Winter can be hard. The dreary weather often pulls the liveliness right from my body and mind. I admit that our family used to become way lazier than we should have during the colder months, opting for the coziness of our couch and blankets. However, we weren’t doing ourselves any favors by confining ourselves to the house. We needed to shake things up a bit and turn our negativity towards winter into something positive.
So I remembered the times my dad had taken me for walks at the local nature center during the fall and winter. They were good memories that stuck with me; trekking through the multi-colored autumn leaves that crunched beneath my feet, the crisp smell of fresh air and approaching winter, the faint sound of the babbling creek in the distance. I loved it all even after snow began coating the ground.
I wanted to expose my family to these experiences I’d had as a child. One chilly day, we bundled up and prepared ourselves for an adventure. It was a great day, and we’ve been faithful patrons of the nature center ever since.
After working a grueling shift at the hospital, my husband enjoys going for a long walk there so he can come home with an unburdened mind.
It can also be a new and creative date spot. My husband and I like to go for a short hike together, converse in a relaxed atmosphere, and enjoy take-out from our favorite Mexican restaurant at the picnic tables.
My favorite part of going to the nature center is being there as a whole family. I love to see the expression on my son’s face when he sees a majestic, 6-point buck and a doe quietly drinking from the nearby creek. The nature center has opened a world of natural wonders to a little boy from the city.
Be sure to research what your local nature center has to offer. The Stage Nature Center that we visit has some interesting events available like the “Maple Syrup Time” program that demonstrates how natural syrup is made, explains the vast uses of maple syrup, and has tastings of fresh maple cream and syrup.
Stage Nature Center also has some great programs for children like Knee-High Naturalists, Junior Naturalists, and even home school nature programs. For a little over an hour, children are educated on themes like animal tracks and bird watching. I love that parents and grandparents are permitted to join the classes as well. A Full-Moon Hike is also currently being offered – a very cool option for a date night!
Get out there, and enjoy the world we live in. There are new experiences and things to see every season of the year. Breathe in the fresh air, and be sure to take a moment for you. Go for a stroll with your significant other. Take your kids on a scavenger hunt to find specific animals, trees, plant, rocks, etc. I highly recommend researching local nature centers and parks to see what outdoor activities are available to you and your family.
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