News 13 Children's Garden opens at Central Florida Zoo

By Stephanie Bechara, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, October 23, 2015, 10:02 PM EDT

News 13 has partnered with the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens to create a new play area designed for families.

Chief Meteorologist Bryan Karrick and Meteorologist Maureen McCann helped cut the ribbon Friday to officially open the News 13 Children's Garden, a sensory-rich play space for families that encourages children of all ages to dig, explore and play in a beautiful garden environment.

The garden includes an area for playing in the sand, a natural obstacle course and a butterfly garden filled with flowers and plants which attract butterflies.

“So we have a dig area, we’ve got water areas,” said Stephanie Williams, the director of education for the zoo. “We have an art station, we have discovery stations where we have natural botanicals. We have a sensory garden and lots of butterfly plants and a pond, water features, all kind of good stuff.”

The News 13 Children's Garden will be open to guests at the Central Florida Zoo daily, and the zoo's Education Department will use the garden for its programs, including the new Sprouts and Seedlings Nature Play program.

"The Zoo's mission is to be an education resource, and with News 13's generous sponsorship we are able to offer an interactive garden area where children and their families can engage in the wonders of nature," said Philip Flynn III, president and CEO of the Central Florida Zoo.

The zoo has been a not-for-profit conservation since 1975, it contains 500 animals that represent more than 200 species.

This new garden is meant to be an educational resource. Kids had a say in what became part of this interactive garden.

“It took about 6 months, 6 to 8 months. It was a lot of teams working together to build this area,” Williams added.

Photo Gallery: News 13 Children's Garden Grand Opening


News 13 Chief Meteorologist Bryan Karrick. (Michelle Hibbard, Staff)


"Dig. Explore. Play." (Michelle Hibbard, Staff)


Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens CEO Philip Flynn III, right, speaks at the grand opening of the News 13 Children's Garden. (Michelle Hibbard, Staff)


(Michelle Hibbard, Staff)


(Michelle Hibbard, Staff)


(Michelle Hibbard, Staff)


(Michelle Hibbard, Staff)


(Michelle Hibbard, Staff)


(Seminole County Regional Chamber of Commerce)


(Seminole County Regional Chamber of Commerce)


(Seminole County Regional Chamber of Commerce)


(Seminole County Regional Chamber of Commerce)


(Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens)


(Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens)


(Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens)