Saturday, December 12, 2009

Snowy Nights

Let me start by saying that I LOVE the My Big Backyard exhibit at the Botanic Gardens. I think it's the best thing to happen in Memphis since the Levitt Shell. And likewise, I think the Gardens has a great event and education staff. However, whoever came up with the Snowy Nights idea--and forked over the cash for the sad little snow machine--needs to go back to the drawing board.

The monkeys and I went with 3/4 of Team Chockley (Steph & the kids) on Friday night. We got there right at 5pm to beat the rush, and we may have caught them a little off guard. The woman at the desk seemed confused by why we were there and the scheduled activities in the Big Backyard weren't quite off the ground.

The kids, of course, noticed nothing. They immediately took off running, climbing, and exploring. The cold didn't bother them at all. Steph and I were definitely cold. And a little unimpressed. Having both been to Starry Nights this week, we found the lights to be lackluster. In addition to being blah, they just weren't emitting enough light. We couldn't see the kids and the kids couldn't see where they were going. Jiro fell down twice--once pretty hard.

After ten to fifteen minutes, we took refuge in the education building where they were serving hot cocoa & spiced tea and leading an ornament craft and snowflake cutting. Chloe went right for the ornament station, Satchel and Connor went for snowflakes, and Jiro & I went for the hot cocoa and cookies. (After spending the day making ornaments at Satchel and Jiro's school, I had no interest in gluing googly eyes on a paper clip.) The woman leading the crafts was very nice--especially when the kids accidentally spilled cocoa everywhere. (In their defense, the cocoa was filled to the top of rather large cups and lined up on a wobbly table.)



Once everyone was warmed up and crafted out, we headed outside for the "campfire" and marshmallows. Once the boys saw that it was a "grill fire" they took off running into the darkness. Chloe and Steph quickly warmed a marshmallow by the fire before venturing back into the darkness with us.

The boys had a great time playing with the instruments crafted by Sean Murphy & Anne Froning Wike. I told them to try and play in time with the Charlie Brown Christmas song that was playing, but it was futile!


After fifteen more minutes of running around (and falling), Stephanie and I pulled the plug and herded everyone towards the exit. On our way out we saw the snow machine. I don't know if it was broken or what, but to call the small flurries it emitted "snow" feels like a lie. (Steph and I actually had a hard time not laughing when the kids excitedly said, "Snow! Snow!")

The kids had a blast, but Steph and I agreed that the incredible BIg Backyard is best enjoyed in the daylight. The next time we fork over $20 for an evening Christmas activity, it'll be for a second viewing of Starry Nights.

1 comment:

Lci Jackson said...

I agree. I left there feeling like I had just wasted 15 dollars. I love the Big Back Yard and am hoping that next yeat it will be better.

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