New children's garden opens

May  14, 2014

      The first interactive, inter-generational garden of its kind has opened in the Quad Cities. This afternoon, the Quad City Botanical Center held a ribbon cutting for the Children's Garden.

      Executive Director Ami Jenkins says the garden features rare perennials, a large sundial, and a small river modeled after the Mississippi.

      "There are 3 foot bridges that move back and forth across the river. There's a set of locks. We have spray creatures, including an alligator, clams and a catfish; just a lot of interactive activities for the kids."

      Jenkins hopes the garden will give people of all ages a chance to experience plant and animal life in their natural habitat.

      "Kids are so connected to the indoors these days with technology which is a wonderful thing, but we are maybe not encouraging our kids to get out as much as we should. And we, as adults, are maybe not getting out as much as we should. We're maybe not enjoying what Mother Nature has to offer."

      The Botanical Center broke ground for the garden last year, and has completed phase 1 of a six-phase project with help from the Rotary Club of Rock Island.  Jenkins says the project will include an education center and a pond. She expects the total project will cost $10 million and be completed within the next five years.