Hi… I’m Lil’ Shy Anne. My brother Andy asked me to tell you about one of my very favorite places here – The Paul Smith Children’s Village. This FREE park, located at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens in Lions Park and is part food garden, part storybook, part science lab! Let me show you… The hardest part is deciding what to do first!

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Being a pronghorn antelope, I think a lot of the plants here look very tasty! My mom makes sure I don’t eat the flowers so that everyone can enjoy the beautiful colors (so make sure not to pick them please!), but the Children’s Village has an orchard and a vegetable garden that volunteers tend all summer long to teach kids about growing their own food. Tomatoes, beans, apples, corn – the Botanic Garden starts all the plants from seed and visitors can come help plant them, water, them, and eventually harvest and taste them! Once I went to a class where we made salsa from ingredients from the garden – it was delicious!

If I’m feeling more imaginative, there are so many areas to play make-believe. I love to wonder what it would be like to live inside a tipi. I adore the sounds I can make while composing my own music on the pipes. Other days I become master playwright and performer in the Secret Garden Puppet Theatre. Sometimes I like to pretend I’m lost in a giant maze as I wander through the walls of plants – I think I know what Alice felt like when she fell into Wonderland!

I also have noticed that the Children’s Village teaches me about sustainability and energy sources. Learn how Archimedes figured out how to draw water from the pond, watch the windmill take advantage of the Wyoming weather, and see a water mill spin using gravity to its advantage. Andy and I like to use the hand pump to fill watering cans to help water the garden! The Children’s Village also has classroom space and a greenhouse for additional learning opportunities, for a very affordable price!

I always have my mom check the calendar of events before we go. I know CoVid-19 has goofed up the programming plans lately, but the Botanic Gardens has been surprising folks with activity announcements on Instagram (@CheyenneBotanic) the day before the event - sometimes I get lucky! They have had such fun classes and activities in the past – hopefully we can get back to normal soon. Until then, pack your mask and keep an eye on social media!