Blake's Brainiacs: Science summer campers build their own terrariums

SAN ANTONIO – Where can you find cool stuff like a nest, giant pine cones, coconuts and the world's largest seed? They're all at the San Antonio Botanical Garden!

KSAT Meteorologist Kaiti Blake paid a visit to the garden's summer science camp in this week's edition of Blake's Brainiacs.

The seeds of knowledge planted into the minds of these youngsters include lessons about seeds, plants and the water cycle, and the kids had a bloomin' good time. They even learned how to build their own terrariums.

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Kaiti and Ella

A terrarium is a little garden inside a sealed transparent container. Because it is sealed, it has its own climate-controlled water cycle, so you don't have to water it for 10 years!

When you pour water into your terrarium, you've basically just made it rain, beginning the water cycle within your container. When you leave your terrarium in indirect sunlight, it helps the water heat up and turn into vapor through a process called evaporation. When the water cools down again, it becomes a liquid and goes back into the soil to water your plants. Bam! Water cycle!

The San Antonio Botanical Garden provided instructions for how to build your own terrarium at home (see below).

The science camp sprawled across several acres of the botanical garden — both old and new. Children learned about different climates in the garden's many observatories, from desert zones that house cacti and succulents to tropical climates home to orchids and vines. They also learned about photosynthesis and water conservation.

Science camp was just one of several children's camps offered by the garden from June through the beginning of August. This summer, about 250 kids participated in themed classes that focused on ecosystems, gardening and cooking with food grown on-site from the Children's Vegetable Garden.

And the garden is growing. Earlier this year, it opened the Family Adventure Garden, which features 15 spaces for kids to explore, including an interactive stream and a maze. The garden also opened its Welcome & Discovery Complex, a culinary garden and an outdoor kitchen. The new additions aim to provide more opportunities to learn about nature and the value of plants, water, freshly grown food and the outdoors.


• Children's Vegetable Garden (registration open now for fall session)

Nature Connects: Art with LEGO Bricks (Sept. 1-Dec. 31)

• Scarecrow Trail (Sept. 29-Nov. 11)

• BOOtanica plant sale (Oct. 27-28)

• Starlight Movies in the Garden (Sept. 28, Oct. 26)

You can find out more about these events and register your children for vegetable garden classes on the garden's website.

WEB EXTRA VIDEO: Watch Kaiti Blake make her own terrarium:

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