The woods welcome visitors with lists of Gene Stratton-Porter's books. I've enjoyed many of them! We stopped at the sounds of the night station first, feeling a coyote pelt and listening to various sounds we might hear in the night!
Decorations were all along the stroll, with ghosts, creepy hands, black cats, and more! It was dark by the time we left; however, there were some lights to illuminate the creepy features.
We were able to learn about bats at another station, seeing taxidermy bats, some in acrylic blocks, and learning more information about bats. They are often misunderstood. It was a nice evening for a stroll. Dressing up was bonus for the kids! Okay, they really liked all the candy they got along the way as well!
The fall colors were a gorgeous backdrop for Gene's garden! Soarin' Hawk Raptor Rehab was there to release several birds back into the wild and to educate us about a few birds that are injured and cannot be released. It was great to see the Red-tailed Hawk released! What a treat!
We also saw a couple of screech owls, both the red phase and the gray phase. They are a lot smaller and more common in this area than some of the other owls. Another bird was released as well.
Another station had a simulated night area--a fun place to crawl! We could also sort animals by nocturnal, crepuscular, and diurnal. I think we don't always realize there is greater variety than just saying nocturnal or during the day as far as habits of animals go. I know I've seen and heard some of them outside of the "typical" time.
Another station had salamanders, turtle shells, snake skins, frogs, and a toad. Fun to see these up close!
The fall colors over the lake were gorgeous!
Tours are available at the house during normal hours. It's neat to see how Gene might have lived, her book collection, and her attention to natural details throughout the home. It looks great in fall!
There was a craft station with spider web rubbing plates. I loved how they used glue to make a raised surface and enlarged the designs of smaller ones from the Growing Up Wild resource for additional ones.
The owl pellets were a hit! My 8-year-old son really took time and concentrated on getting out every single bone he could from the fibers! They matched up bones to the different animals that were on the chart and also took their baggie of bones home with them.
It's always nice to see owls out as well! We saw real ones and others that were preserved. The hot chocolate and popcorn, as well as a place to sit for a few minutes and listen to nighttime sounds.
I saw this tree walking around earlier and she let me take her picture. Love it! She even had leaves on her feet! There is also a display on the passenger pigeon upstairs as well. My children were surprised that an animal that had been so numerous that it covered the sky for 14 hours at a time while migrating is now extinct. This was a perfect end to remind us why we need to learn about our natural world and appreciate it. Thanks!
What did the kids like? The candy, of course! Digging a little deeper, they enjoyed seeing the birds of prey and their release, hearing the sounds of night creatures, and being outside in this beautiful fall weather!