Have a Budding Naturalist at Home? Bring them to Discovery Place Nature

Discovery Place Nature

Have little ones that live for the crunch of leaves under their boots or to put a found feather in their cap? Then Discovery Place Nature is the X on your treasure map.

The Museum is a paradise for young explorers of all ages with experiences, programs and spaces that meet your children at their level.

Engaging and fun, the Museum is a self-selecting adventure. Depending on your young naturalist’s interests, mood, the season or your amount of time, there’s always the opportunity to curate your own journey.

For the love of learning

Childhood and curiosity are inseparable. Nurture your naturalist at a place where looking is learning, and asking a question gets a response that helps builds confidence.

Ornithology, herpetology, botany, astronomy – pick a field or explore them all. Participate in a scheduled show or unstructured play – learning can be something as simple as having a free-flying butterfly leave your hand to land on a flower. Watch as a question forms: Why did it pick that flower? Why do they love bright sunny days? Did you know butterflies taste with their feet?

Explore the natural world in the big city

The Paw Paw Nature Trail weaves through 100-year-old woods. This is a path for hands-on inquiry; move a rock, observe the moss, learn about native plants and life from the forest floor to the tree canopy. The Trail is an opportunity for critical thinking during much-needed outdoor time.

It’s a world away even though the city skyline looms nearby. The old growth forest is home to raptors, including red-shouldered hawks and barred owls. Not to be outdone by those above, spring wildflowers like bloodroot and mottled trillium bring the wild to your child and put a world of learning at their feet.

Dig in

Go ahead, get muddy. Play is learning in early childhood and Fort Wild is built on fun and free thinking. This is one place you don’t have to worry about wiping your feet before you come in.

The outdoor spaces are great places to learn at your own pace. Whether your child is an independent learner who likes to figure things out on her own, or more collaborative and motivated by friends to find a solution, there are many ways to investigate in the woods.

Set up camp, step onto the outdoor stage, make music or get your hands dirty doing a little container gardening. Fort Wild is just the framework; your child decides how to grow.

If today is a day for exploring indoors, Our Big Backyard combines creativity and connectedness. The hands-on exhibits in this area of the Museum emphasize the concept that what you do above ground affects animals living below ground.

Take flight

Whether your naturalist is interested in space or winged wonders, we’ve got you on our radar.

Butterflies are free flying in Butterfly Pavilion, bees are buzzing during the certified Beekeeper Q&A and, of course, you can blast into space in the planetarium for Seasonal Stargazing or with Larry Cat in Space.

The Museum’s programming has the magic touch of appealing to a wide age range, making it great for siblings to learn together. Live Alligator Feedings engage at any age; a guided tour of the night sky or the Paw Paw Nature Trail works for just about everyone; reading a book in Peetie’s Place can be customized for toddlers and elementary ages, as can Beginnings, which helps your budding naturalist understand the lifecycle of many different animals.

Inspire creativity

Creativity is encouraged at the Museum; results come from courageous exploration when the seed of inspiration is planted.

In The Naturalist Lab kids can interact with specimens such as scat and skins, zoom in using the Wentz-scope or rock on examining plants and geology samples.

The Sci Pod is a mobile activity cart that updates frequently to roll real treasures into your little one’s visit. Kids are encouraged to touch model skulls or enjoy the hands-on experiment of the day. The concepts presented with the cart stick because they are not diluted but also not presented in an overwhelming way.

Plan a visit and make sure to pack your curiosity, creativity and sense of adventure – a lifelong love of learning awaits!

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