Educational Fun at Linvilla Orchard's Fore! The Planet Miniature Golf
During the winter months, Linvilla Orchards in Media, PA, turns part of its large garden center into an indoor miniature golf course. Now in its fourth year, Fore! The Planet provides cold-weather fun for Delaware Valley families while it also teaches important lessons about the environment.
Each stop on the 18-hole course has a different environmental theme, created by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Players find out about evolution, dinosaur extinction, bird migration, and food chains, among many other topics.
I took my two boys, ages 8 and 11, on a recent Saturday morning to check it out. They first thing we noticed was how colorful and inviting the course looks. It fills the greenhouse, and the boys were really excited to get to each station and see what it was all about.
They happily dove right into the game after each selected his favorite color of golf ball and a putter. I was put in charge of score keeping.
The theme of the first hole is butterfly metamorphosis. We've raised butterflies at home before, and they talked about that experience. I immediately liked how the game got them thinking, rather than just competing, though there was plenty of the latter as well.
Some of the holes are on themes the boys knew less about before we played the course. My younger son stopped to check out the sign at hole 3 that's packed with information about how bats fly and locate prey in the dark without running into things and the many misconceptions people have about these creatures. Both of my kids really liked how each hole says your ball represents something to do with the theme, like the bat trying to make its way through obstacles. And the numerical stats on some of the signs were another big hit with my crew.
We spent a happy hour making our way through the course, finding out how bad we are at minigolf while we simultaneously discovered a lot about how our actions affect our natural world. Our conversations as we traveled from hole to hole ranged from how it's a good thing we have a recycling program in our township to how we can waste less water when brushing our teeth.
Fore! The Planet provides a great indoor play option for any day you're looking for a fun family outing. The course is open daily until April 3. Tickets are $4.95 for kids 10 and under and $6.95 for ages 11+.