2019: Toys & Games

Come play at Reiman Gardens!  This year, each season brings new toys and games for all ages to learn about the wonders of nature.  Tiptoe through over 55,000 springtime tulips, revolve through the Conservatory for an orchid show that’s sure to surprise, frolic amidst orbs of herbs, and enjoy special events and programs teeming with revelry.  Finally, bring the family out for cooperation and competition, fascinating finds, hands-on horticulture, pleasurable puzzles, and active art, as we host an exciting new exhibit created in collaboration with ISU Architecture.  Whether you‘re seeking fun, rest, inspiration, or knowledge, Reiman Gardens has just what you need. Are you game?

interactive exhibit: “Nature of the Game”

throughout Reiman Gardens April 27  – October 6

Help us celebrate ecology through play with a new collection of larger-than-life outdoor games. Created by Reiman Gardens in collaboration with ISU Design faculty and students, this series puts an ecological and artistic spin on familiar favorites. From oversized tile puzzles to gorgeous hidden picture sculptures to giant food web chess and more, have fun playing games that demonstrate the balance, beauty, and connectedness of nature.

Scavenger Hunt: inspired by I-SPY or scavenger hunt – Visitors can explore different biomes in the United States and learn about the plants and animals that live within those biomes by searching for certain images within each piece.



Morphing Morphology: inspired by a cryptex – This simple game allows visitors to match plant species through the different plant characteristics of native range, leaf, flower, fruit and seed. Each of the five wheels has eight different trees common to North America that visitors align by color and morphology.


Photosynthesize: inspired by a balance ball maze – Photosynthesize is a team based game where the strategy is to work together to pivot and tilt the maze, moving the ball to a series of designated spots. Visitors work together to navigate a ball through the six required elements completing the cycle of photosynthesis. One to eight people can work to balance the ball and maneuver through an organic maze to reach all six checkpoints marked with a different element. This maze form is inspired by the veins of the ubiquitous red maple tree leaf viewed at a microscopic level.


Food Web Chess: inspired by chess – Chess has been played since ancient times and is one of the few truly international games. This version of chess includes a twist where the pieces represent animals from different parts of the food chain. Once the game starts, one goes through multiple food chains and creates a food web, illustrating the interconnectivity of nature.


Cause and Effect: inspired by a sliding tile puzzle – Tile puzzles are often used in the form of small hand held mechanisms that usually depict an image, phrase, or ordered number set when completed. The puzzle pieces slide up, down, and side to side within the frame of the device. These large-scale sliding tile puzzles draw connections between different biomes and their biggest threats. There are two different difficulty levels for different ages. The double sides create the cause-and-effect component of the game. Once one side is completed, the other side is scrambled. When one biome is fully visible, its threat is diminished, and vice versa.


Consequence: inspired by Kerplunk – Consequence is a representation of human impact on the environment. The balls are surfaced with relief patterns of endangered species while the poles of the game represent negative human actions. As the individual removes each pole, balls may tumble down.  The message of this game is that some human activities can result in the destruction of natural ecosystems, which are kept in a delicate balance.


BEEd Maze: inspired by a bead maze – Bead mazes offer simple amusement to children as they push small beads around twisted and interwoven metal rods. Visitors can experience this simple toy in human scale with an educational component!  The BEEd maze illustrates the process of pollination while acting as a toy. The twisted poles are arranged in different shapes and heights. Bees will be pushed around the system as they “pollinate”. The BEEd Maze is scaled to be used by all ages, but especially toddlers and young children.


Connect Food: inspired by Connect 4 – In Connect Food, one player is a moth and the other is a butterfly.  Each player has to align four of their own disks, and each disk has an imprint of either host plant, caterpillar, adult butterfly, or nectar (food) plant. In order for the player to win, he/she has to align all four needs of their moth or butterfly (in any order).


Dice Sculpture – A large-scale sculptural piece relative to game playing – this ubiquitous game piece is a visual that the exhibit is game-themed!



