It's always fun when you go somewhere new and are completely blown away by what you find. Before I went to Winterthur, I didn't know too much about it. I knew there was going to be lots of open space for the kids to roam. And, I was excited to see the majestic trees and the fairy tale garden in the Enchanted Woods. But, from the moment we pulled up to Winterthur, there was natural eye candy around every corner.
If you've never hear of Winterthur here are some interesting facts:
- Almost 60 years ago, collector and horticulturist Henry Francis du Pont opened his Wilmington Delaware home, Winterthur (pronounced “winter-tour”), to the public.
- Winterthur is set amidst an almost 1,000 acre preserve of rolling hills, streams, gardens, meadows, and forests. And, there are currently 7,508 different kinds of plants in Winterthur's living collection.
- Du Pont's grand 175-room house, now museum, contains his collection of of nearly 90,000 of American decorative arts from about 1640- 1860. It's considered to be one of the most important collections of Americana in the country.
In the Enchanted Garden, there were fountains to touch, fairy circles, antique sculptures, interactive exhibits, whimsical houses and so much more. These gardens will quickly turn anyone into an explorer. It's very family friendly. The immense old trees provide a vast canopy which keeps the garden shaded on a warm summer day. There are also amazing views of open fields where you can see blue birds flying through the air and watch the clouds go by. And, I heard that when Autumn comes, the changing colors of the leaves will leave you breathless.
A few tips:
1) Plan a Picnic Lunch - FAQ's about Picnicking at Winterthur.
2) If you already have a membership with the American Horticultural Society, you can use your reciprocal membership and get in for FREE. No matter where you live in the U.S. this is something worth checking out.
3) Winterthur is pretty stroller friendly, but if you don't need your stroller, leave it at home.
4) One of the first things you may see is the tram. It's tempting to hop on the tram to get your trip started. However, from my experience, saving the tram for the end of the visit worked extremely well. The kids were worn out from running around the gardens, and, taking a tram ride around the beautiful grounds was a great way to finish off our day.
5) Be careful with children when admiring the reflection pool. It is beautiful. However, kids may be tempted to get too close to the side, and, you don't want anyone going for an accidental swim.
When we got home from our big adventure to I was on the phone telling my Mom all about it. It turns out, this wasn't my first trip to Winterthur at all. I have no recollection of it now, but I visited there several times with my family as a small child. Even if 25 years from now my boys don't remember this day, I know it will forever be a part of the foundation that makes them who they are.
For more information http://www.winterthur.org/
Not near Winterthur? To find botanical gardens, arboreta, and conservatories throughout North America and to learn more about their American Horticulture Society Reciprocal Admissions Program, click here.