Just in case you didn’t know, summer is hot. And depending on where you live, it’s very hot. And when it is hot it is hard to get outside. I know a lot of people who stop nature study in the summer but my family goes stir crazy when we don’t get outside. Water is always the key for us when it’s hot!
For summer nature study centers around water and/or a lot of shade. We have some beach days planned and other just fun days focusing more on water and less on nature. This week the weather wasn’t very hot though so I decided to pounce on one last hike before it was just to hot to think about going on trails with small children.
We went to Muth Interpretive Center in Newport Beach. It was our first visit ever to this particular nature center and I can’t believe we haven’t been here before. It was one of the nicest and kid friendly nature centers we have ever been! We started off waiting on the roof of the nature center. Yes, the roof.
The kids loved looking over the edge. Just below where we were standing was a butterfly garden with a path that meandered all around. We only saw a few little white butterflies fluttering around at the time.
They also had a large binocular set on top of the building. It was completely free and the kids loved taking turns looking through it. My son proudly proclaimed that he found a beautiful flower while using them. It was almost as exciting as watching all the planes taking off from John Wayne airport flying over our heads at the time. The littles were especially excited about the planes.
Once our entire group arrived we went on our hike. We walked right past the nature center but didn’t go in yet wanting to save it for the very end when the day was hotter.
The kids loved the little ridge they could climb and looked down into the water.
Across the stream in the mud we could see a lot of different animal tracks.
There were bat boxes close to the trail the kids got to see as well.
And who doesn’t love to cross bridges!
We got to see bass heading back out into the ocean and even a bat ray swimming underneath us. There were a few sea birds as well but they were pretty far away. The kids were especially loud on our trip so we didn’t see a huge amount of wildlife.
But they did find a lot of fun rocks to climb on. Green Bubbles called this his rock biome. Even when we are away from the computer, minecraft is never far from his mind.
We made our way to the nature center after our hike and the kids loved it. They had a lot of cool things to explore including this ‘mud tunnel’ with a lot of touch activities.
Live animals like snakes, spiders, lizards, turtles, and frogs.
A kids room full of books, puppets, coloring area.
A lot of puzzles!
And a really big tree.
The kids are already asking to go back and explore new trails. We can’t wait to visit the Muth again.