Playing Cards Photo Op – Playing cards beautifully designed with a botanical theme allow visitors to become one of the card faces and post it on social media for everyone to see the fun!


Puzzle Cube Play House – A play off the classic puzzle cube allows young children to play inside a highly recognizable cube easily identified across the world!



garden display: “Game Time”

in the Hughes Conservatory from August  23 – November 16

As summer turns to fall, we welcome cooler days and longer nights, warm apple cider and vibrant leaves. But for Cyclone fans, fall means one thing… IT’S GAME TIME. While the football team hits the gridiron next door and students return to campus classrooms, feel the energy build in our Conservatory with our giant game clock sweeping over a field of cardinal and gold surrounded with seasonal edibles. Join us to celebrate the best season yet, whether you love football or flora.

garden display: “Herbs & Orbs”

in the Herb Garden starting mid-May

The sphere is one of the most playful shapes. For centuries, balls of various sizes have been thrown and caught, rolled, spun, batted, swatted, bounced, and moved into targets with sticks. Herbalists even combine aromatic and medicinal plants into rounded bath bombs and distill them into droplets of essential oil. This summer, circulate through the Herb Garden to see orbicular plants like bulbin fennel, lobose alliums, and traditional topiaries.

garden display: “Light Bright”

in the Campanile Garden starting mid-May

Named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Greatest Toys, Hasbro’s Lite-Brite from 1967 was a simple grid back lit by a light box covered in black sheets of paper. The paper could be punctured by tiny colored pegs, revealing small circles of brightly colored light in pre-designed patterns or freely creative images. This garden space is inspired by those tall colored pegs rising out of the dark in celebration of color, fun, and imagination. Black plantings can be a challenge, but we’ve combined the darkest coleus and salvias with black peppers, petunias, pennisetum, and more as a base for flower “pegs” in red, blue, orange, white, green, yellow, pink, and violet.

garden display: “The Five Senses”

in the Children’s Garden starting mid-May

Our five senses work together to give us a complete picture of the world around us. Delight all your senses by exploring this garden space: we invite you to gently touch, smell, see, hear, and sometimes even taste the various plants we’ve grown here.

TOUCH: Which plant is the fuzziest? The roughest? Which one reacts to your touch?
SMELL: How would you describe the scents in this space? Which plant smells best? Worst?
SIGHT: What patterns and colors grab your attention? Which plants turn to face the sun?
SOUND: What do you hear? Which plants make noise?
TASTE: Look for signs inviting you to taste – which parts of each plant are edible?

garden display: “Fruit Ninjas”

in the Home Production Garden starting mid-May

Fruit Ninja® is an addictive, digital fruit slicing game by Halfbrick that depends on one basic principle – that you know the difference between a fruit and a bomb. That’s easy. But do you know how to distinguish a fruit from the other plant parts (roots, stems, leaves, flowers and seeds)? In botany, the FRUIT is the mature ovary of flowering plants which contains ovules, or seeds, after fertilization. There is no such thing as a vegetable in botany– only other plants parts. You are currently surrounded by plants whose fruits we regularly slice and serve in salads, soups, and sandwiches.

photography exhibit: “Birds, Bugs & Blooms”

in the Garden Room Gallery opening January 3

Established in 1943, The Des Moines Camera Club has been dedicated to the pursuit of photographic excellence for more than seventy years! The club provides activities for those who wish to share, learn, or improve their photographic skills.

Our membership represents all levels of photography, from beginner to advanced amateur or professional. Our goal is to increase our knowledge of photography and inspire one another in our photographic activities. Programs, workshops and field trips are held regularly on a wide variety of subject matter. Photography competitions are held monthly.

Our camera club meets the first three Tuesdays of every month from September through May, except for December. The first meeting of the month is devoted to instruction, while the second and third meetings are competition nights. Visitors are welcome at all meetings.

Check the club webpage for the schedule, dates and location information:  www.dmcameraclub.com . Or connect with us on Facebook as well: Des Moines Camera Club