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Friday, May 20, 2011

Special Day: Richard M. Nixon County Park

Yay for Special Day!

I look forward to Friday afternoons all week, and so does the Jelly Bean. She was telling her preschool friends this morning all about it. Too cute. I hope she looks back on these little excursions, the way I surely will, with very fond memories of just me and her time.

The day started with sun, but it was brief, it wasn't long until the rain set back in. I'm so done with rain.

This meant that our usual outside adventures were cancelled, so we needed a drier, inside activity today... Nixon Park Environmental Education Center popped into my head so off we went.

I've never been there before, and was really surprised at the size of it. The park also connects to William H. Kain Park (Lake Redmond and Lake Williams).

This is a great park for the nature lover. Bird watching is a huge passion at this park and when we were going outside to walk (in a brief moment of sunshine) several of the park employees were outside trying to identify an elusive bird high up in the tree canopy.

The exhibits inside were fabulous! I was really surprised. I really need to spend some time looking at their butterfly and insect collection without the Jelly Bean in tow... can we say short attention span. This is just one corner of it, they showcase collections from around the world.

If you get squeamish with taxidermy this might not be the place for you. They have quite a collection. I was only able to photograph a small portion of it as the Jelly Bean was on a mission (she knew ice cream was our next stop).

I loved, loved, loved all of the hands on exhibits for the kids, especially since all I ever say is 'don't touch' every time we are out somewhere. They had several animal pelts and they were so amazing to touch.

The main exhibit room (photos above) was very large and the displays wrapped the entire room, showcasing animals from around the world, as well as some really great murals! Lots of information to read, and plenty of hands on items for the kids to touch.

There were even skulls (exhibits after my own heart)...

I loved all of the educational information, but did not have much time to read a lot of it... I'm sure you can guess why at this point. :]

This slice of a tree is from a 320 year old oak.
Arrows mark important happenings that occurred over the tree's lifetime.

There were also some live animal aquariums with some turtles and snakes. Beautiful snakes (my brother would have enjoyed them)... an Eastern Milk Snake, a Copperhead (venomous) and this pretty Corn Snake...

But the exhibit that captivated me the most was the live honey bee hive...

Amazing! You could feel and hear the buzzing through the glass. You can't see it, but at the bottom it's also see through and leads to an outside entrance. My heart was racing as I'm completely frightened of bees.

One more walk through the halls and we headed outside...

Outside is beautiful. There is a lovely stream that winds through the park, with plenty of trails (the longest is only 1.25 miles) for walking and observing wildlife.

And it wasn't hard to observe wildlife when it was looking right back at us...

This park is all about nature and observing it and we loved it.

We're coming back to walk the trails when the ground dries out some. Everything is too waterlogged and muddy right now.

Since we were just a few short miles from Perrydell Farm, we decided to stop in for some homemade ice cream.

In my opinion, they have the best peanut butter ripple ice cream in York.  

So we ended our afternoon, hanging out on the Perrydell porch, eating ice cream made from milk from the cows right out back. Now that's a special day.


threeseas7 said...

Great idea for a nice spring/summer day. Perfect little inexpensive day trip. Thanks for sharing!

cmv... said...

thanks C! I can't wait to go back and hike the trails. If you guys ever road trip let me know we can meet up. :]

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