Sunday, September 25, 2011

Top Ten Dawes Destinations

This is the new Horton Building plaza at the Aerospace Center.  Luke Messinger from Dawes Arboretum made this plaza the first one under Dawes' new sustainable sites initiative.  The plaza plan called for, simply enough, Ohio-native plants from locally-sourced nurseries. 

It's fabulous and has earned rave reviews in its three short months in existence.  The 800+ workers here have an exclusive, though I snuck my kids on here for a lunch picnic one Saturday recently.

As much as I like the plaza and its nearer my office than the Arboretum itself, it's just number 10 on my Top Ten list of Dawes Arboretum destinations.

10. Horton Building Plaza.  We like this new plaza so much that we changed our specs for new plantings on the Aerospace center campus to require Ohio-native plants from locally-sourced nurseries.

9. Dawes Arboretum Hedge.  One can look on any aerial photo showing south central Licking County and that's all you need to find The Dawes.  The use of hedges to spell out such a long name is pretty unique.  My kids have played hide and seek in the R-E-T-U-M.

8. Power Plants. The newest exhibit shows off plantings of agricultural crops that have non-food uses, particularly energy-producing uses.  I love the manufacturing-oriented story behind this exhibit.  Of course, the oil rig, old farm implements, and scarecrows help attract the kids too.

7. The Island.  Much a picnic has been had on the tranquil location--an island in the middle of the lake at Dawes.  What a picturesque setting.

6. The Tower.  I can measure my kids growth not from a growth chart but from the pictures taken from the top of the tower on the southeast side of the Arboretum.

5. The Log Cabin.  My kids' favorite location attracts us almost every February for maple syrup making.  It gets us there, though, every season of the year at least once.

4. Japanese Garden.  Every time we go, my kids hold out hope they'll get to go on the tiny island here.  Though that's never happened, the peacefulness of this place makes even my loud kids want to talk in their church voices while they walk around. 

3. Dutchfork Wetlands.  A more recent addition to the offerings at Dawes', this place has grown up with my kids.  We walked it the first year it opened and have watched the wetlands return to a more and more natural habitat.  It's fascinating to see nature at work before your eyes.

2. Cypress Swamp.  The real treat here, some day, will be to get to see the salamanders migrate in some wet March night.  I haven't seen that yet.  Until then, we visit the tadpoles in the Spring and the bare stumps in the dry Summer months.

1. The Auto Tour.  This tour includes a chance to stop for pictures at Daweswood and always something new.  It's served many a family purpose.  First Communion pictures.  Graduation pictures.  Plus, every out of town visitor is an excuse to take the tour.  Plus, when my triplets were babies, it was a great way to calm restless infants and calm Daddy too.

There's so much to see, learn, and do at the tree museum.  I really think I need a Top 50 list instead.

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