Roger Williams Park Botanical Center open for Holidays in the Park, Dec. 12

Event features 65 poinsettia varieties, decorating demos, visit from Santa

PROVIDENCE – November 29, 2010 – The University of Rhode Island and the City of Providence will host Holidays in the Park at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center on Sunday, Dec. 12 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to celebrate the holidays.

Admission is free for those who bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank.

The event will feature a display of 65 varieties of poinsettias, a visit from Santa at 1 p.m., craft activities for children, music, prizes and more. URI Master Gardeners will lead demonstrations of how to create holiday wreaths, table centerpieces and a boxwood table tree.

December 12 is National Poinsettia Day. The poinsettia is one of the few flowers in North America that can claim its own day thanks to Joel Roberts Pionsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico. It is Roberts who is credited with bringing this traditional holiday gift to the United States.

Opened in 2007, the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center is the largest public indoor display garden in New England, encompassing about 12,000 square feet of flowers, rare plants, waterfalls and unique exhibits, including carnivorous plants and towering palm trees. It was voted the Best Urban Oasis by Rhode Island Monthly magazine.

The Mallon Outreach Center at the University of Rhode Island provides horticultural and environmental programs at the Botanical Center, including guided tours, Learning Landscape field trips for schoolchildren, gardening classes and urban agriculture workshops for adults, and other special events.

For more information about the Holidays in the Park event, call the URI Outreach Center at 401-874-2900.