Tucked in between the well-manicured lawns and heirloom blooms of the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens is a collection of features that are perfect for family playtime among the plants.  With cooler weather on the horizon, it’s the perfect time to pack a picnic and head out to explore these ‘not-to-miss’  kid pleasers.

Texas Native Forest Boardwalk

Texas Native Forest Boardwalk -This outdoor classroom boasts 13 educational stations designed to keep bodies in motion and brains in gear. A walk along the 1000 foot elevated boardwalk is like a stroll through the treetops, where kids can explore the native plants and animals with hands-on activities. Interactive boards challenge kids to match the chirps of birds, and whisper tubes allow pairs of kids to make some noise of their own. At the end of the boardwalk, a nature themed playground with balanced beams made of logs, and faux hollow trees invites active play. Mixed among the playground elements, kids will find learning stations that invite them to explore the forest habitats and learn about plants. You might even find out if trees poop! (Yes, you read that correctly.)

Fragrance Garden - This intimate pocket garden with gentle fountain and ivy covered walls is a delight for all the senses, but especially the nose. Every plant contained within the raised beds offers a unique scent when the leaves are gently rubbed between the fingers. It is a fun way to explore the sense of smell, and with the small size of the garden (and only one exit) it’s a great place to contain little runners to give mom and dad a chance to rest for a minute.

Japanese Gardens - The serene beauty of the 7 acre Japanese Gardens is a favorite for parents, but the kids love it for the network of ponds and waterways and the giant Imperial Carp (koi) that call the waters home. A fistful of fish food from one of the dispensers will attract dozens of fish to the edge of the water where they will beg for a bite with their giant gaping mouths. The floating stones near the Moon Bridge are another fun attraction for kids. Sure-footed and brave visitors will want to test their balance on the stepping stones by hopping from one to the next to cross the waterway with the koi following along as a friendly guide.

Conservatory - Have you ever wondered what the back of waterfall looks like? You can actually sit behind a waterfall among the giant tropical plants of the 10,000 square foot conservatory and watch the fish in the tank below.  Don’t miss the Traveler’s Tree from Madagascar.  It’s as big as the building itself!