Our Visit to Oregon Ridge Nature Center

 With me being a stay at home mom of two little ones, I’ve had to learn what a ‘budget’ was. It’s now summer time and my son is only in preschool two days a week until he starts kindergarten next fall. The last thing my rambunctious kids want to do it sit around the house all day.

 So, my goal this summer is to find fun, inexpensive (or free) activities to do with them. Depending on how successful the trips go, I want to write about our adventures this summer. If you live in the Central PA or Maryland area hopefully I can give you some ideas on what you can do with your little ones this summer.

We decided to venture to Oregon Ridge Nature Center this morning. I was very impressed with what they display and for it to be completely FREE. They have exhibits varying from wildlife, history, and more! There are also multiple trails you can walk along to enjoy your own personal nature experience outside of the exhibit.

I want to share some of our favorite activities during our visit. My son was amazed the entire time and although my daughter was a little young to really learn about wildlife, she really enjoyed the scenery.

The wooden bridge outside of the nature center was beautiful. It ran over into the woods so you can start your very own nature hike. It has a great view of the scenery around. It’s a great spot to look for birds, butterflies, and other insects around. They have multiple trails mapped out that include the distance and what stations you can reach along the way, such as overlooks and gazebos.

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Although the honey bees scared my son at first, he was amazed with how many of them we’re in there making honey. I was able to explain the process with him and he learned that bees aren’t harmful, they make delicious honey that he puts on his bread in the morning! They also sell the honey, which I thought was very neat.

The Animal Architecture was my son’s favorite. You are able to push the button of certain animals or body parts and the specific bone lights up so you can learn what each bone is. He was amazed with what is under the skin of animals and how big (or small) the bones could be.

The amount of displayed wild animals, big or small, was a very eye catching and intriguing experience. From the commonly displayed animals such as bears and deer, all the way to beavers and woodchucks. They have fur displays so you can feel what the animals fur is textured like. They are placed all over the exhibit. It was very neat. I enjoyed that part myself.

There is multiple learning stations for kids, such as guessing which birds nest went to each bird, or locating different varieties of trees in the park. Along with the bone game I referenced to earlier, there is multiple other bone structures around also to learn about. They also have a butterfly display that shows you which butterflies are in the area so you can go outside and search for them.

You can’t forget the live animals! We started off at the turtles. I never knew myself how many different breeds of turtles there are. They have a wide variety of different breeds displayed and I could explain each one to my son. They have signs located by each exhibit that gives you great detail about each animal. We also made it by the snakes, fish, and birds also. A great display in my opinion.

There is an outside portion of some different bird and rabbit exhibits, along with a beautiful newly built pavilion which is a perfect place to sit and have lunch. There is also an iron furnace, a restored tenant house, and a sugar shack.

The park also has a dinner theater, a lake, and multiple playgrounds all around.

I am going to definitely keep this place in mind over the summer. My son is already talking about returning and I’m excited to walk the trails!

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