Annmarie Sculpture Garden‘s 7th annual the Fairies in the Garden exhibit, which opened in April and closes on September 5, is a delightful attraction at an always-magical venue. With an outdoor natural play area under towering pines and an indoor Art Lab, Nature Nook, and exhibit gallery space, Annmarie is a great day trip for all ages.
My kids and I first made our now-annual trip to Annmarie after a friend mentioned it as a hidden gem at a Holistic Moms meeting and then wrote this review post about her adventure. It takes less than 90 minutes to get to Solomons, Maryland from the Woodrow Wilson bridge, so it’s easy to get there and back in a day. Our 2014 post has some ideas about other things to explore while you’re in the area.
Each visit to this special place, which is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution, is a little different with different artists creating unique fairy homes, and the indoor arts center with its rotating exhibits. Here’s a peek at what to expect if you go this summer before the Fairies in the Garden exhibit closes on September 5.
The Arts Center
Before you go exploring, get started at the Arts Center where you can pay the small admission fee and receive your sticker, get a copy of the map of the fairy homes — all 55 of them! – and activated your imagination with dress-up clothes, from butterfly wings to knight hats to tutus. There are also plenty of dress-up items, crafts, toys and objects of art for purchase, too.
If the weather is warm, you might want to do the outdoor activities in the morning and then return to the cool of the building and refill your water bottles. Be sure to check out the “Swarm: Invasion of the Insects” exhibit that runs through August 28. There are some amazing sculptures as well as paintings and installations, like a carousel seat of a cricket!
Click here for details about current and upcoming exhibits.
There’s a Nature Nook now that has a cool cave, terrariums, manipulatives and more.
And of course, leave plenty of time to make a craft – or two or three – at the Art Lab. This place is a gold mine of recycled materials. The special craft the day we visited was an Olympic torch, but kids can make anything they want!
The Summer Community Art Project is an inflated dome building that will be covered by stitched-together panels of recycled materials that visitors can decorate. Hannah Jeremiah, the current Artist-in-Residence, came up with the concept and was sewing the panels together the day we visited right in the exhibit space.
The installation will be on display September 17-18 during Artsfest.
Fairies in the Garden
Around the Arts Center and all along the wooded path of the outdoor sculpture garden are 55 fairy homes designed by artists and architects. Each is a unique work of art with its own sense of whimsy and beauty. It was inspiring to all of us to see the many different ways these creative people imagined fairy dwellings, including the Tooth Fairy’s home! This is the seventh annual Fairies in the Garden exhibit, which usually launches in April and closes on Labor Day.
It was also pretty cute to see even the three-year-old in our group get excited about reading the map and looking for the numbered houses!
The Fairy Lolly
At any time of the year, the Fairy Lolly is a magical play space shaded by tall trees that carpet the ground softly with pine needles. In includes wooden houses, stump paths, a stage where our crew put on a rousing performance, a teepee and a sandbox plus hanging bamboo and other musical features. The kids in our group made great use of the toy cart that providedJessica Claire Haney is the founder, publisher and editor of Mindful Healthy Life. She is a writer and editor and a co-leader for the Arlington/Alexandria chapter of Holistic Moms Network. Her personal blog is Crunchy-Chewy Mama and her writer’s site is JessicaClaireHaney.com. See the Contributors page and Jessica’s Mindful Healthy Life Q&A for more on Jessica. “stilts,” bouncing balls, and hula hoops aplenty!
More in the The Woods
In addition to the play area and the fairy homes, it’s just really cool to find works of art in the woods! There are so many interesting sculptures!
In several spots are benches with artist impressions of different types of leaves.
At the Arts Center, we were given a laminated poster of “Tree Pops” which showed the complete works of art that were excerpted in small sections of trees, nearly hidden and a delight to discover. There is nothing as cool as a small child pointing and yelling excitedly: “Art!”
There’s also a very cool bridge. Go slowly and read the text if you can!
And the Demas Family children’s garden and play house.
And don’t miss Gnome Village!
Annmarie is a place like no other. Go early and plan to spend the day!
Looking ahead at Annmarie
There are still some summer camp sessions remaining, and Annmarie offers homeschool programs and field trips and much more. Upcoming activities at Annmarie include Eco-Explorations for Families on Wednesday, August 17, a Maker’s Market on September 3, Arts Fest September 17-18 – where Hannah’s installation will be on display, Halloween in the Garden on October 29, and an ornament show & sale November 17 through January 1, Garden in Lights December 2-January 1. Visit www.annmariegarden.org for more information.
Artist rendering of Inflatable courtesy of Annmarie Sculpture Garden.
All other images copyright Jessica Claire Haney.
Jessica Claire Haney is the founder, publisher and editor of Mindful Healthy Life. She is a writer and editor and a co-leader for the Arlington/Alexandria chapter of Holistic Moms Network. Her personal blog is Crunchy-Chewy Mama and her writer’s site is JessicaClaireHaney.com. See the Contributors page and Jessica’s Mindful Healthy Life Q&A for more on Jessica.