Local parks programs are gearing up for Take a Child Outside Week, an event aimed at encouraging more kids and their adults to explore the natural world.
Liz Baird, a N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences staffer and mom, came up with the idea a few years ago. The week was inspired, in part, by Richard Louv's book, "Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-deficit Disorder," which explores the reasons why kids aren't outside as much today and why that's not a good thing.
Now celebrated around the country, Take a Child Outside Week is Sept. 24 to Sept. 30 each year.
Local groups are planning special events to honor the big week. They nearly all require pre-registration, so now is the time to sign up. Here's where you'll find some of the events in the region. I'll add more as I hear of them.
Programs offered at the seven Wake County parks will be free during Take a Child Outside Week. For details, click here to get to Wake's event catalog and go to page 2 to see a listing of all the programs, along with information on how to register. The programs include, but are not limited to, the following events:
- Family Wildlife Series - A World of Webs, 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sept. 24, at Blue Jay Point County Park on Falls Lake. For families with kids ages 5 and up. Learn all about spider webs.
- Family Disc Golf, 6 p.m. to 7 p.m., Sept. 28 at Harris Lake County Park. Play a round of disc golf with park staff, who will have loaner discs and instructions on how to play.
- The Lowly Worm, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., Sept. 29, at the American Tobacco Trail's New Hill parking lot. Learn all about the worm and why it's important.
- Evening Splendor, 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Sept. 30, at the American Tobacco Trail's White Oak Church Parking lot. Join park staff on a leisurely stroll in the woods during the evening hours.
Kidzu Children's Museum and the N.C. Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill will team up for a Loving Nature workshop from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sept. 25.. The workshop will be led by guests artists from the Elkland Art Center in Todd, N.C. Participants will collect sticks, seed pods and other plant materials at the gardens to make puppets. The fee is $15 per child. For ages 4 and up with a parent or other adult. Space is limited and advance registration is required. Contact Lauren Davis at email@example.com or 919-962-0522 for more information.
Raleigh has two special events planned. Registration is required for both of these. Call the city's nature programs department at 919-831-6856 for more information or click here. The city's programs are:
- A family sunset walk from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m., Sept. 24, at the Sertoma Arts Center in north Raleigh. For all ages. Kids under 16 must be with a paying adult. Take a stroll around the park at sunset. The fee is $3 per person.
- The Great Migration Challenge is from 10:30 a.m. to noon, Sept. 24, at the new Wilkerson Nature Preserve in north Raleigh. Learn all about bird migration. Bring your binoculars. All ages welcome. Children must be with an adult. The fee is $3 per person.
And the natural sciences museum's Prairie Ridge Ecostation in west Raleigh will hold a special family program in honor of the week from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sept. 30. It's for all ages and free. Bring your family to Prairie Ridge for an outdoor adventure. Join a naturalist for a guided walk through a Piedmont prairie to the bird blind, pond and arboretum of North Carolina trees. Visit the Nature Neighborhood Garden and enjoy hands-on activities in the “green” outdoor classroom. Walks will begin every 30 minutes, with the last walk beginning at 5:30 pm. Children 15 years and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Registration is not required for this one. Click here for details.