ROCKFORD -- Swarms of children descend upon the newest attraction at the Discovery Center. Sarah Wolf, Executive Director for the museum, says the garden would be nothing without the kids: “This is our first chance to see children actually experiencing the garden and it was very obvious that they were very intrigued and wanting to learn more."
The Secret Garden was built with special needs children in mind. The path is wide enough for strollers and wheelchairs to make their way through, and the staff wants people to interact with the plants.
They want folks to not just see the flowers but smell and touch them as well. Kids are even welcomed to water the plants. Katie Andrews is a regular visitor to the museum and says, “It's going to be awesome for kids. I mean, just being able to touch and smell and see butterflies and plant plants. I'm big into gardening and it's nice to be able to have a place to encourage my children to get into gardening as well."
This is why the garden is such an attractive project for the donors at BMO Harris bank: Katherine Taylor, a representative, explains, “Sustainability is one of the corporate initiatives of BMO Harris bank and we feel it's really important for young people today to gain an appreciation for nature."
But it was a challenging project for the museum which had to utilize a narrow and barren space. Wolf explains, “It was a weed patch that was not accessible for anyone, and transforming it into an area that everyone can enjoy is bringing us great pleasure."
And if there's one thing that we know brings pleasure to kids, it's being hands-on.