At the Heritage Museums and Gardens
If you were going to create a museum what would it include?
Perhaps a place that the whole family would want to go?
I would include indoor and outdoor spaces with attractions for moms, something for the guys, and interactive fun for the kids. Okay, I got it. How about beautiful gardens, an antique car collection, and a tree house? Sounds great right, and you know what, this museum already exists! I took my kids to The Heritage Museums and Gardens in Sandwich, MA last week and we all loved it. If you go, make sure to wear comfortable shoes because the gardens are vast (if you need them there are golf carts to take you from place to place). It cost $15 for adults and $7 dollars for kids over 2. We also payed $2 extra for each kid to participate in a nature class at the “Owl Academy” where they got to check out some worms, mushrooms, and listen to a story. The instructor read a great nonfiction picture book about decay called A Log’s Life by Wendy Pfeffer and illustrated by Robin Brickman.
This museum has an interesting history. For a log time it was the site of a modest family farm owned by different members of the Wing family. The next owner was Charles Dexter Owen who was a successful manufacturer of cotton blankets in New Bedford. He created beautiful gardens with the help of landscape architect Paul Frost. In these gardens you can see Owen’s vast collection of Rhododendrons for which he was a noted hybridizer of. Then came the Lilly family and the collections of Josiah Kirby Lilly of Eli Lilly and Co. The car collection was the original idea for the museum but other collections and attractions like folk art and a carousel were added to increase the museum’s mass appeal. The newest attraction and my kids’ favorite was the tree house and Hidden Hollow.
We went on a day they were open till 8 pm and stayed a long time. The kids spent forever in the outdoor water kitchen at Hidden Hollow. They also had fun testing out the wooden xylophones, building forts, and checking out some carnivorous plants. There is also a natural building blocks station, puppet theater, and of course the tree house at Hidden Hollow. One guide told us some families (that have memberships) frequent The Heritage Museum to play in Hidden Hollow in lieu of their neighborhood playground.
The car collection is housed in a replica of a round Shaker barn and each car is features with historic Hollywood influences. There is also a relocated windmill, mazes, a sculpture garden, a flume fountain by landscape architect Stephen Stimson, and many of the native and exotic plants and trees are identified, which I love.
If you are spending time on the Cape and have had your fill of the beach I definitely suggest you spend a day here! According to my daughter, “This place is paradise!”