Is it possible to offer a captivating experience for kids and adults using an immersive and interactive circuit? The Jardin botanique’s public programs and education team has risen to the challenge. For a few months they’ve been busy creating Halloween magic, respecting physical distancing but still making sure there’s a maximum of entertainment. Besides, having worked on this programming with a mother’s heart, I was really looking forward to introducing my two young daughters to all these wonderful activities. Wonder, laughter and learning were all on the bill!
An adventure trail, squash and a giant porcupine
In the area of the Jardin botanique formerly called the Little Monsters Courtyard, a new adventure pathway has been laid out named the Magic Steps Circuit. Children can test their balance on an autumn-themed and incredibly fun-filled excursion, overflowing with squashes – including giant pumpkins! It’s the perfect spot for immortalizing your visit thanks to the enchanting scenery and the three large-size ephemeral artistic works that punctuate the circuit, one of them a giant porcupine. Besides, the odds are you’ll be spending a lot of time here, because kids won’t want to leave this magic spot. My children especially enjoyed this space, where they could run, play and laugh unrestrained.
It’s all about squash
At the heart of the Magic Steps Circuit there’s an activity terrace where the extended family of gourd-type plants is presented, the Cucurbitaceae. The dynamic scientific education team presents an animated tale on pollination with a big puppet. Also, there’s a remarkable diversity of squash, which are all grown and harvested in the Jardin botanique’s Food Garden thanks to a talented specialized horticulturist and her devoted team.
It’s also in this spot that the monster hunt begins, inspired by traditional treasure hunts. Equipped with a map, you set off on the search for five monsters who’ve bolted with their favorite disgusting ingredients. In taking up the hunt, participants get a chance to win numerous prizes. A monstrous challenge to try to meet as a family!
Stories that give you the willies
After the monster hunt, a stop is in order at the Japanese pavilion. The education team offers a special program for the occasion: scary stories (shivers in store!) with monsters from Japanese folklore courtesy of kamishibai, paper theater. Japanese treats will be offered to the young spectators.
A play where monsters are in the spotlight
What could be better than attending a play starring monsters to get into the Halloween spirit? The play Tous les monstres ont disparu! (All the Monsters Have Disappeared!), written by Iris Boudreau and adapted from the book J’élève mon monstre (I’m Raising My Monster) by Élise Gravel, presents three absolutely adorable monsters who just love eating squash but who are difficult to keep an eye on… Poor Madame Topinambour: she’s the best-known monster sitter in town, but she loses sight of them!
I guarantee the monsters’ bedtime song will stick in your head. My kids hum it over and over, even days after they enjoyed the play…
An original way of observing Halloween
The Funk and Pumpkins programming makes it possible for kids and grownups to stretch their legs, to appreciate nature in autumn mode and to enjoy the most pleasant sort of visitor experience. Something not to be missed in Montréal!