By the time we got our stuff ready and food packed, we were pretty late getting there and so we decided to start with what we missed the first time we went, the Xstrata tree-top walk.
This is a structure built amongst the trees with a long platform at the top that lets you walk amongst the treetops. Sounds wonderful? It was.
There was a fairly long set of steps to the top which the kids raced up. Being very unfit right now, I took the lift for disabled people, which was full of other non-disabled lazy people like me.
I am terrified of heights, so normally would be put off something like this, but the platform at the top was fenced on both sides and I felt safe. The platform forms a ring of sorts that snakes round the trees and makes its way back to where it started.
It's surprising how high the tree-tops are, I didn't look down too much because it was so far down. About half way across the walk, the platform started shaking. A group of ladies in front of me starting panicking a little. Without looking back I asked the kids if they're dad was shaking the bridge. Of course he was.
The walk from Xstrata to the next bit we wanted to see passed through a little Bamboo grove. I love these plants, there's something so neat about their smooth stems.
Getting anywhere in the park takes a lot of walking, I think we managed to go round in circles a few times despite the maps and signs. The Gardens offer wheelchairs at the various entrances, which we asked for my mum-in-law because she wouldn't have manage to get round the park herself.
The next place we wanted to go to was the greenhouse which houses tropical plants (Temperate House). These are surrounded by areas of formal gardens and a rose garden with a lake behind it and Kew Palace beyond that.
The greenhouse houses tropical pants, palms, ferns and tropical flowers and fruits such as bananas and mangoes.
I was pleased to spot this rather unassuming looking henna plant:
Underneath the greenhouse there is a small aquarium, which is a nice little bonus.
By the time we finished at the greenhouse and aquarium it was 5pm and the rest of the greenhouses including one with giant lily pads were closed. We spent another hour or so with the kids playing in the outdoor play area as the indoor play area had also closed.
This is easily one place where we would visit every summer. There is so much to do and it is so child/family-friendly. I did notice though that the last time we visited there seemed to be much more in the way of flowers, so I would recommend going in early to mid-summer.
You can see pictures from our previous visits of: Pagoda and Japanese Gardens, flowers, orchids and the marine life.