Monday, March 03, 2008

Nature Fest 2008

We went to Nature Fest 2008 this weekend at Jesse H. Jones State Park. We'd been there last year, too, and really enjoyed it.
These animal heads were donated by a man upon his death for the education of children. The kids are allowed to touch, take photos of, even kiss these animals. We learned about horns and antlers - horns continue to grow each year and have a removable sheath while antlers are shed each year. The shed antlers are quickly eaten by other animals.

We were at the nature fest for about hours and Alexandra made friends with this little girl. Here, they are playing a game where you match the paw print to the animal. They played it 3 times!

We went on one organized walk - an insect walk. This is a cricket I found. The guide taught us how to tell a female cricket from a male cricket - the female has a long ovipostor which is easily seen. I was so excited when we found several more crickets and I was able to show the children which were males and which were females!

On the insect walk, the guide took a net and went through a field of tall grass. She came up with LOTS of spiders! Then, the kids (Alexandra and her friend were at first the only kids - then a school group of about 40 kids joined us!) started finding all kinds of things on their own - including this large spider (over 1.5 inches long) and a little frog. The guide (a naturalist) told us it was either a grass spider or a nursery spider - you can't tell without looking at some internal organs.
Here's a very wiggly chrysalis that one of the girls found - she told me she did not pull it off of a tree branch, but I wasn't so sure. One of the guides put it up in a tree and hopefully it will emerge OK.

This is a sad photo of the trash in one of the ponds. I wish I would have got the shot while I was reaching for my camera - the turtle actually tried to bite this tube of Carmex! I wish we could have fished the trash out.

There were several hands-on booths - including this one where you could pet the baby alligator (ain't he cute?), a snake (I decided not to add a photo, but I loved letting the snake crawl around on me!), a turtle, hermit crabs, and blue crabs.

And, I don't think I've ever seen someone holding a scorpion! We learned something from her, too. The bigger the pinchers, the less venemous a scorpion is! She had a little bitty scorpion with small pinchers and she said he was much more venemous. Because they have large pinchers, they don't need as much venom.

This isn't as nice a photo - it is focused on his pinchers, though, and you can see hairs on the pinchers! Anyway, you can see the venom sack (I don't know if this is the correct term) by his stinger!
Here Alexandra is holding a hermit crab.

And, we learned from last year to go fishing FIRST! The fish get full and don't bite well in the afternoon. While we were at the pool for about 10 minutes, 3 kids caught catfish which are then put back in the pool. But, unfortunately, Alexandra didn't catch any.


live4evermom said...

I'm learning all these nice cool places to go to next year. I'm keeping track of all these parks so we can do that too.

Rhonda said...

That looks like an amazing outing. I am sure that both you and Alexandria had a great time. I loved the animal heads photo. You don't see something like that just anywhere. I would have been terrified of the scorpion, but did not know that the smaller the pincer the more the venom. We learned about the male and female cricket this year while studying insects, and couldn't wait to get outside and distinguish between them. Glad to see that y'all had such a good time and sorry that she didn't catch any fish. :0(

Cindy said...

What a fun looking trip!

Related Posts with Thumbnails