Me and the little lady stopped by the Patuxent Research Refuge earlier this week for one of their free Tiny Tots programs. I was a little dismayed when I arrived and found that mine was the only car in the lot. “Had I gotten the date wrong?” I wondered. I immediately jumped to blaming my d@mN children. Always interrupting momma’s mornin’ coffee intake which = not functioning properly, which = systems fail, which = dates & time and everything bungled. Poor me. But not really. In fact, lucky me – because for once in my life, I had unwittingly managed to get me and my crew somewhere on time (in fact, an entire 30 minutes early).
Cars soon started rolling up and by the time the Tiny Tots “Nature and Music” program started, there were about 14 kiddos in attendance (ages ranging 0-4, I’d say). The program is described as a way for “children to learn about wildlife at the refuge through fun and interactive songs and rhyming.” After gathering in a semi-circle, instructor Ms. Diana Ogilvie kicked things off with some purdy fascinating facts about birds. For instance, did you know:
- An eagles nest can be as much as 4-5 feet long and can weigh as much as a car?
- Nest building is instinctual (so an orphaned chickadee raised by a welcoming family of sparrows will still build its nest just as a chikadee would do)?
- Some birds build their nests out of stones!?! Looking at you, Kildees!
We then were treated to a story about birds building nests and a song which involved clapping and the use of some pretty nifty rattles.
Just when I thought the program was winding down, Ms. Diana pointed to the middle of the room, where a circle had been made with blue tape. She shared that this circle represented the size of a typical eagle’s nest and instructed the children to help build the nest using some branches and twigs that had conveniently been left by the door. The catch: To mimic the eagles beak, they had to use large, plastic tongs to pick up and place the branches. (Yay sensory + tactile skills!)
Lastly, we headed outside to collect more sticks and catch some sunbeams on the Refuge on a wonderfully, sunny day.
Relatedy, even where there are no specific programs running, the Refuge is still a fun, free place to check out with the fam. They’ve been making a real effort to appeal to the younger crowd, with a small library of board books, coloring paper, and even a “Family Adventure Cart” – perfect for the 4+ crowd – which includes: Adventure Backpack, Scavenger Hunts, GPS Activity, Bug Kits, Field Guides, Binoculars and GPS Units.
When the spirit moves you, pack a lunch & head to the Patuxent Research Refuge to enjoy one of their many fine programs or to just stroll around outside and enjoy the great outdoors! 👊
To learn more about upcoming events at the Patuxent Research Refuge, visit here.
Patuxent Research Refuge – National Wildlife Visitors Center
10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop
Laurel, MD 20708
Open Daily 9:00 A.M. – 4:30 P.M.
CLOSED ON THURSDAYS