Audubon Nature Play Day to feature new attraction

JAMESTOWN — Audubon Community Nature Center’s Nature Play Days are always fun, but this month will be special.

On the third Saturday morning of every month, children ages two to eight and their favorite adults can drop in Audubon’s Nature Play Area anytime between 10 a.m. and noon. Children can explore unstructured outdoor play in a safe environment while their grownups learn how to continue the nature play experience at home.

This month participants will have the opportunity to scramble all over the most recent addition to the Nature Play Area: a climbable concrete turtle that weighs about 1500 pounds.

The 12-foot long creature was a gift from Mike Whitmire, the owner of Whitmire Outdoor Living in Starbrick, Pennsylvania, who designed, constructed, and delivered the turtle himself.

Unstructured play outdoors is beneficial to a child’s physical and mental development as well as their understanding and appreciation of the natural world. Unfortunately, concerns about safety, location, materials and the value of play are often barriers in creating these experiences. This program aims to inspire both kids and adults to make discoveries and feel more comfortable about the natural world through play.

Adults are required to stay with their children, and they may want to bring a chair, snacks and water or a drink.

Children need to be prepared to play outside, wearing clothes and footwear that can get wet and dirty. Families may want to bring an extra change of clothes or a towel for the car ride home.

While Nature Play Day is planned for rain, snow, or shine, in the case of severe weather, the program will be cancelled; call 569-2345 to confirm.

Thanks to a grant from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation Legacy Funds from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Nature Play Days are free.

Reservations are appreciated and can be made through the Programs page at auduboncnc.org. Walk-ins are welcome.

Audubon Community Nature Center is located at 1600 Riverside Road, one-quarter mile east of Route 62 between Jamestown and Warren. The three-story Nature Center contains interactive displays, a collection of live animals, and the Blue Heron Gift Shop; building hours are Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 4 p.m. The 600-acre wetland preserve with more than five miles of trails for hiking, snowshoeing and cross country skiing, and Liberty, the non-releasable Bald Eagle, can be visited from dawn until dusk daily.

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