I made the most amazing, divine discovery last weekend – Indigiscapes! A Redlands City Council initiative, this environmental education centre is an absolute gem. The name is misleading as it is so much more than just a centre; it is a sprawling bushland paradise, brimming with local, native fauna and flora.
An endless assortment of activities ensures a fun filled day for the whole family, with the added benefit of an educational element. Take a picnic or make use of the onsite barbecue facilities while the kids explore the playground, flying fox, maze or interactive koala wall. Take a free audio tour (aimed at children but interesting for adults too) or amble along one of the nature trails (average 20 minute return journey).
There are a host of themed gardens to explore including the Butterfly, Coastal, Rainforest and Wild Herb garden, and in line with the native theme, a maze constructed of local native shrubs.
A nursery which is 100% volunteer run, has a small number of native plants for sale during normal business hours, but on the first Saturday of every month between 9am-12pm they have a big plant sale and all plants cost $2.10 regardless of size.
An information centre contains educational displays and information, with experts on hand to answer any questions. With so much to see and do and learn, a pit stop at the Tea Garden Café is the perfect place to refuel as you relax and unwind amongst the green scenery. Specialising in bush tucker flavours and native teas, they have a decent lunch menu, and a selection of home baked biscuits and cakes, including a heavenly Lemon Myrtle Coconut cake. Gluten free options are available and include Aussie favourite lamingtons and Orange Almond cake.
Finish your day with a stop at the Gift Shop which sells environmental books and CDs, bush tucker themed condiments, and locally produced artworks.
In addition to all of that, Indigiscapes hosts children's birthday parties, seminars/conferences, and any of the gardens are an idyllic location for a wedding and reception. They also offer onsite catering for all such events.
But it doesn't end there – children aged 8-12 can join the Indigikids Environment Club, which combines social interaction with a fun and interactive learning environment. There are also regular family friendly event days such as Frog Day on 29 April 2012, and the Annual Koala Community Planting Day on 26 May 2012; keep an eye on the 'What's On' Calendar for upcoming events, and for your chance to make a contribution to conservation.
Indigiscapes offers a fun and interesting way to get kids and adults outdoors and involved in the education, appreciation and conservation of our native plants, animals and environment. I had the best day exploring this native wonderland, and I commend the Redlands City Council for this invaluable initiative. And best of all, it didn't cost me a cent.