Wolf pelt and skull
We had a very long winter this year in Maine. I'm talking the longest, coldest, and snowiest I can remember for at least the past 10 years. When that happens I start getting cabin fever - big time! This year my cure was simple. Plan some fun field trips for the late spring/early summer. I really needed something to look forward to.
The first one I planned was to the Maine Wildlife Park in Gray. This is a great animal park and we've been here quite a few times. They house only animals now found or once found in Maine so it's also a great way to get in some "Maine Studies."
They also offer various classes on things like "Meet a Live Bald Eagle" (very cool!) or "Owls & Owl Pellets" (yup, did this one too). The classes are for anywhere from 25-75 students. Typically when I coordinate a group to go, we make up only part of a class.
However, this time I decided to keep it wide open and see if I could max out a class. I had scheduled one on "Wolves & Mountain Lions." I posted on all the Maine homeschooling Facebook groups I belong to as well as sent out emails to all the Maine homeschooling Yahoo groups I participate in as well.
The response was overwhelming. I originally had 144 people, including children under 3 who get in for free, signed up. Unfortunately, a few families couldn't make it, but we still had 112 people coming through the gates. I must say, I was impressed and also thankfully it went so smoothly.
This is only part of the group that was there!
I'm sure the weather forecast played a big role. There was a 60% chance of rain most of the day. Thankfully it held off through the class which is held in an outside pavilion and for us to take a quick run through the park. As I mentioned, we have been here numerous times, so it was fun just to go through to see what was new and check out the animals. It started raining just as we left.
Being a ham
The class was interesting. Even though it was more of a lecture style, the educator (who has done all the classes we have taken so far) does well to keep the kids attention and include them when possible. For instance, she had one little boy take a tape measure and back up 20 feet to show the distance a mountain lion can leap. Very impressive!
We grabbed a quick snack and began a whirlwind tour of the park. We were trying to fit in as much as we could before any rain hit!
This is one of the only times we've ever seen the fox. They were in his (her?) enclosure weed-whacking and this poor creature was as far from that as it could get!
When we first went by this baby moose, it was all the way to the back of the enclosure. We walked up and saw the adult moose and when we came back, this little girl had wondered down to see us.
There is a bubble-gum-like machine that dispenses dog food (for twenty-five cents) that you can toss to the bears. They will sniff out each little nugget and snag it. It was such a cool day that they were out and about and trying to grab as much food as they could find.
My middle son just finished reading all the My Side of the Mountain books and loved them. He was eager to check out the peregrine falcon. It was hanging out on this stump fluttering its wings at us.
The turtle exhibit has this metal turtle and we always get photos on it. Although, this visit, only my youngest was eager to hop up there and pose.
June 2014 - age 10
September 2010 - age 6
There is a chainsaw artist who creates sculptures for the park. This is a new eagle one just outside the eagle enclosure. In fact, you can see the bald eagle hanging out in the back.
My oldest trying to tell me how hard it is to push the stroller with a lightweight two-year-old in it. I'm not buying it, son. Not buying it at all. This is also proof that my 17-year-old does still come on field trips with us.
This turkey vulture was just hanging out - fanning it's wings. We theorized that it was trying to distract us from the other two in the enclosure who were attempting to eat. Either way - it worked and we got a relatively good photo.
A bunch of hams - okay - I admit to suggesting the photos...
This was a really fun day. While this was the first field trip I planned this winter, it actually wasn't the first taken. I'll share that next. We have one more coming up in a couple weeks as well. It's sure to be fun. We'll be taking tours of replicas of the Nina and the Pinta!