Tag Archives: Brookside Gardens

Giveaway! Brighten Up the Holidays at Brookside’s Garden of Lights

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Dazzling light shows are a staple of the holiday season, and one of my very favorites in the area is Brookside Gardens’ walk-through exhibit, Garden of Lights. The gardens are transformed into a magical winter wonderland illuminated by more than one million twinkling colorful lights handwoven into original works depicting animals, flowers, and other natural elements. It will all be on view for visitors every night from November 25 through January 1 (with the exceptions of December 24 and 25). And I have two admission passes (admission is per car/van) to give away to a couple of lucky KFDC readers.

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Stroll from garden to garden to enjoy long-time favorite displays, including Nessie the Serpent, flying geese, and butterflies. The gardens’ trees and hardscapes such as the Children’s Garden Treehouse and Wedding Gazebo are bedecked in a rainbow of colorful glimmering lights. It is a light display unlike any other. (Get a glimpse of it all in this post about one of our visits there.)

Inside the Conservatory, enjoy the sights and sounds of model trains as they wind their way through seasonal greenery and miniature reproductions of local landmarks such as the RedDoor Store in Sandy Spring, the Kensington MARC railway station, Glen Echo Park complete with Bumper Car Pavilion and 1921 Dentzel Carousel, and even Brookside Gardens’ Conservatories.

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A new fire pit on the South Terrace is the latest addition to Garden of Lights, where refreshments — think S’mores kits and hot cocoa — will be available for purchase. And nightly musical performances take place inside the Visitors Center.

Garden of Lights is located in Brookside Gardens at 1800 Glenallan Avenue in Wheaton, MD. It runs November 25, 2016 – January 1, 2017 (closed December 24 & 25). Hours are 5:30-9:30pm Sunday – Thursday, and 5:30-10:30pm Friday & Saturday. Admission is $25 per car/van Sunday – Thursday, and $30 per car/van Friday & Saturday.

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Giveaway: For a chance to win one of the two admission passes to Brookside’s Garden of Lights, simply leave a comment below or enter through the KFDC Facebook page or on Instagram. The passes can be used on any date the exhibit is open. This giveaway will run through November 23, 2016, then a winner will be drawn at random and notified shortly thereafter. Good luck!

This post is sponsored by Montgomery Parks, however, I only promote events, places, and programs that I genuinely believe in and think will appeal to KFDC readers.


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Filed under All ages, Annual, Art, Christmas, Exhibit, Giveaway, Holidays, Maryland, Outdoor, Seasonal, Sponsored Post, Trains, Weekdays, Weekend, Winter

Where to Play on the Weekdays: October 15-18

Taking in the autumn scenery at Brookside Gardens

Taking in the autumn scenery at Brookside Gardens



Tuesday – Visit the digs of first POTUS George Washington at Mount Vernon. Special tours are available throughout the day, or you can roam the grounds on your own. The estate and gardens are open daily 9am – 5pm. Admission is $17/adult, $8/ages 6-11, free for children 5 and under.

Wednesday – Get a nature fix, indoors and out, at Long Branch Nature Center. Peek inside terrariums for a close look at snakes, turtles, frogs, and toads, and see fish swim in a small indoor pond. If weather permits, continue your viewing outdoors at the larger pond and hike the nearby trails. Hours are 10am – 5pm (Tuesday – Saturday, 1-5pm Sunday), and admission is free.

Thursday – Wander around the beautiful grounds, play in the newly renovated Children’s Garden, and enjoy the start of fall foliage at Brookside Gardens in Wheaton, Md. The park is open sunrise to sunset, the Visitor Center 9am – 5pm. The conservatories are closed right now as they get ready for new exhibits. Admission is free.

Friday – Catch a performance of From Here to There at the Atlas Performing Arts Center. The show for the youngest theatre-goers is all about the joy of building bridges. (And knocking them down, too!) A free-play session at the end of the performance invites the children to explore the show’s props. Showtime is 10am .Tickets are $8. (If you can’t make it Friday, see it another day during its October 16-21 run.)

