Family Day Out: Get in tune with nature; BIRMINGHAM Botanical Gardens are a delightful venue for a day out at any time of the year, but tomorrow there are fun activities that children will love as ANN EVANS discovers.
YOU don't have to be a garden and plant lover - but those who are will have an extra-special family day out.
The popular Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses are a beautiful, tranquil setting that is perfect for anyone interested in nature and plants.
More than 15 acres of themed gardens include a children's adventure playground, a discovery garden and growing schools garden which was designed by TV gardener Chris Beardshaw.
Tomorrow's Family Fun Day has a host of fun activities. For instance, children can join Mr Beetle for storytelling and singsongs. Youngsters can try their hand at circus skills at workshops and join in the 2008 Big Draw by making natural tree dressings with artist Mark Riley.
There will be donkey rides, kite flying including making your own kite; face painting, a bouncy castle, a magician and Boo Boo the clown.
Visitors can listen to music by Youth Strings Project, browse the stalls, visit the shop, and have refreshments at the pavilion tea room.
Glass act with plants
THERE are also four highly-individual glasshouses to explore.
Tropical House: This has the most varied collection of diverse plants. The hot humid atmosphere provides the ideal climate for the plants found in the lowland equatorial regions of the tropics and visitors will find trees, climbers, ferns, shade-loving herbs and water plants from these areas.
Subtropical House: This is the largest of the glasshouses, rising to eight metres at the peak - a height sufficient to accommodate sizeable trees, including palms, tree ferns, a Norfolk Island pine and a giant bird-of-paradise plant.
Mediterranean House: This house preserves something of the atmosphere of a Victorian conservatory or orangery. This early type of glasshouse was a popular feature of the houses of prosperous families in the 19th century.
Arid House: A glasshouse for plants from climates with low, irregular rainfall but also for those in dry locations, such as cliffs or tree branches. You will find cacti and other desert plants as well as a collection of "living stones", carrion flowers and century plants.
WHERE: Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses, Westbourne Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3TR.
WHEN: Family Fun Day, tomorrow, 10am-4.30pm.
ADMISSION: Adults pounds 7, children and concession pounds 4.50, under-fives free, family pounds 21.
CONTACT: Phone 0121 454 1860 or visit www.birminghambotanicalgardens.org.uk
GOING GREEN... Children will have a chance to get back to nature at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens family fun day tomorrow.; RIDING HIGH... Donkeys will provide some easy-going transport at the fun day.