Horticulturists at the San Diego Zoo are gearing up for the 22nd annual spring Garden Festival presented by Sparkletts. Beautiful Forth Night lilies, sunflowers, orchids, Japanese coral trees, pink hibiscus and yellow daisies are just a few of the flowering plants that guests have the opportunity to see. During the two-day event that takes place on Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday, May 9, and Sunday, May 10, guests can enjoy and learn about the importance of the Zoo’s world-class plant collection. The Zoo’s botanical garden is not only a visual delight of greens, reds, oranges, yellows and blues, its plants and flowers are also the major source for our animal browse.
The Zoo has more than 700,000 plants in its accredited botanical collection including over 900 different types of orchids. To showcase the orchids, the Orchid House, which is only open to guests once a month, will be open both days during Garden Festival.
“There’s a lot of opportunity for guests to learn and gain knowledge they can put to use in their own backyard gardens,” said Dan Simpson, horticulture manager for the San Diego Zoo. “At various spots on Zoo grounds, guests can visit interesting booths and learn about things like what makes up good soil and compost at the ‘Can You Dig It’ booth.”
Guests can also listen to special keeper talks focusing on animals and discover the secret powers of flowers: how they provide primary and supplemental food for our animals. Display booths, open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily, will offer visitors the chance to get gardening tips from horticulture experts with advice to grow by; discover an important native plant, the matilija poppy; learn the what, why, and how of each part of a blossom; and test their flower power.
During the Garden Festival, there will be self-guided walking tours, an educational scavenger hunt focused on flowers and fun activities for kids. Guests can chat with a Zoo insect keeper and may meet a researcher from the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research who is working to save plant species around the world and in our own backyards.
Stop by the Koalafornia Boardwalk at 12:30 or 1:30 p.m. both days to take in a fun, interactive show, where the zany Dr. Zoolittle reveals the secret powers of those garden superheroes, flowers!
Garden Festival is included with Zoo admission and membership. For more information and a schedule of activities, visit www.sandiegozoo.org/gardenfestival.
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is made accessible to children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.