Bid winter goodbye at Cleveland Botanical Garden's Big Spring
Posted March 13, 2014 in Articles
Author: Julie Washington
It’s been a long, cold winter. Warm weather is taking its time getting here. The cure? Big Spring at theCleveland Botanical Garden.
An Alice in Wonderland-style, giant-sized world will beckon to kids and adults with lovely flowers and fun activities from Saturday, March 22 to Sunday, April 27, said the garden’s director of communications Tom O’Konowitz.
Last year, Big Spring’s debut attracted about 30,000 visitors over nearly six weeks. That response was strong enough to bring the event back this year, he said.
Everything about Big Spring is, well, big. Visitors first will see a huge wheelbarrow filled with giant garden tools and spring flowers in the botanical garden’s lobby, O’Konowitz said. Forced bulbs will burst from giant planters next to tall fabric flowers.
Outside, visitors will see 20,000 tulip bulbs bursting in reds, oranges and bright yellows. “We wait and watch for them to pop up,” he said. Gardeners can learn about bulbs during a daily bulb tour at 1 p.m.
Because spring is a capricious lady, Big Spring includes indoor and outdoor activities.
Outdoors, the Hershey Children’s Garden opens early for the season on Saturday, March 22, with opportunities to plant seeds, make mud pies and climb into a treehouse. “It’s all about learning about plants and wildlife,” O’Konowitz said.
Indoors, pint-sized thespians dress up like insects at the Toadstool Theatre and put on impromptu shows to the delight of their families. Kids put on silly hats and sit down to the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the indoor secret garden. Big Spring supplies the cups and saucers; kids provide the imaginary treats.
Get eye-to-eye with frogs at the Discovery Log, a crawl-through tunnel with glass globes holding many types of amphibians, or run through an indoor hedge maze called the Ladybug Labyrinth. The maze and Discovery Log are indoor activities.
There will be butterfly releases at 2 p.m. daily in the Eleanor Armstrong Smith Glasshouse.
The indoor Mealworm Grand Prix invites kids to pick a mealworm and cheer it on as it competes on a racecourse. “Sometimes (the mealworms) go backwards; sometimes they go forwards,” O’Konowitz said. “Sometimes they don’t go, they sit.”
Join the botanical garden’s mascot, the honeybee Polly, as she leads a parade daily at 12:30 p.m., and a second parade at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. The tour starts indoors and goes outside in mild weather.
Big Spring is “the ideal cure for cabin fever,” O’Konowitz said.