Saturday, April 24, 2010

Birding and heritage festival

Saturday Jake and Kevin usually bach it, but Violet took off from work and the family headed to Salt Plains Wildlife Refuge for the annual birding and heritage festival. The refuge offers hands-on lessons about animals and habitats. We went north of our mark to start at Byron fish hatchery and watchable wildlife area where they were teaching kids to build birdhouses.

Jake was ready to do his part on the family birdhouse:

Proudly carrying the finished project, which we got to take home to put up, as Meredith, who helped us with our project, watches:

Then it was on to the refuge, where we saw animal skulls, felt animal skins and learned about buffalo and reptiles. Then Jake had to make tracks ... literally:

He got to make an edible wetland in which the bedrock was two vanilla wafers, the subsoil appeared to be Cocoa Crunch, the muck or mud was chocolate pudding, the water was blue-colored whipped topping, the plants were straight pretzels for cattails and the animals were gummy frogs:

And, of course, the fun part is that it is edible:

There were some exhibits that definitely were better off behind glass, like the rattlesnake. Western diamondbacks always draw Jake's interest:

The day started out promising, with the sun peeking through the window, and even as the clouds gathered and we left the house we were confident a 30 percent chance of rain would not be an issue. Well, 30 percent turned into 100 percent for us. We kept thinking it would be a sprinkle, and it would turn into a downpour, and surely it had blown over, and it would pour again. Thank goodness for tents, but Jake pushed the limits of staying dry. Rain, rain, go away ...:

We had a great time, despite the rain, and the Oklahoma City Zoomobile visited in the outdoor classroom at the refuge, which thankfully was covered. This month was the anniversary of the land run that settled the Oklahoma City area, so we learned about what the settlers had to deal with in the pioneer days. We also learned of animals that might have prowled the land in those days, like the owl, which Jake learned has eyes that won't move, so the bird compensates by moving its head.

He also learned the owl has ears under its eyes, and a cupped face that enhances sound like cupping your hands around your ears:

He also got a look at an armadillo, which admittedly he can see in his backyard, but this species hails from South America:

The zoo representative, Amy Stevens, set the armadillo down so it would walk. Come over here Dillo:

He also was introduced to the box turtle:

It was wet, but we got to do everything we set out to do. People often tell us Jake is so cute, and today was no exception. Our patented answer is we can take no credit for his genetics, but we can take credit for the smiles, and this one just had to be shared:

This is how the afternoon ended. Perfection:

But our day didn't end there. We had more fun in the evening, but we'll save it for a later post, as this one had gone on long enough. LOL We will leave you with a sneak preview, however, of a first for Jake:


OneLuckyLady said...

How fun! Looks like you guys had a great time! LOVE the family photo!

Jolene and Dan Powell said...

Fun day! I love that family picture. Great memories of a great day. He looks so curious and interested in everything!

We don't get the "he's cute" comments anymore. Ty is too busy screaming at everyone to be cute. Hopefully this is just a phase. But Jake is very cute, I have to admit! He just looks so inquisitive in those photos.