What’s New at Garden in the Woods
May 1, 2013

May is the perfect time to visit Garden in the Woods, the New England Wild Flower Society’s botanic garden in Framingham. Flowers are just bursting into bloom at the height of spring. The paths and trails here, which can seem magical to kids, are always a delight to wander and now there’s one more reason to visit.

On May 10, in conjunction with the 5th annual National Public Gardens Day, the garden will celebrate the grand opening of its new family activity area, which features a trellis, willow hut, and rock play area. 

“We are very excited to celebrate National Public Gardens Day,” said Debbi Edelstein, the executive director of the New England Wild Flower Society. “This year we’re delighted to focus on the next generation, as families can enjoy the wonders of the garden and be the first to explore the family activity area.”

The garden has always been a family-friendly spot, and the activity area will add to the attractions. Other places to check out include Curtis Path, which is about 1 mile long, and Lily Pond, which is near the path and is a magnet for kids. The pond is shallow and has little floating islands with tons of frogs, turtles, and dragonflies in lots of bright colors, all surrounded by wildflowers.

Make sure to pick up a scavenger hunt at the garden center when you arrive. Two versions of the hunt are available: one for younger kids, one for older. Special family programs, such as “Fairies in the Garden” and “What’s Alive in the Pond,” encourage children and parents alike to let their imaginations and curiosity run wild.

Informal guided tours are also a fun way to investigate the garden. They are free with admission and run Tuesdays through Fridays at 10 a.m. and on weekends at 2 p.m. Additional tours are offered at 10 a.m. on holiday Mondays when the Garden is open.

So, You Think You Know Bugs?
Without a doubt, you’ll encounter some small creatures on your ramblings at the garden. The New England Wild Flower Society has offered up a “bug vocabulary list” with some terms to talk about “the little things that rule the world” with your kids. Why not quiz them (and maybe test yourself) before you visit?

Abdomen - the third section of an insect’s body that is most visible.
Adaptation - the ability of a living organism to change to fit into its habitat.
Antennae - feelers located at the top of insect’s head, used to detect odors, tastes, touch, heat, moisture, and wind currents.
Camouflage - the ability to blend in with the surroundings.
Carnivore - an animal that eats meat.
Exoskeleton - the outer covering of the body of an insect, which protects and regulates the exchange of water and gases.
Food chain - shows the flow of energy through an ecosystem. Example: sun’s energy à sunflower à caterpillar à bird à hawk
Food web - a network of connecting food chains.
Habitat - a home of a plant or animal, where it can find food, water, shelter and space to move around.
Herbivore - an animal that eats plants only.
Insect - small animal with three body parts and six legs.
Nymph - young insect that resembles adult form, without wings.
Pollinator - an animal that carries pollen from one flower to another of the same kind.
Predator - an animal that eats other animals.
Prey - an animal that is eaten by other animals.
Thorax - the mid-section of an insect where the wings and legs attach.
Warning colors - a pattern of bright colors intended to help other animals avoid a creature because it is poisonous or venomous.

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