Saturday, February 16, 2013

Rieth Interpretive Center

Thursday I stopped by the Rieth Interpretive Center on my way through Goshen. Current hours for the public are 10-3 Tuesday-Thursday. It's open to explore, use the wildlife viewing window, etc.

It already looks like Spring is getting closer.

My son pointed this "spiky" shrub out to me. I like that he is using vocabulary, noticing details in plants, and wants to share it with me.

Once inside, Aaron, the local forester, talked to me a bit about the center, mentioning some of the unique characteristics of the land. One section is slowly being turned over to prairie in front of the center.

There is a small ox bow with varying levels of water, a butterfly garden, a nature area, and a nearby geocache even. There are videos of animals in Elkhart county playing on the television sets. I was mesmerized by the story of a man who wanted to capture nearby animals on video. It's a great resource for the center to have. 

There are several interactive displays on nocturnal animals, fall and winter, etc.

I could read the animals of Indiana's Past exhibit again--so much to learn! It is neat that some animals, such as the white tailed deer and river otter, have successfully been reintroduced.

There are low tables with artifacts, rocks, books, etc. It's a perfect height for a three-year-old.

Many specimens were donated and found a home at the center to help educate others.

These insect displays were from 4-H exhibits! How neat is that. I almost want to bring my older boys in to show them what they can do. We'll be back.

There are a few taxidermy animals on display. And even a few live animals in tanks.

The wildlife viewing area is lovely!

There are at least 18 bird feeders, plus some squirrel feeders. There is a comfortable bench to sit on, reference books, pictures, stuffed animals, etc. The sound is piped in from outside. We saw many birds at once with a good variety of feeder birds. 

He just thought I needed to take his picture on a big rock!

The building has great design and feels newer inside. It's a nice facility. Beachy Classified Forest Trail is nearby. It is 34.5 acres, full of 23 tree species. 

Across the street is Shanklin Park. My kids love the castle like wooden play structure. We plan to return over spring break or this summer. My itinerary will mostly likely start with a hike in the Beach Classified Forest, a visit to the Interpretive Center (bathroom and water break included), a picnic lunch at one of the picnic benches, finding the geocache near the sign, and then heading over to Shanklin Park to play!