Holiday Traditions at the Royal Botanical Gardens 2012
Every year we look forward to visiting the Royal Botanical Gardens during the Christmas Season. The holiday decorating coupled with lots of fun activities for both children and adults make for a great way to spend a few hours or more exploring indoors and out.
Last night I had the pleasure of attending a sneak preview of this year’s Holiday Traditions event which will run from Friday November 16, 2012 to January 6, 2013 at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. From the moment my daughters (aged 2 & 5) heard they were going to the RBG that’s all they could talk about. I am sure both the children and teachers at their school and daycare can attest to the excitement surrounding this evening and I have to say that the event did not disappoint.
Upon arrival at the RBG you are greeted by two very large toy soldiers, okay they are not real but they certainly look official guarding the holiday entrance. Once inside you can’t help but feel festive, from the beautiful decorations, live plants and holiday doors that line the walkways to the Pièce de résistance – the train set!
Until you have the opportunity to see the train show you really can’t imagine what a work of art it is. Created by landscape architect Paul Busse this botanical train installation features a coast-to-coast tribute to over 15 Canadian landmarks. Constructed from over 7 tons of cedar slabs, 3,000 pounds of rock and 250 feet of track this visual homage features landmarks such as LIUNA Station, Niagara Falls, the CN Tower, Parliament buildings and so much more.
We, like everyone else headed straight to the train show and watched as the two trains make their way through this display much to the delight of the children (and adults). My co-workers arrived shortly after us and my five year old couldn’t wait to give them a guided tour of everything – it is a great opportunity to talk to your children about places they might have seen or ones that you hope to visit.
Once we were finished viewing the train show we headed upstairs for the children’s activities. There was holiday crafting and both my daughters were excited to make ornaments with oranges & cloves, which now smell amazing hanging next to our fireplace. Throughout the event there are various children’s activities running on weekends that will keep your little ones engaged and in the holiday mood. You will also have the opportunity to get outdoors with a guided winter hike.
Of course no holiday event would be complete without the big man in red – SANTA! Be sure to bring a camera to capture your visit with Santa and his reindeer. I hope everyone has managed to stay off the “naughty” list this year. If you want a chance to get a little more up close and personal with Santa be sure to reserve your spot at the Breakfast with Santa on December 8th or 16th.
Nothing puts me in a festive mood quicker than a jaunty holiday carol and for me, one of the highlights of the evening was the carolling by Harbourtown Sound Chorus Hamilton (also appearing Nov. 25th). Visitors to Holiday Traditions will be treated to some great entertainment (selected dates) including the Bel Canto Strings Academy, Phunktown 5 and more.
If you plan to visit this weekend you can do double duty and get some holiday shopping done at the annual Auxiliary Christmas Show and Sale. If you are looking for a unique gift for under the tree this year, this sale is for you.
Aside from the event at the RBG you can also take time to relax and unwind with a stroll through the indoor gardens – nothing like tropical temps and the smell of fresh flowers to melt away the stress!