Monday, February 19, 2018

Tales and Trails at Audubon Naturalist Society

I signed my prescholar up for the "Tales and Trails" storytime at the Audubon Naturalist Society in Chevy Chase, Maryland. We had a half-off ticket through CertifiKid and found the adventure quite delightful. We did hit some traffic on the way to the 10 a.m. storytime (we had to drive on the Beltway at the tail end of the morning commute). We arrived early enough to explore just a tiny bit.

Audubon Naturalist Society Historic House

We parked by the composting area!

We went into the mansion and wandered around the first floor a little bit. We found a room with a large carpet with a pond on it. We assumed it was the right spot. Others showed up shortly, including the instructor. She passed out some coloring pages as people came in.

Coloring for the camera

How does it look?

The theme of the story time was foxes, which explained the fox coloring page. The instructor read a story about an owl who sees colors in the forest, including a fox's orange coat. She then brought out a fox skin and let us feel how smooth and soft it was. She told us about the habits of foxes (often nocturnal; eaters of mice and other small animals). One of the moms told us they saw a live fox one night when they went out to feed their chickens. Luckily, the fox ran away before he caused any trouble.

The story time craft was making a fox face out of half a paper plate, two pieces of construction paper for ears, stickers for eyes, and crayons for coloring.

Adding eyes

Final work

A quick picture at the room's fireplace

After the craft, we went outside for a short walk. Down one trail of the Woodend Nature Sanctuary is an abandoned fox's den.

The grounds

A trail next to the woods

The house seen from the trail

They discovered two holes. The first hole we came on was the secret back exit of the den. Normally it is covered by the bushes around it. We visited in winter, so the cover was blown.

Den's back door

The main entrance of the den is large enough for the fox's fur (which the instructor brought along) to go in easily. The staff found a lot of little bones and other evidence of multiple foxes using the den, so probably a mom and her offspring lived here. The mound used to be much taller but weather has worn it down. The family left to make a den further into the woods.

The big hole

What's left of the mound on top, the back door at bottom

We started to walk back up the hill. The instructor showed us how well the fox's fur blends in with the grass and short flowers, making good camouflage. Then she spotted some deer tracks and we all stopped to look.

My son looks at deer tracks

The tracks

We had fun exploring a bit outside. Once we got back to the mansion, story time was done. My son and I went inside to wash our hands and check out the shop. It sold mostly books but also had a kids room with puzzles, toys, and some science experiments. We wish we had packed a picnic lunch to enjoy on the grounds. We'll have to bring the rest of the family on another occasion to explore the woods and other activities at the center.

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