by Billie Bidelman Little
In our neighborhoods and on city streets, we’re surrounded by the secret lives of bees and bunnies, squirrels and slugs – fascinating stuff, if we take the time to look and listen. This spring, make time to shake awake your sense of curiosity and explore nature.
Who can resist a secret? Most of us can’t. Tell a child you have a secret to share and their bodies wiggle to a standstill, they stop talking in mid-babble and their eyes loom large as saucers. The anticipation that surrounds a secret is palpable.
Animal Secrets treats your family to four different animal habitats to explore: a simulated stream bed, woodlands, a meadow and a cave that’s hiding geodes, raccoons, foxes and bats. Designed for ages 3 – 8, each area allows for plenty of hands-on play, chances to observe, look and listen, opportunities for imaginative nature play, and new ways to explore and investigate nature – all in a bug-free, temperature-controlled environment.
After a visit to the Chipmunk Den, the Raccoon Log, the Eagle’s Nest and the Discovery Tree, stop by the Naturalist’s tent to try out the tools of the trade, study animals skulls, butterflies and other natural artifacts. You’ll find you don’t have to be a serious bird watcher or trained naturalist to engage with nature – a willingness to observe and learn are all that’s needed.
After a visit to Animal Secrets, step out onto the wetland paths at Discovery Center and practice your newly-honed observational skills in the real world. At our house we always give kudos to every child who makes a “good spot” or nature sitting. Our three-year-old grandson, James, recently won us over by saying he had ‘kept his eyes peeled’ and spotted a cow on a recent car trip to our farm. At the Discovery Center wetlands, a cow is unlikely, but tadpoles and turtles are easy for little ones to find.
Secret Sneak Peek!
Special Member Preview and Guest Lecture
Thursday, May 30
6 pm – 8 pm
Guest Speaker: Dr. Diane Roddy Nelson, Professor Emerita at East Tennessee State University
There will be a ‘meet & greet’ with Dr. Nelson for exhibit sponsors, members, and media as well as light refreshments and time to explore the exhibit from 6 pm – 7 pm. Then staff will lead children’s activities in the museum during the lecture at 7 pm. Not a member yet? Join today!
Dr. Nelson is an internationally known marine biologist who has studied giant whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez, sand tilefishes in Belize, gobies in the Red Sea, ocean triggerfish, and convict fish in the Solomon Islands and Papua, New Guinea.
Animal Secrets was developed by OMSI (The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) and has both English and Spanish text panels. Animal Secrets is sponsored locally by the Rebecca and Jennings Jones Foundation.