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Children take a stroll through Old Westbury Gardens to unplug

Classic books, themed activities and crafts are getting kids and families outdoors as the weather warms up

Storybook Stroll at Old Westbury Gardens
Jenna Park

As the weather warms up and the flowers are in bloom, Old Westbury Gardens is the perfect place to go if you are looking to spend a few hours outdoors. The picturesque formal and informal landscaped gardens, blooming tulips and crabapple trees, and open green fields are reminiscent of an English countryside, which is what the estate was designed to reflect. Whether you are wandering through the elaborate gardens, or taking an informational guided tour, Old Westbury Gardens has something to offer for everyone.

On Saturday, local kids unplugged from their devices and spent some time strolling through the gardens for an afternoon of reading, learning and creating. Old Westbury Gardens has been hosting their Storybook Strolls for kids ages 3-5 the first Saturday of the month in the spring, summer and fall.

The Storybook Stroll program includes reading a classic children’s book that parents may remember from their childhood, and participating in activities and crafts related to the classic read, while learning about different aspects of the pristine gardens.

After a long winter of being cooped up indoors, parents were looking forward to getting their little ones out of the house and into nature, where the kids can run around the open fields of the gardens and enjoy the outdoors. One parent said, “It’s nice to be able to get the kids out into nature even on a rainy day, especially when they get to participate in fun activities while meeting new people.”

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While the weather for the event on Saturday did not cooperate, according to Education Assistant Caitlin Orellana’s plan, she said “ We run the event rain or shine, so we try to be prepared as possible should there be inclement weather.”

Saturday’s Storybook Stroll focused on teaching the kids about the importance of bees in the ecosystem. Appropriate to the theme, the featured book was Winnie the Pooh and Some Bees. After reading a portion of the book, the kids participated in an interactive activity that taught them how bees produce nectar from flowers in order to create honey.

“As a educational director here at Old Westbury Gardens, I want to show kids that learning and science can be fun, it’s not just about consuming information to use in standardized testing,” Orellana said.

After a walk through the blooming tulip garden and making a visit to the previously occupied bee skep, the kids sat down to enjoy the rest of the book and tested their senses with an activity using smell to identify scents, as they learned in the book. 

The Storybook Strolls held at Old Westbury Gardens are a great way to get kids out of the house and into nature with warmer days approaching, Orellana said. “The book, activities, and crafts are all related to help a child gain a little knowledge about a certain subject. In this case it was bees, honey, nectar, and flowers,” she said.

“These events are promoting families to come together in nature, which gets the kids off of the devices and into a fun learning environment,” Orellana added.

Old Westbury Gardens will host more educational and interactive programs for children this spring, summer, and fall. For more information on their children programs, and other events you can visit their website at OldWestburyGardens.org.