Siblings Aleera and Kian Fratpietro dashed along the narrow pathways of the Centennial Botanical Conservatory on Sunday, taking pictures of interesting plants.
“Look at this one,” said Kian, 10, as his seven-year-old sister caught up to him.
The pair were at the Conservatory with their grandmother Eleanor Fratpietro for the third annual An Afternoon In The Tropics event hosted by the Friends of the Thunder Bay Conservatory.
“I just want to explore and look at all the cool plants,” said Kian, explaining that he had been to the Conservatory before with the Boys and Girls Club. “I was hoping the cactus room would be open.”
It wasn’t, but that did not deter Kian from finding other interesting plants to investigate along with a steady stream of visitors, many of whom were participating in a scavenger hunt which involved identifying plants and finding out what country they are from.
Six-year-old Keira Garwood checked off a plant on the list on her clipboard as her mother, Jessica Beck, explained that it was their first time visiting the Conservatory.
“It’s nice so far,” said Beck. “We’re amateur gardeners and thought maybe we would get some ideas.”
The afternoon included live music, refreshments and colouring pages for kids. It’s an event that Sharon Sidlar, co-chair of Friends of the Conservatory, said people seem to really enjoy.
“Our whole purpose in having the first one was to encourage people to come out and see the conservatory and be aware it’s here and open and available for people to enjoy, especially in our winter,” said Sidlar.
While events at the Conservatory have attracted up to 400 people, there was a smaller gathering on Sunday that Sidlar attributed to the warmer weather.
“People may be taking advantage of the nice weather, but that’s OK. They’re out in nature,” said Sidlar, which is the sort of thing the Conservatory promotes. “So people can get that sense of beauty and healing.”