Reptile and Amphibian Photo Safari
Bring your camera to The Rookery on Sunday, April 30 from 1 to 3 p.m. to “capture” painted turtles, bullfrogs, salamanders, water snakes and other herps in their natural habitat on Geauga Park District’s Reptile and Amphibian Photo Safari. A naturalist will be your tour guide on this fun photographic expedition, who plans to host a future program featuring a slideshow of what we collectively captured on camera. Don’t miss your chance to get photos included in this neat opportunity, date to be announced.
Activities will be partially wheelchair/stroller accessible. Registration is not required for this is a Nature’s Not to Be Missed program. Please call 440-286-9516 with questions. For more on Geauga Park District call 440-286-9516 or visit Geauga Park District online via www.geaugaparkdistrict.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.
Get in on the enjoyment, excitement, fascination and joyful outdoor recreation that makes watching birds one of the country’s most popular pastimes by joining Geauga Park District naturalists on springtime bird-watching walks. Continuing a Greater Cleveland tradition since 1933, the Annual Spring Bird Walk Series returns throughout April and May: April 23 at Frohring Meadows, April 30 at The Rookery, May 7 at Eldon Russell Park, May 14 and Big Creek Park and May 21 at Swine Creek Reservation. All walks are Sundays, 7:30 to 9:30 a.m., located where there is the best bet for birds at each particular stage of migration.
The annual series casually connects birding newbies with experienced bird watchers for observation, identification and interpretation. Also for those newly interested in birding, Geauga Park District also has planned a program called Spring Birding for Beginners for Saturday, May 6, 8:30 to 10 a.m. at The Rookery. A quick overview of potential bird sightings will lead to a walk for hands-on-binoculars experience.
Registration is not required. Call 440-286-9516 with questions. For more on Geauga Park District call 440-286-9516 or visit Geauga Park District online via www.geaugaparkdistrict.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.
Spread Like Wildflowers
With the unpredictability of the spring season, Weekly Wildflower Walks in your Geauga Park district will cover the early and late flowers over the course of four Mondays, 1 to 2:30 p.m. Dates are May 1 at The West Woods’ Affelder House, May 8 at Headwaters Park’s Route 322 Entrance, May 15 at Swine Creek Reservation, and May 22 at Big Creek Park.
With this year’s unusually warm winter bringing flowers out earlier than normal, participants to one, some or all of these walks will get a chance to watch the progression of an early spring on the forest floor. Naturalist Judy Bradt-Barnhart will also share interesting folklore, name origins, pollination strategies, mythological associations and Native American and pioneer uses along the way.
Walks will be on fairly level terrain, held rain or shine, and do not require registration. Mark your calendar and plan to make one of these Nature Not to Be Missed adventures in your parks this spring. For more on Geauga Park District call 440-286-9516 or visit Geauga Park District online via www.geaugaparkdistrict.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.
Get some off-trail exercise this season by exploring up to five parks with a Geauga Park District naturalist. Springtime Backcountry Hikes are scheduled for Swine Creek Reservation on Sunday, April 2 from 1 to 3:30 p.m.; The West Woods on Saturday, April 8 from 2 to 4:30 p.m.; Sunnybrook Preserve on Saturday, April 29 from10 a.m. to noon; GPD’s seldom-visited Welton’s Gorge preserveon Sunday, May 21, from 2 to 5 p.m. and Observatory Park on Saturday, May 27 from 1 to 3 p.m. To participate in these rugged adventures, registration is required at 440-286-9516 or www.geaugaparkdistrict.org under Find a Program/Event. The website also hosts details on individual hikes. Participants must be school-aged and older, capable of hiking several miles over rugged, hilly terrain, and dressed for wet, muddy conditions and weather. For more on Geauga Park District offerings, please call 440-286-9516 or visit Geauga Park District online via www.geaugaparkdistrict.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.
National Walking Day
Did you know Wednesday, April 5, is National Walking Day? Originated by the American Heart Association in 2007, this day celebrates the relaxing, diverse exercise of walking – so totally social or so totally isolating, moving as fast or as slow as you’d like, completely free and among the most effective kinds of exercise. It’s also a great excuse to go for a walk. The goal is 30 minutes, the American Heart Association says. And Geauga Park District would be happy to host your National Walking Day observance on one of its more than 77 trails. Grab some comfortable clothes, sneakers and a bottle of water and head out into the Great Outdoors! Just visit www.geaugaparkdistrict.org and click Find Park to locate a trail that’s just right for you. Who knows, you might find a lifelong happy place. Marking the occasion on social media, too? Please use the hashtags #NationalWalkingDay and #GeaugaParkDistrict to spread the word. For more on Geauga Park District offerings, please call 440-286-9516 or visit Geauga Park District online via www.geaugaparkdistrict.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.
Summer Camp Fun
The Great Outdoors in the summer months should seem like an absolute wonderland for our young people. Exploring the ravines, getting wet in the streams, making s’mores, making friends – all part of growing up. That feeling when the weather’s finally getting warm should draw them out to get dirty, get moving, forget all their troubles. And if you’re reading this and wondering how you’re ever going to get your kid or teenager away from the screens, you’re not alone. Thankfully Geauga Park District has an affordable solution that won’t feel like a punishment: sign them up for week-long or day-long summer camp experiences that travel to different parks throughout the county.
