Gumbo Limbo Nature Center in Boca Raton

Turtles at Gumbo Limbo

Turtles at Gumbo LimboWe headed over to Gumbo Limbo a few weeks ago, and yes I only just got the photo’s edited!

If you have not been in awhile, you really should go!  They have done an immense amount of work to update and build new tanks.

Gumbo Limbo is a Nature Center in Boca Raton, and it is both a city park and a part of the FAU Research Programs.  Sea turtles are studied, rehabbed and released through this facility.  Gumbo Limbo was created in 1984 and focuses on environmental education.

The nature center is a preserve for all kinds of native wildlife and includes trails and Lake Wyman at Gumbo Limboboardwalks, tanks of native fish, butterfly gardens and a fire tower that is 40 feet high overlooking the mangroves, Lake Wyman, and even the Atlantic Ocean.

Gumbo Limbo offers educational programs, fish feedings, and school programs all year long.  The facility is free to enter however there is a suggested donation of $5 per person.  This is a great place to spend a few hours with the family, get in touch with nature and learn about the amazing environment we are so lucky to have in our back yard!

Battelle Darby Creek Park Nature Center and Bison in Galloway Ohio

Battelle Darby Nature Center Water Table
Battelle Darby Nature Center Viewing Deck
Looking at the Bison at the Battelle Darby Nature Center Viewing Deck

I grew up going to Battelle Darby Creek Park (aka Big Darby), we thought it was great.  Compared to now, though?  Wow.  This park has come along way.  On our last trip to Ohio, we headed over to Battelle Darby Creek Park to see the Bison and the Nature Center.  This park spans 20 miles of riparian forests along the Big and Little Darby Creeks.  It includes 7,000 acres of prairies and forests.  As kid I felt this park had the best canoeing, hiking and the absolute best sledding hill around!  These are all still there and of course, there are picnic areas, pet trails and playground equipment

Battelle Darby Park Bison
The Bison are way back in the right hand corner.

everywhere, not to mention the Environmental Study Sites and Nature Programs.

The Bison can be seen in winter from the Battelle Darby Creek Nature Center.  The Bison can be viewed from the deck of the center, and it serves as their winter paddock.  The Nature Center can be found at 1415 Darby Creek Drive, Galloway OH 43119.

We were able to see them only with the telescope on the deck of the center, but it was still pretty neat.

Battelle Darby Nature Center Water Table
Battelle Darby Nature Center Water Table

The Nature Center itself is really amazing!  There are many hands on areas for the kids to learn about the nature.  A giant wall that allows kids to place pictures of animals in their habitats on the wall.

There is a pelt room, full of the pelts of all the native animals that you might find in the Ohio Valley.  Be prepared for this room, as a former zoological educator I used confiscated animal pelts to teach audiences about important animals for years, but I still find it difficult to see.  The educators and volunteers around the room will gladly explain to you where they came from.

Battelle Darby Park Nature Center
Peering into the creek bed table

The Riverbed Water Table is the highlight of the exhibit.  The table stretches the length of the room and show the different levels of the creek.  There are some really neat places where the kids can stick their heads into a plexiglass box from under the table so they can see right into the creek.

If you have a chance, this is a fabulous (free) way to spend a fun, education afternoon.

Thanks to our sponsors, please be sure to check them out!  Stella & Dot have some great Valentines Gifts so check them out!



Fern Forest Nature Center Offers Nature Exploration for All Ages

Fern Forest Entrance Photo Credit:C Buckley
As the summer rains and mosquitoes move in take advantage of the end of South Florida’s hiking season by heading on over to the Fern Forrest Nature Center in Margate, Florida. This is an amazing place to spend a few hours with the kids. Entrance to the 247 acre park is free and offers guests a serene respite from the hustle of the city. Take advantage of these last few cooler days of spring to take a walk along one of Fern Forests five trails.
Raccoon Tracks Fern Forest Photo Credit:C Buckley

Hiking trails include a low boardwalk through tropical hardwood hammock, and cypress-maple swamp. It is an ideal place to spot birds, armadillo and even turtles.The boardwalk is perfect for small children who may have difficulty navigating uneven trails. Listen carefully as you wonder easily on the boardwalk and the rougher often muddy Maple Walk Trail for the scratching of an armadillo or the knocking of a woodpecker.

Nature Center, Fern Forest Photo Credit:C Buckley
 Be sure to check out the marker board at the trail entrance to find out what kind of wildlife has been spotted recently. The marker board will also let you know the mosquito levels as the wetland trails are great breading grounds, so be prepared with protective clothing and repellent as these little blood suckers can be disease carriers.
The indoor nature center offers a chance to see a very large Indigo Snake. Indigo Snakes are a rare and threatened species in Florida and the nature center offers guests a chance to find just why they are so important to Florida’s wildlife and its wetlands. The nature center offers several small exhibits demonstrating the importance and different types of habits are found South Florida.
Fern Forest, Photo Credit:C Buckley
Fern Forest, Photo Credit:C Buckley
Nature Center, Fern Forest, Photo Credit:C Buckley