We are pleased to welcome a very special Guest this week, Ann Goodman of 3D Travel Company! Ann and her husband are veteran homeschoolers who have been making the Disney Parks their home-away-from-home for several years. You can learn more about Ann and submit a FREE quote request at 3D Travel, fan Ann on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter to keep up with her latest adventures and offers.
Epcot is always a beautiful park, but it is wonderful to see the transformation that takes place for the Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival each spring. 2013 marks the 20th year of this festival, and runs from March 6 – May 19. The park is filled with many garden areas which feature a dazzling display of color or showcase a particular theme. The area between Future World and World Showcase is one of my favorites. The entire green space is transformed into a colorful backdrop to the water below, which is filled with floating containers of flowers that drift along with the breeze.
One of the most noticeable features of the festival is the placement of over 100 topiaries throughout the park. The creativity used in combining different floral textures and colors to make the character topiaries is amazing, and it is a lot of fun to discover which characters are planted around the next corner!
In addition to finding their favorite characters in the topiaries, kids will enjoy Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House and the special play areas that are located around the park. This year’s festival features a couple of new play areas: one has a Radiator Springs theme, and the other is a tie-in with the new movie, Oz: The Great and Powerful.
The Festival Center is the place to be if you want to learn more about gardening and design. Daily hands-on seminars are presented by the Disney horticulturists on a variety of topics. On the weekends, you can enjoy tips and seminars presented by your favorite HGTV celebrities. The Festival Center is also the place to find your special Flower and Garden Festival merchandise.
New in 2013, are the Garden Marketplaces located around the World Showcase. These food and drink booths feature menus which focus on fresh fruits and vegetables. Located near the Garden Marketplaces are special garden areas known as Festival Farms, which are made up of the kinds of plants that are used in that area’s Garden Marketplace, showing the progression from the garden to the table.
The Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival also hosts the Flower Power concert series on weekend evenings, with some of the popular artists from the 50’s to the 90’s performing – and there’s no additional cost for the concert! This year’s remaining concert dates include:
3/29 – 3/31 - Nelson
4/5 – 4/7 - The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie
4/12 – 4/14 - Paul Revere & The Raiders
4/19 – 4/21 - Village People
4/26 – 4/28 - The Orchestra, starring Former Members of ELO
5/3 – 5/5 - Tommy Roe
5/10 – 5/12 - Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
5/17 – 5/19 - Starship starring Mickey Thomas
Thank you so much for joining us today, Ann! Sure wish I could be at the Festival right now!
If possible, visit Epcot during the Festival and take advantage of the seminars and showcases. If it’s not possible to get to the Parks right now, perhaps visit a local botanical garden or park in your area (or even a neighbor’s yard if he/she has a green thumb!). Have your children photograph or draw pictures in a field journal of the plants they see. Be sure to note plant names if they’re marked. When you return home, either stop by the library and pick up some gardening books or do some online research to identify the plants they journaled. Consider the following questions about each one:
- Is it an annual or perennial? (What’s the difference?)
- Is it (trees) evergreen or deciduous? (What’s the difference?
- To what climate zones is the plant native?
- Is the plant hardy? Drought tolerant? Succulent? Tropical?
- Can it be grown indoors?
- Does it bloom?
- Does it produce fruit?
There are lots more things you can find out, I’m sure! If you happen across any that wild rabbits won’t eat, please let me know
SCHOOL SUBJECT: Botany
SKILL LEVEL: Elementary, Middle Grades
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