Entering their fifth year, Geauga Park District’s summer camps are tailored to two specific audiences, youth entering grades 5 through 7 and teens entering grades 8 through 10. Fun camp activities include exploring, biking, kayaking, fishing and sending rockets and kites high into the sky. And most importantly, they’re outside in the fresh air, in Nature.
All-week-long camps are offered for the younger audience the weeks of June 12 and 26, July 10, 17 and 31, and August 7, and for the older audience the weeks of June 19 and 24. These five-day experiences cost just $150.
For teens less likely to invest a full week, Geauga Park District also offers single-day “X-TREME” adventures the week of July 3 – not quite a toe dipped in, as the name might imply, but an easier time commitment, and only $30 a day.
And new this year, before-care is available at an additional fee for campers registered the weeks of July 17, 24 and 31. Camp spaces fill quickly, so Geauga Park District naturalists recommend signing up as soon as possible.
Details on all of Geauga Park District’s summer camp opportunities can be found online at http://bit.ly/gpdcamps. Sources are available for camp scholarships; for details, please call 440-286-9516.
Geauga Park District’s summer camps are sponsored by the Chip Henry Institute for Outdoor Adventure, established in memory of the late Geauga County Probate/Juvenile Court Judge Charles “Chip” Henry, who had a great passion for Nature and youth. For more on Geauga Park District offerings, please call 440-286-9516 or visit Geauga Park District online via www.geaugaparkdistrict.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.
Seeing spring-returning warblers can bring so much joy, and preparing for their arrival is one great way to celebrate the new season. Novice and intermediate birders alike will enjoy Warbler Warm-Up program on Sunday, April 9, 2 to 4 p.m. at The West Woods Nature Center. There, noted local birders Matt Valencic and Kelly Koslowski will share techniques and handouts used to ID those colorful tropical sprites, spring warblers, using color pattern, habitat, behavior and song. Then a walk will put theory to practice, seeking those earliest of spring migrants in the park.
Matt Valencic and Kelly Koslowski are among the foremost birders in Geauga County, dedicated to promoting birding in the Chagrin River watershed as a designated Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. Their enthusiasm and congeniality make for an enjoyable and enlightening learning experience.
Registration is not required for this collaboration of Geauga Park District and the Audubon Society of Greater Cleveland. Please bring your own binoculars. Indoor presentations will be fully wheelchairs accessible; a portion of the outdoor birding will also accommodate wheelchairs. For more on Geauga Park District offerings, please call 440-286-9516 or visit Geauga Park District online via www.geaugaparkdistrict.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.
Spring at Observatory Park
For casual visitors, Geauga Park District’s Observatory Park is open daily 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. at 10610 Clay Street in Montville Township. For those wanting a more guided experience, however, Naturalist (“Astro-Nat”) Chris Mentrek is eager to show you around this International Dark Sky Park. Park buildings are open on select Saturday nights 7 to 11 p.m. for night sky viewing with park telescopes and Sunday afternoons 2 to 3 p.m. for The Sky Tonight Planetarium Show and safe solar viewing. Visit www.geaugaparkdistrict.org for specific dates and times. Special programs to study the season’s full moons are scheduled for Tuesday, April 11 (The Frog Moon), and Wednesday, May 10 (The Corn-Planting Moon), both 8:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Hour-long focus programs on Fridays at 7 p.m. will offer glimpses into space math as featured in the Academy Award-nominated motion picture “Hidden Figures” on April 14 and 28; the weird world of lighting on May 12 and 26; and meteorites and how to identify themon June 9 and 23.
More fun coming up this spring at Observatory Park: Drop in anytime 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 15, to search a plowed-up soybean field for traces of historical artifacts – and even meteorites – at our Artifacts and Meteorite Hunt. Will you find any traces of an old 1840s saw mill, or some much-older flint? The dirt’s the limit!
Hikers, explore Observatory Park’s ledges, history and tiny beginnings of the Cuyahoga River and get some off-trail exercise with a Geauga Park District naturalist at the Backcountry Hike on Saturday, May 27, 1 to 3 p.m. Homeschoolers ages 5 to 7 or 8 to 12, sign up for our Weather Wizards program on Friday, April 21, 2 to 3:30 p.m. With or without your parents, you’ll partake in plenty of fun activities and amazing facts about the weather all around us. Please note that registration is required for the Backcountry Hike and the Homeschool Day at www.geaugaparkdistrict.org or 440-286-9516.
Attend our social Solar Day & Solstice Sunset event on Wednesday, June 21, 6 to 9:30 p.m., to cook s’mores in a solar oven, participate in solar-powered toy car races, test light-sensitive beads, view the sun through a special telescope and – if you stick around – witness sunset on the longest day of the year.
View the recent hit “Star Trek Beyond” on the big screen at Ohio’s only International Dark Sky Park on Saturday, June 24. Pre-show astronomy activities begin at 8 p.m.; the flick starts at dark. Free popcorn, lemonade and night sky viewing can be yours – just bring your own blankets and lawn chairs for the show.
Learn more about Observatory Park online before your trip at http://bit.ly/gpdop. We can’t wait to see you in the park this spring. For more on Geauga Park District offerings, please call 440-286-9516 or visit Geauga Park District online via www.geaugaparkdistrict.org, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or YouTube.