NORFOLK — Starting in July visitors to the Botanical Gardens will be able to view a special exhibit dedicated to designer dog homes titled: Barkitecture.

The purpose behind the exhibit, other than partnering with community organizations, is to teach children about the purpose of homes and how even animals have their own homes, said Kelly Welsh, spokeswoman for Norfolk Botanical Gardens.

The Botanical Gardens came across the idea while searching for more ways to bring dog-related programming to the gardens, she said.

“Dogs are part of the family and we are inviting dogs to experience things with the family,” she said.

While the dogs won’t be allowed to take up residence in the luxury homes, they dog houses will be on display to the public July through October, finishing with an auction where all the proceeds go back to the Botanical Gardens and people can take the dog houses home, she said.

Connecting children with nature is one of the main missions of the Botanical Gardens and teaching them that everyone needs a shelter, even their dogs, is an important part of the learning process, Welsh added.

The gardens partnered with several local companies to build the various dog homes and each of the companies will present their own spin on what a luxury dog home looks like to them, she said.

Notable partners this year are the newly opened Ikea, Dominion Energy and the Chrysler Museum.

In addition to the Barkitecture display, dogs are invited to participate in their Summer Sunday Dog Days program and Barks and Brews.

Each Sunday starting June 2 through Oct. 13, visitors to the gardens will be able to bring their pooch along to explore the exhibits for Summer Dog Days, Welsh said.

Barks and Brews will be on July 7, Aug. 14, Sept. 8 and Oct. 13..

To learn more about the dog-related and people-related programs the Botanical Gardens has to offer, click here.

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