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Filed under All ages, Animals, DC, Fall, Free, Live Entertainment, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Theatre, Virginia, Weekdays

Plenty to Fancy at Brookside Gardens

Those are some pretty fancy wings

 

Butterflies are a huge part of Sasha’s girly-girl repertoire. Right up there with princesses, Hello Kitty, unicorns, and pink.  She squeals with earnest delight at the sight of anything pretty that flits delicately about, some of her favorite clothes are her “butterfly shirts,” and we’re getting ready to add decals of the dainty insects to her bedroom walls.

Suffice it to say, we have been looking forward to the “Wings of Fancy” exhibit at Brookside Gardens for awhile now. We would have visited earlier this summer had I not been waiting for Owen’s schedule to open up, so he could join us. Because even though a garden full of butterflies is the stuff Sasha’s fanciful dreams are made of, it’s also an enthralling sight for a nature lover like my boy. The timing actually worked out quite well, because Certifikid just debuted a deal for the exhibit, so we saved a few bucks on our outing, too.

Getting started in the Caterpillar Room

Getting started in the Caterpillar Room

We finally headed over to Brookside and the butterflies this afternoon and it was truly worth the wait.  Our visit started with an intro in the Caterpillar Room, where a staff member pointed out a few real caterpillars on plants, then showed us pictures of the butterflies they would become. From there, we entered the conservatory, where the first thing out of Sasha’s mouth was that squeal: “Look, butterflies!” Indeed.

One of many pretty sights

One of many pretty sights

Eye to eye with a butterfly

Eye to eye with a butterfly

Wingin' it

Wingin’ it

Nearly 20 species of butterflies from North America, Central America, and Asia fluttered around us and the colorful flowers and plants throughout the greenhouse. We walked around every inch of it, trying to spot a species we hadn’t seen yet, watching them reveal different patterns as they opened their wings, and just staring in amazement at the sheer number of them.

Butterfly headstand?

Butterfly headstand?

Butterfly makes landing

Butterfly makes landing

Sasha liked looking for her favorite “pink and yellow” butterfly, while Owen kept hoping one would land on him. We stopped by a station where they could hold specimens that were no longer alive (staff told us they’re sterilized) and  examine them through magnifying glasses. There are also cases containing cocoons, and when those butterflies hatch they’ll be released into the garden; we learned that a butterfly life is about two weeks long, so there is constant “turnover.”

Hands on in the garden

Hands on in the garden

A really close look

A really close look

Observing future butterflies

Observing future butterflies

It’s pretty hot inside the exhibit, they say about 10 degrees warmer than the outside temperature. This eventually took its toll, and we made our way out after about 30 minutes.  But that wasn’t the end of our Brookside visit.  We wandered the lovely grounds and, of course, had to stop by the Children’s Garden, where the kids played in the treehouse and hollowed out tree trunk/gnome hut.

The Children's Garden

The Children’s Garden

And we can’t go to Brookside without stopping by the turtle pond. The geese were hanging out, and they must be so used to people they let the kids get pretty close.

Strolling around the turtle pond

Strolling around the turtle pond

Who's in for Duck Duck Goose?

Who’s in for Duck Duck Goose?

From the gazebo over the pond, we watched the turtles and fish swim below, spotting all three snapping turtles (a small, medium, and large one) and many other kinds.

Too busy looking at turtles to notice the pretty view

Too busy looking at turtles to notice the pretty view

 

A lovely afternoon, to say the least. We left feeling  all aflutter. 🙂

Brookside Gardens is located at 1800 Glenallan Avenue in Wheaton, Md. Grounds are open daily from sunset to sundown. The Visitor Center is open from 9am -5pm, the conservatories from 10am – 5pm. Admission is free.

Wings of Fancy” is running through September 16. Hours are 10am – 4pm, but be sure to make sure it’s open before you go, as it has closed early on very hot days. Admission is $6/adults, $4/ages 3-12, free for 2 and under. Certifikid currently has a deal for weekday admission for one adult and one child for $6.

 

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Filed under All ages, Animals, Annual, DC, Educational, Exhibit, Maryland, Nature, Outdoor, Park, Seasonal, Summer, Weekdays, Weekend