Thursday, December 25, 2014

Where's Santa?

My son was volunteering at the "Where's Santa?" event held at Wellfield Botanic Gardens in early December. I stayed with our two younger boys to go find Santa and get some outdoor time. It was nice to explore the gardens after dark!

We were given a set of clues and needed to find various stations throughout the gardens. There were plenty of volunteers throughout the area to help with the activities. We took a nice stroll all around the loop! Lights were on at the stops. Some stations included riddles or activities we had to do, such as sharing three water conservation tips. I thought this was a nice touch to include the natural elements with the puzzle. 

We explored the Adventure Path in the dark and my son was so happy to see the huge butterfly on the heart. I think he even tried giving it a hug!

We also put together a puzzle and deciphered a code! Some of the statues were even dressed up for Christmas! 

At the end of our journey, we found Santa Claus, one of the main volunteers from Santa's Pantry. Our older kids have enjoyed going to their Pay It Forward 4-H club and participating in various service projects around the area. It's inspiring to see all they accomplish through their efforts to help the community. 

After seeing Santa, the kids decorated cookies and drank hot chocolate around a campfire. They also made fake snow and peanut butter bird feeders. Another station had recycled card activities. It was nice to have these additional activities with the entrance fee. Each station had plenty of volunteers to help. 

Before we left, Santa and theToys for Tots were whisked away in the fire truck. That's always exciting to see with a two-year-old! 

Things we enjoyed:
1. Going for a walk as a family at night. We don't tend to take that opportunity after dark very often. With the nights getting dark so early we should explore this option more!
2. The feeling of community. There were so many volunteers and others there to help with the event that also gave back to the community. 
3. Exploring the gardens in a  different setting. It was cool to see the lights on display and to be there after dark! 
4. The challenge of the scavenger hunt! There was a good variety of activities embedded in the hunt!
5. The extra activities. The kids loved the cookies! It was fun to have a few other activities available as well.