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An Exclusive and Fun Experience!

Kristy Schmitt

One of the things I love about living so close to my job is that I frequently visit with my four year old daughter. The Botanical Gardens and adjacent South Park are like a huge backyard for her! We often loop several trips through the Gardens, especially on rainy days or on days we cannot go to the playground or go for a bike ride. She’s learning a lot about many of the plants that grow here, but she really loves the koi fish as they are so friendly and colorful!

Like many of the kids from families working here at the Gardens, she gets to test out some of our ideas from a kid perspective, whether it is a craft for a kids program or seeing how long a terrarium she made with a purple spiderwort plant (her favorite color) will actually live. This past Thursday, she got to go to the Gardens early with me for our test run of the new Feed the Fish experience.

We met up with Todd, our Facilities Director and fish caretaker, to go through the logistics one last time and check to see how the fish responded to a more timed out feeding than receiving their food all at once. My daughter didn’t care too much about our table spacing plots or attendance taking plans, but as soon as we entered the Aquatic Garden Greenhouse she remembered why she was excited to accompany me to work.

The fish surged in excitement as we approached and my daughter started jumping, also in excitement. When we got closer, she was a little bit nervous to put in her cup of fish food, and I had to do mine first. She squealed in delight as the fish began eating, and got brave enough to put her cup of food in after. We visited with the fish for a while before the Gardens opened, and had to say goodbye to the fish several times before leaving. Once we got home, she asked if she could go back and do it again sometime!

The day of the event went so great! It was so nice interacting with and educating people in person once again. It was a nice small, socially distanced group of all ages who were excited to learn something! Everyone had a turn to give the excited fish some koi food; people took pictures, asked questions and really spent some quality time with our fishy friends before grabbing their goody bags and plant on the way into the desert greenhouse. After cleaning up and putting away the tables as we opened for General Admission afterwards, I noticed that people spent some time after the event exploring the rest of the Botanical Gardens. I am looking forward to more of our Gardens friends spending time with the fish for this exciting event.

Check our website right here for future dates. Space is limited and spots sell quick!

Feed the Fish


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