Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Callaway Gardens 2013

For our end of First Grade celebration, we decided to head to Callaway Gardens.  Andrew had spent the year learning about flying creatures in science.  We studied birds, bats, dinosaurs, and insects in great detail.  Callaway has two attractions that were the perfect culminating activities to our studies, the butterfly house and the birds of prey show.  We arrived on Saturday morning and drove in past the circus tent,

and the ski pavilion.  Callaway holds lots of special memories for me.  Gigi and Papack spent their honeymoon there (which of course I was not present for) and then for several summers our family of four vacationed there.  We spent the week in a cottage and Meredith and I participated in the day camp run by the FSU students who were part of the circus.  We went each morning to that big tent and then spent the several hours with friends doing fun activities while Daddy skied and Gigi did fun arts and crafts with other moms.  It was a really special thing for me to take my own boys there and have so much fun with them in those same places.

 Our first stop was the butterfly house.

I think in years past there were many more butterflies.  I remember them landing all over people.  This day, it was really difficult to get one to light on you.  Someone suggested that if we sat very still in this area, they might be attracted to us.  I cannot tell you the last time the boys waited that long, that well for something to happen.

They never did land on us while we were sitting there.  But when we got up, we did seem to attract a few.

Then we headed over to the log cabin, which Andrew was thrilled about.  He still loves history and he was so excited when we got out.

It was time for lunch next, so we headed to the Pavilion for some yummy cheeseburgers.  This is the same place Gigi and Papack had their wedding supper.

Then we played a little putt putt.

It was pretty hot by then, so we headed to the car and got some snow cones.

We visited in the new Garden Center for while.  We watched a great movie about the gardens' history and enjoyed the air conditioning.

Then we picked up a scavenger hunt to complete.

Walking over one bridge around the lake, we fed some turtles.

Next up was the Birds of Prey show.  Here the boys all measure their wingspans against some big birds' wingspans.

The show was really good.  We learned a lot and the boys loved seeing the birds swoop by just inches over our heads.

That night we had dinner at the restaurant on the mountain top.

Then we drove back to visit my favorite place, the vegetable garden.

Here's Andrew trying out the sundial.  Since it was so late in the day, it was hard to tell how it worked.

We picked up some fudge from the general store for our dessert and enjoyed it in the garden.

 I don't know what it is about a garden that I love so much.  Whenever we visit a beautiful garden, especially one with vegetables, it always makes me want to come home and recreate in our yard some of the beauty that I see here.  Maybe it's the quiet.  Maybe it's that I feel a connection to my grandparents who loved to garden.  Maybe I remember helping Daddy with his garden when we were little.  Maybe it's because I think of that old hymn that I love so much when I'm in a garden.  Maybe it's because I'm a Southern lady and I'm supposed to grow things in the dirt and wear funny hats (extra points if you can name that movie!).  

Those are probably all part of the reason I love a garden.  But I think the real reason is that He is a gardener.  He chose a garden for the beginning of everything.  And He loved to walk there in the cool of the day too.   A garden was where he spent much of his time in prayer.  A garden was where He first appeared after His work on Earth was done.  That old hymn just says it best.

And He walks with me and He talks with me
And He tells me I am his own.
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever know.

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