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A 9,100 square foot building features a plant lab and a 5 foot tall globe that can show things like population density, deforestation or weather events. In the building, kids can also learn about soil types by reaching with gloves into boxes to feel the differences. Or they can speed up or slow down videos from nature for instance, watching a hummingbird in slow motion, or watching vines grow faster.

Sara Furlich, who has visited the garden with her three daughters ages 13, 11 and 5 and with children from the private school she heads, liked the hands on approach and said, "It's hard to leave each exhibit without learning something."

It's also hoped that the garden will help kids who have only known a city environment realize a connection to nature, Conroy said.

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"We can teach better about nature in nature," says Mary Brinegar, president and chief executive officer of the Dallas Arboretum.

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In that same area, students can examine a box of rocks and try to categorize them, or use their own shadow to tell time with an analemmatic sundial.

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and posing for pictures in turtle shells.

DALLAS (AP) From a shaded area where toddlers can climb on a wooden ant or partake in a plant petting zoo, to a place where older kids can shoot water pistols at turbines and watch the energy they created set off water fountains, a new children's garden in Dallas aims to teach kids about science while they have fun in the lush landscape.

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A walkway takes visitors through areas aimed at different age groups, starting with one for the youngest visitors, which includes a maze, Air Max Shoes Womens

It's one of more than 100 children's gardens that have sprouted across the country since the idea became popular in the early 1990s, said Casey Sclar, executive director of the American Public Gardens Association. He said they range from a garden inspired by fairy tales (at Delaware's Winterthur museum and gardens) to one focusing on wellness and healing (at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens).

For instance, to teach kids ages 5 to 7 how plants live and grow, designers created oversize plant replicas, including a 16 foot tall one that uses lights to show how water moves from the roots up to the flower. To teach different flower parts, they created a puzzle with oversize parts forming a three dimensional flower.

Her 13 year old, Sally, enjoyed identifying different types of rocks, Air Max 95 Essential Black and a section on weather: "You could make a little tornado in the bottle." Favorite exhibits for 11 year old Rachel included sitting in a giant, fake bird's nest, studying the inside of a plant Air Max 95 Pink White Gray

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´╗┐Children's garden in Dallas aims to teach science

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"What we did was look at what the big science concepts were for each age group in life and earth science. It was things like they have to know that plants have parts and each part has a different job," she said. "Then we said, 'OK, that's the important thing, so that's going to be our goal for this area and this age group.'"

There's also a 240 foot long skywalk through the tree canopy, recreations of a wetlands habitat and a cave.

a sandbox and a shallow stream that can be crossed on artificial lily pads. "Our goal here was just to get these children outside . playing with nature. Because that's how they learn, by playing," Conroy said.

"We felt like our children are growing up without an understanding of how the Earth works," she said. "And you don't take care of things you don't care about."

The sprawling arboretum on the edge of Dallas' White Rock Lake unveiled the $62 million Rory Meyers Children's Adventure Garden over the weekend. The 8 acre space is designed to help teach science to state and national standards, from preschool to middle school.

Teachers are stationed throughout the garden, and scholars at nearby Southern Methodist University will study the garden's effect on science education.

"They all have a different spin or a different way that they engage children," Sclar said.

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Air Max 95 Essential Black

An area called "Earth Cycles" includes an activity to teach kids about erosion by letting them create a landscape of trees and houses in a sandbox and then watch what happens when they activate a rainstorm or river. "It'll go through your landscape and change everything," she said.

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On a visit Monday, 8 year old David Rodriguez declared the sundial "cool," and added that Buy Nike Air Max Womens

another favorite was "the energy stuff."

Maria Conroy, the arboretum's vice president of education and research, said that when the idea for the children's garden came up almost 17 years ago, organizers wanted it to meet a need in the community, and they settled on helping to boost science test scores.

The Dallas children's garden sets itself apart with its focus on teaching toward educational standards, he said.

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