Jul 07

Reiman Gardens – Ames, Iowa

Reiman Gardens
We have been to many gardens but never a university garden.  The Iowa State University garden or Reiman Gardens was a fun little excursion for me.  I have been on several daddy-daughter outings with my girls and several solo expeditions with my eldest.  She is now calling our dynamic duo the Adventures of Dirt Girl and Sandy Dad.  More on that on a later post.  However, the youngest and I have never had our own little trip.  A visit to the Reiman Gardens was our first.
Reiman Gardens Iowa State
It was not planned that way.  When mapping out our trip to Minnesota we specifically stayed in Ames so we all could go to this garden.   One of our family’s favorite destinations are butterfly houses.  Which are fewer and farther between than one would imagine.  Unfortunately, after a long day of driving and sightseeing my eldest wanted nothing more than to stay at the hotel and take a nap.  While it was disappointing that she did not go, the youngest and I made the most of it and had a grand time.
Checking for Butterflies
The Reiman Gardens is a 17-acre botanical garden with 26 distinct garden areas.  It was the perfect size for me and my little girl.  Our favorite part about our trip was the tropical conservatory, the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing, and some pretty impressive animal art sculptures made out of discarded plastics.  The rest of the Reiman Gardens was a pretty typical well-run garden experience.
Iowa State Gardens
We arrived there a little before 4 so the first place we headed to was the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing.  It was the main reason for our visit and closes before any other part of the garden.  It did not disappoint.  They say there are up to 800 butterflies in their enclosure.  Not for sure how close they were to that number at the time of our visit but there were a lot.  We had the entire place to ourselves.  My youngest had a great time pointing them all out to me.  Seeing the delight on her face was well worth my admission price (she got in for free).
After we had our fill of the butterfly house we headed over to their nicely done tropical conservatory.  Here is where we saw our first of the many animal sculptures made out discarded plastic picked up off of beaches.  A call to action to get people to recycle instead of discarding.  I made a game out of it with my 2-year-old to see who could find the next piece of art.  We then continued our tour to the rest of the garden.  This included seeing their nice scenic pond, the world’s tallest concrete gnome, their rose collections as well as their ongoing construction of their newest area which is slated to open in 2018.
told not to touch
Part of making it a good outing with little ones is trying come up with ways for them to enjoy the experience.  Looking at flowers is going to get boring after a while, but making a game of seeing what colors can be found, shapes, etc.  I try to find things that she understands and go from there.  The Reiman Gardens was a great first adventure for my youngest and me.

To see our reviews of other Iowa attractions, click here
Blue Butterfly
Reiman Gardens
Located at 1407 University Blvd
Hours of Operation: 9 to 4:30 with extended summer hours to 6.  The butterfly wing closes at 4:30
Cost as of this Posting: Adults 18 to 64 $8, Seniors 65 and over $7 and Children 4 to 17 $4
For more information visit their website at http://www.reimangardens.com/

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