Six children's gardens to visit in Maryland area

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Educational children's gardens

Anne Lawrence at Sherwood GardensLast summer, the Meinsler family of Odenton visited Brookside Gardens, a display garden in Montgomery County that Sara Meinsler says was both educational and interactive.

"My entire family, including my picky 9-year-old, thoroughly enjoyed our time spent there," Meinsler says.

All of the flowers and trees were well marked with educational signs explaining the plants, she says. But the exhibit Samuel, 9, Camden, 7, and Claire, 3, enjoyed the most? Brookside's Wings of Fancy butterfly exhibit, which features hundreds of live butterflies.

"Their beauty and delicacy were fascinating," Meinsler says. "The priceless part of the entire experience was watching the children react to the butterflies."

Just throwing some playground equipment in the middle of some shrubs and calling the space a "children's garden" is not enough to ensure success, Cohan says.

"There should be some component that not only entertains a child in an outdoor experience but also educates," he says. "Discovery and interaction are essential."

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