Thanks to Kristen, a Chester County mom and PlaygroundBuzz.com contributor, for writing this article.
As we walked our usual path through Longwood Gardens, my kids and I heard a faint whistle in the distance. Sure enough… the Train Display was up! Longwood’s “Engineer” handed each of my little ones his “ticket” and off we went.
The display has old-time trains carrying everything from circus animals to Hershey’s chocolate. Thomas the Tank Engine with Annie and Clarabel, and Thomas’ buddy, James, are there too! Many kids like to chase the trains around the track. Others stand in amazement, watching the trains go through the tunnels and around the curves so beautiful arranged with the most gorgeous flowers and shrubs. I’m not sure who had more fun: the kids watching the trains or me getting landscaping ideas.
In addition to the trains, Longwood has much to offer children. The Tree House Exhibit, Nature’s Castle, provides three remarkable structures where children can use their imaginations dreaming about what it would be like to live in the outdoors among the beautiful landscape. One of the three featured tree houses, Lookout Loft, is wheelchair accessible and is especially nice if you have a young one in a stroller. When we visit the Canopy Cathedral tree house, we often stop by to feed the fish near the Italian Water Garden. Being regular visitors, my children never get tired of how amazing these tree houses are.
Longwood’s “Bee Amazed” Children’s Garden entertains with its Honeycomb Maze and Buzz Trail. My children love to fly the Buzz Trail path pretending to be bees until they are dizzy. The Children’s Indoor Garden, located in the Conservatory, features gorgeous plants, flowers and herbs as well as multiple water sources. My 4 year old loves the “Dragon Room” where a Drooling Dragon has an open mouth flowing with water and cans of paint brushes. Children can paint on the walls of the room! The Grotto Cave is my 7 year old daughter’s favorite- a spooky corner of the garden with a fog covered pool. When my nephews, ages 2 and 4, visit on hot days, they often wear their bathing suits because they get so wet from the fountains and sprays. Visitors can’t swim, but the children can splash and play in the water, inevitably getting soaked. It is worth packing an extra shirt.
Some other highlights that are family favorites are the banana trees, the cactus in the Silver Garden, the Flower Garden Walk with a rainbow of blooms and Chimes Tower. Whether it is the trains, tree houses, gardens or fountains, you and your children will have fun exploring this beautiful property and discovering your favorites. And, you’ll enjoy a quiet drive home when your kids are napping, exhausted from their great day at Longwood Gardens.
If you go: The Garden Railway runs daily from 9-5PM until November 21, 2010. It will re-open November 25 through January 9, 2011 as part of the Longwood Christmas display.
1001 Longwood Road
Kennett Square, PA 19348
Visit their website at www.longwoodgardens.org for current ticket prices and more information.