I do not know about you, but I am so ready to see summer turn into fall. I want to be able to spend time outside without sweating through my shirt. I want to explore the woods and hike with my kiddos. One place we love to spend a few hours exploring is the Warner Park Nature Center at Edwin Warner Park. It has two things we like to look for in places to explore: a real bathroom with running water and an indoor place to hang out if we get too hot.
One day right before school started, we happened to have a day below 90 where we did not have anything planned. Last minute, we headed toward the Nature Center. We wanted to check out a purple backpack to use while we explored. When we arrived to check out the backpack, we found that they had renovated the exhibits inside the Nature Center. My son was so excited. We did wait to explore it until after spending some time outdoors.
We checked out a backpack then explored the Story Walk. We love this little hike. It is easy enough for even my disabled daughter to complete with a little help. We enjoyed reading the book as we walked the shaded trail together. It nicely ends near a creek that was easy to access. We got out the net and container from the backpack and started turning over rocks to see some creatures. Most proved to be too fast for us. However, it was nice to cool off in the shallow creek and explore. We headed over to the pond area to look for frogs next.
When we got to that area, we found some bird watchers banding birds. They invited us over to see what they were doing and gave us a lesson about why they band the birds. It was really neat how they examine them to make sure they categorize them correctly. Then one of the ladies took us over to a nearby bush to show us the coolest caterpillars that looked like bird poop. She explained to us how long they would eat the leaves and then become butterflies. It was so cool. If you follow their website, you can see their schedule of events during the week and weekend. They do all kinds of neat nature events. Most are free – you just need to call and sign up. It is a great thing to do on a Saturday. We just happened to stumble upon them banding birds that day.
After playing in the pond area and having a snack on one of the nearby wooden tables, we headed back to the Nature Center. The first thing we had to check was that the tree you can go inside was still there. To my son’s happy heart, it was, he went right in and listened to all the animal sounds while he pushed buttons. My daughter and I sat on a new comfy bench and worked puzzles we found in baskets underneath the seats. My son then went and read some books in a bean bag chair under a display about soil. We walked under the river display and had fun finding the local insects and fish that were floating above us. It was so fun to be “under” the water and see a new view of them. We then made a habitat for little animals and explored the soil, tree display, fossils, gems, snakes, animals, and bone display. There is so much to touch, feel, and explore. We could have easily spent another hour or so playing with all the new things.
Sadly, hunger won out and we decided to head home and visit again another day. We returned our explorer backpack to the desk. We never had time to do the bird bingo game that was included, but we will do it next time. We did not make it to the dirt park either. However, I found out from a friend they have a new rope spider web to climb on in that area. If you go to the dirt park, do not forget your toy cars and shovels to play with. My kids love playing in the log cabin there too. I suggest hitting the creek or the hose outside the bathrooms before getting in the car after the dirt park.
We really enjoyed all the new displays. I highly recommend heading over to the Warner Park Nature Center one day this fall. They are open Tuesday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and are closed on Sunday and Monday and for most government holidays. However, Edwin Warner Park itself is not closed any day of the week, just the Nature Center.