Arboretum Anniversary a Fun-Filled Day for the Whole Family
Dark clouds were rolling in with light showers predicted for later, but that didn’t stop Canberrans from celebrating the National Arboretum’s one-year anniversary. The car parks were overflowing, live music echoed across the plains, and children waited excitedly for their turn on the bouncing castle as the crowd flocked to the hillside to celebrate and enjoy a day with the family.
Among other activities, the events on March 8th covered storytelling and kite-painting for the children. Michael, a father of two, said that he found the event “very enjoyable,” and noted that his son James was particularly delighted with kite-flying. For them, it was their first visit, but they knew that they would be back.
Other first-time visitors were the Watsons, an elderly couple, who were visiting just for the afternoon.
“We’re just amazed by the size of the place,” Mrs. Watson said. “You would certainly need a full day to see it all.”
One point of interest was the Bonsai room, where over forty different Bonsai plants were displayed — each cultivated and styled over the course of decades. Not far away, children were frolicking with a competition paper in their hands as they tried to match pictures of plants to names. Senior Volunteer, Richard Bear, said they were all hands on deck.
“Normally we would be out the back, maintaining the collection but we’ve been too busy today,” noting that the Bonsai room had accommodated 412 visitors by noon, almost four-times as many as normal. “I see more and more repeat visitors as time goes on,” Bear said with a smile.
Commissioned by the ACT Government in the wake of the 2003 Canberra bush fires, the Arboretum was designed to rebuild the pine forest that had been devastated in the catastrophe. While the land has been open to the public since the initial plantings in 2005, the village centre and surrounding buildings were not officially opened until early last year.
The National Arboretum is open to the public every day from 7 am to 5.30 pm.
Paul Van Rens