Archive for August, 2011
Really, they are, especially when you’re a kid. But even as an adult this can still be true. I think we lose track of that in the busy world we tend to live in nowadays. I wish I could find an easy way to remind myself of this on a daily or, at least, regular basis — sometimes it helps to slow down and look for the fun (free) things that are out there waiting to be discovered and explored.
One of our favorite things to do that is free but which we often forget about in the rush to do so many other things is the creek at Mastodon Park. It’s a wonderful place to explore, splash about, hunt for crawdads and tadpoles and little fish, and just cool off on a hot summer day.
We always keep water shoes, towels and extra clothes in the car for just these sorts of stops. That way everyone get get wet and have fun without worrying about having to ride home soaking wet! We also tend to keep some extra tupperware bowls handy for chasing crawdads, etc.
It takes a lot of patience sometimes to find and catch the crawdads — Mac figured out pretty quickly that they like to hide under rocks.
Alex headed out to deeper water to try and snare a small fish but she found that they move fast! She never did catch one but she had a lot of fun trying and we talked about the different kinds of fish that might be found in the creek and how the different parts of the creek (shallow, deep, brushy areas, etc) provided different critters with the habitats they needed to survive.
It took them a bit to figure out that catching crawdads works better as a team — once they decided that they were able to catch several with both of them scooping together they did a lot better.
A couple of the crawdads they caught — they always name them, observe them for a while and then release them. A family who was there at the same time told the kids that they taste really good — Alex and Mac said there was no way they would cook their new friends!
The creek area is so pretty. There are also trails, a playground, picnic areas and just a lot of beautiful scenery. We really need to remember to visit more often to enjoy this part of our local natural resources. Or, as the kids say, let’s go have some fun!
Well, maybe not snuggling — but after petting the stingrays during a Saint Louis zoo visit both Mac and Alex came away with a much more positive view of them. Even I had to admit that they were pretty neat! One of the zoo workers explained to us that there were several different kinds of stingrays in the exhibit as well as four different kinds of sharks (small ones). The sharks never came close enough for touching but the stingrays are well trained to glide past whoever has their hands in the water.
It was a rather strange experience to stroke down their backs as they glided by — they have unusual looking eyes and to me they felt like wet velvet. The kids were fascinated and asked a lot of questions about what the stingrays eat and where they live — we walked around the perimeter and read the various exhibits which explained that they like various clams etc. to eat and they live mostly along the coasts of Florida, South America and Africa.
The kids had a great experience and learned a lot in the process.
Alex is in love with owls lately. She has almost finished the entire Guardians of Ga’Hoole series and has watched the Guardians movie so much she wore out the dvd (I told her to try and make the second one last longer!). She has expanded to reading non-fiction books about owls and collecting owls for her bedroom. She even has owls on her back to school messenger bag.
So it was really exciting when we went to the St. Louis Zoo recently and discovered an owl on display in the Children’s Zoo. Alex enjoyed talking the zookeeper about the owl but the biggest thrill was getting to actually touch it! I think I will add the book about Wesley the Owl to our reading list this fall, I read it and really enjoyed it, and it would probably give Alex a lot of useful information about owls like the ones at the zoo and how the zookeepers take care of them.
Isn’t he (or she) just gorgeous! S/he can’t be set free because of an injury which has left it blind in one eye.
And here is Alex getting to touch the little owl, I don’t think Alex is breathing here at all
- Baby Screech Owls Get Weighed (shoppingblog.com)
- Trend Alert: Owl Design Wisdom (casasugar.com)
- Baby Screech Owls (neatorama.com)
Alex tends to think of riding as being “her” talent and Mac should do something else and that’s that. So she wasn’t very happy when Mac got to ride Josh the other day at Dublin Farms (where Alex rides regularly) and said it was very “cool”. Alex subscribes to the theory that horses and girls are just meant to be together. Mac, on the other hand, thought Josh was just great and I must admit that he looked very happy and composed on his “steed”.