Duke Gardens in Durham has been a long time favorite for families with its colorful gardens, grassy spaces and ponds and creeks. And spring is a great time to explore the 55 acres. The colors and textures change on a daily basis as new plants bloom and old ones die away.
Spring also is the time when the Gardens ramps up its offerings for families. New this spring is a free, drop-in weekday storytime on the third Thursday morning of each month through June. The next one is April 19. No registration is required.
The hour-long program, from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., includes a story, walk through the gardens and activity or craft. It's designed for kids ages 3 to 7. Duke Gardens offers new weekday storytime, other programs for families
During the first storytime of the season, a garden volunteer read a book about the life of a log. Kavanah Anderson, Duke Gardens' education coordinator, led us on a walk to find a log and discover the creatures that lived within. Then we sat down for a quick activity, taking rubbings from bark and other items we found on the ground. My two-year-old loved it and told her sister all about the log later that day.
Storytimes also are offered on the first Saturday of the month (April 7 is the next one). They also are from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and are free. No registration is required.
Duke Gardens' other programs include an upcoming spring break camp the week of April 9 (when Durham and other schools in the region are out) and expanded summer camp offerings.
Duke's nature ranger cart, offering free drop-in activities for kids and their adults, returns on Friday mornings in April. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the traveling science carts feature different activities.
And Duke will offer four Spring Family Fun events with free drop-in activities for parent and kids. Each week will focus on science or craft projects. They are noon to 3 p.m., April 15, April 29, May 6 and May 20.
Programs are geared primarily for preschoolers to young grade schoolers, but Anderson said staff can customize programs for any age group.
To learn more about Duke Gardens' education programs and take a look at the nature storytime, watch the video. Go to Duke Gardens' website and its education page for more. Duke Gardens' annual spring plant sale happens to be 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday.