Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve

One of the benefits of currently living on the Forgotten Coast here in Florida is enjoying all the natural beauty around us.

This weekend we took a family field trip to nearby Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve. Located near East Point, FL just before you drive over the Apalachicola Bay to St. George Island, this Reserve has an incredible Nature Walk, an Overlook for observing the Bay, and a wonderful Nature Center with lots of specimens, exhibits as well as aquariums.

Welcome to the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve (ANERR)!
The littles exploring the Nature Trail.
Purple Martin houses near the Bay Overlook.
The kids loved looking across the Apalachicola Bay at St. George Island.
After thoroughly exploring the Nature Walk and the Bay Overlook, we headed up to the Nature Center.
The boys were amazed at the size of this whale backbone that was found.
This wonderful interactive map showed the various boundaries for nearby parks and reserves and sensitive areas.
Aquarium residents Horseshoe Crab and Atlantic Stingray. We loved watching them interact!
diamondback terrapin
Aquarium resident Diamondback Terrapin.
water collection
ANERR collects rain water and it’s quite the show! There are two pipes for observing water moving from the roof to cisterns below the building, where it is used for flushing toilets and other non-potable uses.
activity guide
My book worm already working on the Activity Guide she got from the gift shop.





Explore:The Wolf Wore Shoes

We had another fun visit to Friedrich Wilderness Park for the Explore class this week. This month’s topic was “The Wolf Wore Shoes” – this was an exploration of animals in children’s literature.

The kids explored several book selections and discussed whether the animals in the books were 1) real animals doing real things, 2) real animals doing imaginary things (like wear cloths) or 3) imaginary animals doing imaginary things. Kyri had a blast!

After the classroom portion, everyone went for a nature walk at the park, exploring the plant and animal inhabitants there. I managed to keep up with Kyri even though I was wearing Julian the whole time and carrying Ender a fair amount too. He loved the nature walk!

If you haven’t checked out the classes offered through San Antonio Natural Areas, you are missing out!





Dinosaur Stampede at San Antonio Botanical Garden

We are big fans of San Antonio Botanical Garden – we love visiting, seeing the exhibits they offer during the year, and taking advantage of the wonderful homeschool classes they offer.

This fall, there is a wonderful exhibit – Dinosaur Stampede,which runs from September 1st through December 31st 2012. Large dinosaur models are located throughout the Garden. For more information, check out the brochure on SABOT’s website.

We visited the Garden this Saturday (September 1st) for the opening day activities. There were plenty of games, crafts and educational material for children as well as the whole family. Kyri had a blast decorating a dinosaur mask and a pair of T. Rex feet. She loved the dinosaur obstacle course and didn’t get caught once in the tar pit! We were able to see plenty of fossilized wood and coprolite (that’s fossilized poop…) and Kyri even got a small piece of fossilized wood to take hom for her collection.

We managed, even with all the activities, to make it around the Garden and check out all most of  the dinosaurs on display. As I went through our pictures and matched them to the exhibit guide I realized a couple that we missed – we somehow managed to miss the Tropical room and their dino inhabitants! Luckily we will be back in two weeks and will be sure to visit all of the dinosaurs again. All I can say is, with prehistoric millipedes being several feet long (somehow I missed a pictures of these scary beasts!), I am really glad we weren’t around back then!

San Antonio Botanical Garden offers a curriculum guide for the exhibit. We didn’t use this for our initial visit since it was the opening day, but we are planning an upcoming visit with our homeschool group, so we will be utilizing some of the educational material provided before our next visit.

This was a girls day – just Kyri and I went, and we left the boys at home for the day. While I think Ender and Daddy would have had fun, it was awesome spending the day with just Kyri – she loved the undivided attention from Mom. When you spend all day with your children, it is definitely important to make time for this individual attention.

Allosaurus and babies.
Giant cockroaches – enough said.
A Nile crocodile.
Meganeura – a giant dragonfly.
The carnivorous Sordes.
Having a great time in the Conservatory.
The Dino Extinction obstacle course – the horsetail forest.
Watch for lava!
Don’t get stuck in the tarpits!
Fossils from Canyon Lake Gorge.
Discovering salt dough “fossils.”
Double cocunuts found on the Seychelles Islands.
Fun dino rubbings.
Kyri’s dino feet!
Playing Dino Bingo.
Kyri gets her face painted with a Hello Kitty mask. She was so happy!
We had a great day together!
Posing for mom.