STORY AND PHOTOS BY LOUISE R. SHAW
Clipper Staff Writer
KAYSVILLE — The chance to ride a pony, hold a duckling and pet a baby goat brought hundreds of children and their parents to USU Botanical Gardens last weekend.
It was the second year the center hosted Baby Animal Days as both a fund raiser and an educational event at the ever-growing center.
“Every time they come here, they’re going to learn something,” said Dave Anderson, center director.
The center has an orchard with 50 different varieties of trees, an arboretum, an ornamental grasses garden, wetlands and the Utah House, which showcases environmentally friendly building techniques.
Funds from the baby animal event will help in the construction of a new demonstration perennial garden, said Jerry Goodspeed, director of horticulture and education at the center.
The turnout at this year’s event was surprisingly high, said Goodspeed on Friday, the first day of the two-day event.
“It’s incredible,” he said, “more than expected.”
Last year’s crowd topped 9,000, according to Justen Smith, director of USU extension in Davis County.
This year’s event drew participants from all over Davis County, plus people from Salt Lake, Ogden and Logan.
“Many haven’t had a chance to see animals up close,” said Smith. “Farm land is disappearing at a tragic rate and kids don’t realize where their food comes from.”
The botanical center offers classes on topics from plant propagation to photography.
Families are invited to learn more about shore birds at an “Explore the garden family night” scheduled for May 20, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. For more information on classes and events or to register, see usubotanicalcenter.org.