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Outside: Sports, Activities, Events

September 23, 2004

Flower power

Stop to smell the roses. Tomorrow, after a two-year, $4.8 million renovation, the Baltimore Conservatory and Botanic Gardens reopens.

The Palm House (which contains palm trees from around the world) and the Orchid Room - both built in 1888 - have been refurbished. Two new pavilions connect these structures to three redesigned greenhouses so visitors can see all of the vegetation without going outside. These connector pavilions will serve as public spaces for town meetings or can be rented for weddings or business functions.

One greenhouse now features Mediterranean plants - including protea, a large olive tree, and Australian acacia. The middle one houses tropical plants and has curving paths that take visitors to a pond and a waterfall. The last house has a harsh desert feel, angular paths and contains cacti and other desert plants.

Hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Sundays. There is a suggested $2 donation.

The Baltimore Conservatory and Botanic Gardens is in Druid Hill Park, near the intersection of McCulloh Street and Gwynns Falls Parkway. Call 410-396-0180.

Hike of delights

On Saturday, the Irvine Nature Center's hiking club will tackle a 6-mile trail in Baltimore County's Soldiers Delight Natural Environment Area. It will be led by a naturalist from the nature center, and hikers will see rare serpentine grasses and other unique Maryland ecology on the trail.

Wear sturdy shoes and comfortable clothes, and bring water and trail snacks. The group will meet at the Irvine Nature Center parking lot at 8:30 a.m. and drive to the trailhead. Call to register for the hike. There is no fee.

The Irvine Nature Center is at 8400 Greenspring Ave. in Stevenson. Call 410-484-2413 or visit www.explorenature.org.

Lost and loving it

Wander through the North Run Farm corn maze this weekend. It includes 2.5 miles of twists, turns and false ends on a five-acre field. Also, the farm has a pumpkin patch, hayrides, a farm zoo (cows, lambs, chickens and pigs) and a mini-maze for children.

Hours are 2 p.m. to dark on Fridays, and 10 a.m. to dark on Saturdays and Sundays. Cost is $7 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under, and free for children under 3.

North Run Farm is at 1701 Greenspring Valley Road in Stevenson. Call 410-241-3392 or visit www.northrunfarm.com.

- Annie Linskey

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