I had some reservations about visiting the Camden Children’s Garden as it received some mixed reviews on various websites. I decided to take a chance on it anyway because we were spending the day at the Adventure Aquarium adjacent to the garden. If the children’s garden turned out to be a disappointment, we could just go back to the aquarium.
After spending an hour walking through the shark exhibits, we made our way to the outdoor penguin exhibit and entered the garden from there. The aquarium had been crowded and noisy. The garden was nearly empty and peacefully quiet. The exhibit rooms in the aquarium were dark, but the sun was shining brightly in the garden. The children and I appreciated this change of pace as all of us tend to get overwhelmed in noisy places.
The kids enjoyed the playful themes of the garden. Alice in Wonderland and the Secret Garden were fun to walk through. But, surprisingly, they enjoyed the playground-like features of the garden the most. Playing hopscotch and tic tac toe on the walkways were big hits as we the giant sprinklers.
It cost $2 to ride the carousel. I almost said no, but realized my kids will outgrow merry-go-rounds soon. Four dollars is a small price to pay to watch your children come around the bend over and over again and smile and wave like they haven’t seen you in ages.
Leah loves butterflies as much as I do. In preparation for our trip to the garden, she sprayed us both with perfume. She saw that technique for attracting butterflies in a Fancy Nancy book and hoped it would work for us.
The butterfly house at the aquarium was small and not teeming with butterflies like others we have visited. But, we saw swallowtails, painted ladies, and clouded sulphurs. The kids enjoyed searching for them, but I would have preferred to see more fluttering about.
We spent a delightful hour in the Camden Children’s Garden and took a short path along the waterfront to the aquarium. The children enjoyed our time there, so New Experience #33 was a success. I doubt I’d go to Camden just to visit the children’s garden, but it was a great side trip from the aquarium. When looking at the garden itself, I got the sense that this place had fallen from its prime. There were weeds in the flower beds, some straggly plants, and sadly, two of their three rides were out of order. I hope it returns to its glory one day. The mere presence of a children’s garden in one of America’s most dangerous cities shows that people can find and appreciate beauty anywhere. I know we did.
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