We typically check out the fish first. There is a newish cafe near the indoor pond. I will say there is "nature" throughout the store. While the store focuses on gardening, they also have clothing, decor, jewelry, games, rocks, and so much more. There is also a large variety of prices, making it easy to find something for most budgets. I could find plenty of items to buy. At Christmas, a book club I attend had a local store gift card exchange and I purchased a gift card for Lintons'. It could be used on so many things, including food!
After exploring inside, we went out to the patio/greenhouse areas, visiting the rabbits and Bloomer, the resident macaw. What a fun bird! For my two-year-old this is a great place to explore!
We gave high fives to the Easter bunny. They were collecting food pantry donations for a picture with the bunny, which is a neat way to help give back to the community and add another attraction. For these special days, they have additional attractions, like ducklings, chicks, and other young animals to look at that rebirth of life. I'm sure visiting it again just a week later would show the growth at least in the young birds, if not the other animals.
There were also kids or baby goats, though my nephew seemed intrigued by the pig nearby.
There were sheep and a calf also. Made me miss our Bessie!
Near the chicks, my youngest thought these "chicks" for sale were a perfect sensory bin. He's used to playing with things in bins like this through nature preschool at Woodlawn Nature Center. Linton's has a duckling slide set up, but they seemed a little wary to go down it. Maybe they are pros at it by now.
Linton's also offers classes on a regular basis. I've been to one or two in the past and found them helpful for the topics. It's a nice way to learn. Here is a post from a Natural Holiday. Find their schedule of classes here.
I noticed there was a shooting game you can pay for. My nephew just liked playing with the gun, though the rabbit was fun as well.
The kids love the treehouse! It was fun walking through the outside area and getting in a little play time.
I always love seeing signs like this Certified Wildlife Habitat. While we don't have to go through the formal certification process, enhancing our properties to allow food, water, cover, and places to raise young is always helpful for our natural world. Here is information on how to do that. At our house, we're still working on the water; however, there are many lakes and ponds nearby as well.
We grabbed some feed nearby for a quarter and fed the goats, pigs, and other animals. It's nice to have animals to see up close sometimes and to see the differences with domesticated and wild animals.
In the petting zoo, we also were able to see a donkey up close. Since this was part of our Easter celebration, we talked about the donkey and the cross on its back.
It's neat to see the different birds near the petting zoo. We heard a turkey, saw the peacocks, and looked at many other interesting birds. Many families chose to pay a fee to take the train out to an egg hunt. My youngest was mesmerized by the train and it looked like they all had fun. We've gone to their free hunts in the past.
The tori gate always reminds me of our time in Japan. There are whimsical structures like this throughout out the gardens. The UFO is another interesting treat. Playing with shadows is fun anywhere! My youngest and I have been playing a sort of shadow tag recently where we "tag" the other by making their shadow disappear in the shadow of the other. I guess I always win that one since my shadow is bigger!
We had to stop for another petting of the bunny! Having special moments to get close to calm animals like this is intriguing for children. My youngest was enchanted by the fairy garden miniatures. He thought all the animals should go in the barn. I'm trying to think of ways to capture that enchantment in a safe way for younger and older children to "play" with options like this in a public fairy garden.
We're sharing this with the Outdoor Play Party. Spending time at your local garden center can be a fun way to connect with nature! We had a fun time and only spent about 50 cents on food at the petting zoo, though there are many options to spend money if desired, such as food, the egg hunt and train ride, and all the beautiful stuff they have inside. I like that there are options--it can be less expensive or a place to buy things if desired. It's great to support local businesses like this so I know I can stop by and pick up a gift, snack, or needed garden supplies.