A Visit to Overland Park Arboretum

Although I still sometimes forget – I am learning to take one of our two cameras with me everywhere I go these days. And of course, as I headed off the morning of our visit to the Arboretum, I made sure to have a camera in hand.

The Overland Park Arboretum, while not as large as Powell Gardens, is almost as diverse. And it has free admission, which a super-big win for me. I realized, to my dismay, that it has been well over a year since my last visit. (I try to go at least twice a year, if only because things change so quickly)

My focus on getting Emily’s Passport to Adventure done (as part of her homeschool) helped propel me there last week and wow, it was beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever been in the fall – the leaves were changing, but the flowers were still in full bloom. It was beautiful!

I love to share these places with my girls – to taste a bit of nature, along with a large helping of cultivation and planning, and to enjoy the different sections of the Arboretum.

Emily was enthralled. She doesn’t remember visiting for Mother’s Day last year, but she immediately honed in on the large pond they have, pointing at the turtle docks and talking excitedly to one of the docents…

She posed for a shot in front of a small shed/house…

And then busied herself picking up these enormous fallen leaves…

Overland Park Aboretum boasts eight different ecosystems within its borders. It took us a bit of looking and searching to find out that answer for the Passport to Adventure book. Some of the sites we have been to take a look at how young Emily is and want to just stamp the book. I encourage her (and them) to learn the answer to the question that is posted before getting her book stamped.

It looks as if winter prep is in full swing, all of the waterfalls and ‘creeks’ have been turned off. Emily was a bit disappointed in that…

This little ‘greenhouse’ marks the entrance to a grass maze and is on the eastern end of the Children’s Garden. In the distance you can see the caboose. While we were there, I watched them working on the upcoming new expansion, the Train Garden…

Emily tried her best to convince me to sit in the chairs. Unfortunately, my butt is a tad too big for these seats. I feared that I would get stuck and require assistance in getting back up again!

The hedge apples came in handy a few minutes later when Emily discovered a play area…

This happily occupied her for quite a while…

Later, we played Billy Goat Gruff at the bridge…

Homeschooling is not all about worksheets and lessons. It’s about…

  • Time with your children
  • Different environments
  • Different learning and playing opportunities
  • Giving them a chance to explore nature and new paths

Later, as we headed back, I asked Emily to hold her leaf up high…

As our outings continue, we will explore the minutiae that surrounds us – the tiny insects that go about their errands, the change of the seasons, the different parts of the plants that grow here in the Arboretum and elsewhere, and much, much more.

At this point, I don’t try to stuff her head with knowledge. I would far prefer that she choose to do that herself. Instead, I give her new and different surroundings and experiences, and provide my presence – her passion for learning new things, her curiosity, all of it, will light itself.

Listen to your children’s questions. Allow them to take you on a journey of discovery. Who knows what you both will learn?

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