Austin Nature Center

One of our all-time favorite places to go is the Austin Nature Center.  We have been going there a couple of times a year since D was a toddler. 

Located in downtown Austin, but with the feeling of being away from it all, this place has it all: animals, dinosaur bones, hiking trails, a nature center and more.  Perfect for boys.  And free, except for a small donation!

But in the last ten years, we have probably gone here at least 30 times; already explored every nook and cranny. 

So I was curious, when I gave the boys our potential list and asked them to pick their top favorites, if this one would get selected, or if they had finally outgrown it. 

When I received back their lists, filled with circles and stars, I was pleased to see it still got starred by both boys :o)  We have already gone twice this year, once in the early summer, and again when my brother was visiting.
Currently, the boys' favorite activity at the Nature Center is the Trade Counter - open every Wednesday through Saturday.  The basics of the trade counter is that the boys can bring in any manner of natural item: leaves, shells and most especially, bones they have collected during our hikes. 

There is a naturalist there (an amazingly patient woman) who works with the kids to help them identify the items, and then awards points.  These points can then be used to trade for other items. 

Just this summer, we have identified a mayfly carcass, a coyote femur, a cow bone (not brought in by us), a deer mandible, churt and some leaves.

Also at the Nature Center is a collection of live bees.  Some time last year, the queen swarmed, and the case sat empty for a couple of months, but they have recently refilled the case with new bees.  Every visit, we search to find the queen bee (identified with a white dot).  

 After spending quite a bit of time in the Nature Center (and exploring all sorts of odd things), we usually briefly dig through the dino pit, walk around the fish pond, swing by the animals, small wonders and bird of prey, and then head to the back area for a nice hike.

There isn't a whole lot new to us; we know the name of the pacing coyote (Martha), and how many barn owls they have. 

We know the way to the really cool hike that gives a great view of Austin, as well as the lower trail, that allows you to hike up a cliff side on the way back. 

We know that the bats outside the Natural Wonders aren't real.  And the location of most of the bones in the dino pit. We even knew when the bees had swarmed from the hive - and were thrilled to see they had brought in a new one just days ago. 

But yes, after all these years, we still enjoy it.   And it still tops our list :o)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Blogging tips