"Quit hanging on to the handrails... Let go. Surrender. Go for the ride of your life. Do it everyday"

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Wanderlust Wednesday - May Day Garden Park

I can't believe that it is May already!  I am so ready for spring to get here.  We have been crazy hot the last few days and now we are going to get cold again for a few days before getting back to where we should be this time of year.  I wanted to bring in some flowers for this first day of May so I went back a couple of years to when my family and I had gone to Cantigny Park.  This is a park that is outside of Chicago in the southwest suburbs in a town called Wheaton.  It has beautiful gardens and flowers and so much more!
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This is the tulip garden, but it also has a rose garden, museums, golf, parks,and play areas for kids.
My family had gone there for Father's Day.  My son and I had driven up to meet my brother, sister in law and their kids and my other three brothers and my father.  We are big outdoor family, so we like to meet and hike around parks and run around outside.  Catigny Park was a perfect place to meet.  It was a slightly shorter drive for me to get back home and the kids could run around and play.
 
The park has a couple wonderful war museums for you to look through.  You can very easily spend a few days here exploring.  There is the McCormick Museum which we did not go through in our limited time, but we did go through the First Division Museum.  You learn about the history of American soldiers through the eyes of the First Infantry Division and how wartime has changed throughout the years.  There were many hands on opportunities for the kids and lots of informational movies and things for the kids to check out as they walked through the various rooms from about WWI - to the recent wars.
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Here the kids are listening to the informational videos with live footage.
 
As you can see in the picture all of the kids are a little wet.  That is because there is a fountain section of the park that our kids would have spent HOURS playing at.  The fountains spray up at different times and the kids just stand there waiting to get soaked.  It is pretty fun to watch them play around in it.  Most of the pictures I have from that section are of the kids goofy around and don't feel comfortable posting on a blog.  Believe me though, it is lots of fun for them!
 
After walking through the museum you can go to several different types of gardens.  There are five different gardens and a greenhouse.  The greenhouse is not open to the public.  The gardens also change with the seasons and the years.  The day that we were there a part of the garden celebrated the different universities around the area.  They had flowers that reflected the school colors.
 

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Here is one for my University of Illinois friends and family - see the bright orange and blue flowers
 
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And of course I had to take a picture of the one for my University of Iowa friends and family - see the deep purple and yellow flowers.
Those two pictures probably shouldn't be that close to one another haha.  Since I didn't go to either one of those schools its no big deal to me.  Others might have some issues haha.
 
One of the other gardens they have is called an Idea Garden that helps to teach those of us amateur gardeners about the different types of flowers and herbs we can plant at home.  It is broken down into four different sections - an herb garden, children's garden, walk thru the seasons, and a sensory garden.  There was a pretty little stream with bridges and things that you could walk over.  They have different plants and shrubs that they had pruned into different figures in the Children's Garden, there were many different birds and insects that buzzed around the plants.  The sensory garden was a lot of fun for the kids.  They are allowed to touch velveety soft plants and sniff aromatic plants.  We tried to figure out what herbs they were growing in the herb garden and smelled those as well.  The kids also really enjoyed watching the stream flow through the area.  They could have spent a lot of time in the Idea Garden for sure.

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Some of the flowers in the Idea Garden section
 
My sister in laws favorite garden was the rose garden.  I was tempted to join her in that as well.  I never knew there were soooo many different types of roses!  They had more then 55 different kinds of roses and the colors were just gorgeous!  Oh and the heavenly smells...  I just wanted to sit and breath in the scents!  Luckily there were many, many different park benches for you to sit at and just absorb everything.  If I had been by myself and not visiting family I would have spent all day just snapping away at all the beautiful flowers and absorbing it all.  As it was a family visit I was a little bit more rushed in my picture taking, but that was ok.  I very much enjoyed the time I spent with my family there.

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This particular rose - darn it if I can't remember what it was called - had the most beautiful smell.
My sister in law and I tried to walk around and smell as many roses as we could to figure out which ones were our favorites haha.  There were sooo many to choose from.
 
The walkways in the park were beautiful to walk around on, they had grassy areas for you to sit and just relax and talk with each other.  They also had a large picnic area outside of the park grounds by the parking lot that had picnic benches.  There are several different types of tanks that the kids were able to crawl around on and hang from.  They could have spent quite a bit of time doing that as well, but my family is full of monkeys haha.  It was jam packed the weekend that we were there.  We played hackey sack, bean throw and chatted amongst ourselves.  Overall a very enjoyable day was spent at Catigny Park.

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Grassy area for relaxing.
 
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One of the pretty walkways
 
Cantigny Park Basics
1. Cost is $5 per car
2. The park is closed in January, check out their website for the other hours, they are seasonal
3. I don't believe we had to pay extra for the museum
4. You need to bring your own grille if you want to have a picnic
5. Wear comfortable shoes, trails are paved, but you can do a lot of walking
6.  I would say pretty kid friendly, they do have lots of things for them to do
7.  You can golf there too, we did not check that out so I have no further information on that
8.  If you are a Veteran you do get some special perks, contact the website for that info as well
9.  There are places to dine in the park and a coffee shop.  We did not check those out either preferring to picnic our lunch
 
Enjoy your first day of May.  I hope that you are able to get out and find some pretty spring flowers or a nice hike to check out.  For more travel and other pictures please check out my Facebook page and/or my photography website.  This is also linked to Budget Travelers Photo Thursday.

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49 comments:

  1. Hi Sere, Cantigny Park sounds beautiful. I enjoyed the photos of the beautiful flowers. I've seen a lot of rose gardens but I don't think I've seen one with that much variety of roses; 55 variety of roses at the same place must be a feast for the eyes and nose!

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    1. Oh Marisol it totally was :). I could just sit and breath in the scents haha.

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  2. I love the pink rose close up, and you really captured the colour of the tulip garden beautifully.

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    1. Thank you Jan! Flowers are fun to photograph.

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  3. Parks are so beautiful and green! Can't beat flowers and I loved all the color in your pictures.

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  4. love the rose shot- so beautiful! Happy spring time, for sure!

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    1. Thank you and Happy Springtime back to you!

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  5. What an awesome place to explore!

    I host a weekly party called "Oh, the PLACES I've been!" and would love to have you join. The link goes up at 7 pm EST on Thursday evenings.

    - The Tablescaper

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    Replies
    1. Oh sounds like fun I will have to check that out! Thank you!

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  6. Beautiful and peaceful.
    It made me smile that you forgot the name of the rose. Someone brought me a plant today and told me it's and now I can't remember it.

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    1. Haha I am glad I am not the only one to do that. The bummer thing is that I really liked that rose :(. Oh well I will just have to go back and find out right?

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  7. I love the first shot with deep purple & orange flowers. Looks like a beautiful place to visit with a family.
    And I too am impressed with 55 varieties of rose. Wow.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! Yes it was fun for the family, very enjoyable.

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  8. Love flower shots no matter where you are they are fun to see - visiting from Photo Thursday

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    Replies
    1. Welcome from Photo Thursday :)! Thank you!

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  9. This sounds like a delightful place for the family to spend the day. I really like all the colors, especially in your first phot and the ones with the college flags.

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