all opinions are my own.

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  1. Oh I wish I had this yesterday! We spent last night in downtown Fort Wayne for a super quick trip and I hopped on your blog to see if you discussed anything other than the zoo. We stayed one block from the conservatory and I wish I had stopped in. Next time!

  2. What an independent little explorer! I like the Royal Botanical Gardens (about 45 minutes or so from Toronto) - have been on several school field trips there. Also like the Niagara Parks Butterfly Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Niagara Falls. If you ever make it this side of the border you will have to check them out.

  3. I love botanical gardens! This is one I haven't made it to yet, so I'll add it to the list. Among my favorites are the Huntington in San Marino, CA and Longwood Gardens in Kennett Square PA.

    Love the cute photos!

  4. Oh, I haven't been to the Fort Wayne Zoo since I was a child! I didn't even know they had these other awesome attractions... hmmm.. day trip!