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  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Lucinda Glides on the Ice, is one of several snowpeople displays in the Botanical Conservatory's "Snow Day" exhibit.

  • One of the many displays in the Botanical Conservatory’s “Snow Days” exhibit that will be open through Jan. 7.

  • Pop Hooks One for Supper is one of several snowpeople displays.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette A Fishhook Barrel Cactus, dressed for the holidays, at the Botanical Conservatory.

  • A snowcat is at the Botanical Conservatory.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Isabelle, the snowwoman, feeds the birds at the Botanical Conservatory's Snow Day winter exhibit.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Kim Weldon, a gardener at the Botanical Conservatory, waters the poinsettia tree that is part of the "Snow Days" exhibit.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Dash and Theodore Take Turns is one of several exhibits that are part of the Botanical Conservatory's "Snow Days", which runs through January 7th.

  • Photos by Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Lucinda Glides on the Ice is one of several snowpeople displays in the Botanical Conservatory’s “Snow Day” exhibit.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Shelley Carpenter, left, of Fort Wayne, takes a photo of her mother, Diana Brown, right, of Anderson, while visiting the Botanical Conservatory's "Snow Days" exhibit.

  • Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette Farley, a snow dog in the Botanical Conservatory's "Snow Day" exhibit, shakes off the snow.

  • S’mores kits are sold at the Botanical Conservatory.

Friday, December 08, 2017 1:00 am

Botanical Conservatory celebrates 'Snow Days'

If you go

What: “Snow Days”

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday (Friday hours return to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. after Dec. 22); noon to 4 p.m. Sunday; closed Christmas and New Years Day

Where: Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, 1100 S. Calhoun St.

Admission: $5 adults, $3 children ages 3 to 17, free for children 2 and younger

When you walk in the front doors of the Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, your first instinct might be to duck. There's a snowball fight happening among the benches and tables.

Don't worry – you won't take a cold ball of ice to the back of the head while getting tickets. These are just figures, three of the 13 snowmen that are part of the “Snow Days” exhibit through Jan. 7.

The show is meant to evoke the fun of having a day off school, says conservatory manager Chad Shaw. Inside the Showcase Garden, visitors will find snowmen sledding, having cookies, skiing and more. One ice skates on a “frozen” pond while over a small bridge, another ice fishes. The fisherman is Shaw's favorite.

Physical plant supervisor Tom Hegge began work on the snowmen in August. Once they were built, volunteers came in and made clothing for the not-so-cold snow people.

“We weren't quite sure how we were going to pull off the snowmen eight months ago, but it came off pretty well,” Shaw says. “It's fun, it's playful.”

Visitors can pick up a sheet with photos of each of the snowmen at the front desk and have a scavenger hunt discovering all their names as they wander through the exhibit.

The snowmen are just the beginning, of course. This is the Botanical Conservatory, after all. The showcase garden display includes 2,000 poinsettias. That's six truckloads of the red, white pink and yellow plants. Midway through the show, the poinsettias have to be replaced with fresh plants from the greenhouses at Lawton Park.

Poinsettias can be found in the desert garden as well, along with wreaths filled with succulents. Plants throughout the gardens are decorated with lights.

Among the snowmen in the showcase garden are nine donated evergreen trees.

Visitors looking for a treat can buy a s'mores kit in the gift shop and head out to the patio between the conservatory and Embassy Theatre, where locally made marshmallows can be roasted over a fire pit.

There is a Suzuki Strings Holiday Concert at 2 p.m. Sunday. Breakfast with Santa events are sold out, but Santa and reindeer will be on hand for pictures on Saturday and Dec. 16 from noon to 4 p.m.

– Corey McMaken, The Journal Gazette