30 Jul

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens: Boothbay, Maine

Boothbay, Maine

Your average person gets a little funny about dropping serious coin to look at some pretty flowers. And while you may not be shocked to pay 15 bucks a ticket at Longwood Gardens–it is outside of Philadelphia and has been there for a gazillion years–12 dollar tickets at the new botanical garden in Maine can give you a mild case of whiplash.

Trust me on this one: pay the money for the ticket. They could charge a lot more.
We showed up at the Botanical gardens thinking we would have our picnic lunch and check out the new children’s garden. We were totally unprepared for the magical bit of heaven that they have created on two acres within the larger property. I have never seen a children’s anything–museum, park, zoo–that has such charm and whimsy. When we first walked in, the children immediately started playing on huge whale rock sculptures that squirted water out of their blowholes while all the adults stood there oohing and ahhing over one thing after another. We took the trip with six adults and six kids and I honestly can’t tell you which group had more fun.
The Children’s garden is organized in different zones that were inspired by books written by Maine authors (think Miss Rumphius). There is a maze, a gardening section with water pumps and a gourd growing contest in progress, a chicken house, a pond with fish, frogs, stepping stones, and boat.
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There was a tree house, a story house, and a fairy forest where children could build their own fairy village from sticks and pine cones.
Whatever team designed the children’s garden in Maine should be the only people allowed to design children’s gardens everywhere for all time. They got it perfectly right. In fact, I would appreciate it if they started their next project in New Jersey. Immediately. The Garden State could use a little help these days.
So if you are going to Maine, put this on your must-do list. And if you aren’t going to Maine…nevermind, go to Maine.

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