Sunday, February 23, 2014

Oxley Nature Center

It has been a horribly bitter cold winter.  Too many days with Pooky in recent months have been spent indoors.  Way too many.  We are the "let's go outside and explore" type.  Yesterday's weather was absolutely perfect...slightly cloudy, but nearly 70 degrees with a nice, easy breeze.  So Wyatt, my mom, and I decided to head over to the Oxley Nature Center, which is located in Mohawk Park near the Tulsa Zoo.

There are more than 11 combined miles of trails to explore, wandering over 800+ acres of forest, field, and wetland.  Several naturalists are on staff and available to answer questions and suggest hikes, or to teach classes.

Our first stop was the Interpretive Building, which houses a wonderful interactive museum of all-things-nature for children to dive into! 

Counting tree rings and discovering how big the tree was at specific points in state history.  Then listening to different animal sounds!
Really beautifully done displays of the natural habitats of animals, and amazing plant and animal artifacts that the children are invited to handle!

Drawers full of butterflies, bugs, fungi, bones, etc.

Even specimens of birds!

Pretending to be a beaver...examples of the traces animals leave behind!
A whole collection of Oklahoma fur-bearing animals.  Seriously impressive...in some cases they had skulls, too.

It's amazing how many furry little critters were on display.  Let's all assume they died of natural causes, won't we.  ;)
Unique skeleton displays, too.
Touch and discovery are highly encouraged.  At the front desk is a basket full of natural artifacts, along with a handful of exploration tools with which to pore over the treasures.  Wyatt parked here for quite awhile.

They even had a wonderful bee hive that attaches to the outside world via a pipe through the wall.  Visitors can open the door to the hive to view the busy bees humming behind the glass. 
He spent some time trying to find the queen...try as we might, we couldn't spot her. 

There were so many bees!  The flow of them from inside to outside, then in again was nonstop!
After thoroughly exploring the Interpretive Building, we headed out of doors.  Our first stop on the way was the little fish food vending machine...you know, so we could feed the fish.
Something tells me the fish like this spot.  No fishing is allowed here...for obvious reasons.   






On the deck from which you can feed the fish, there was an Insect Hotel. 

 After plumping up some perch, we set off for a hike through the woods.  We weren't in a hurry, so we decided to just meander over whichever paths we crossed.

I really appreciated how well maintained the trails were.  Even though it was obvious that the Oklahoma wind and recent ice storms, along with a brush fire, have done considerable damage to the forest, the trails were level and well-cleared.  Many of them were even wheel-chair accessible.

I think he was enjoying himself.



We even saw an armadillo!  He wasn't too keen on me trying to move in for a better shot.  On a related note, they run funny.

Everywhere you look there are feeders and other attractions for wildlife.

Such fun had by all on a wonderful almost-spring day.  We took our time and turned over not every, but a lot of leaves.


 I highly recommend The Oxley Nature Center to families and nature lovers alike!  The best thing of all...the entire experience was absolutely FREE.  For more information, a map, or hours, go to www.oxleynaturecenter.org.






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