What it is: We were so excited when we heard about this great hidden gem located in Durham right at the intersection of I-40 and Hwy. 54. The Piedmont Wildlife Center is located in the middle of the Durham City park Leigh Farm Park. They offer many programs for children, teens, and adults in order to accomplish their mission of
We headed out to the Piedmont Wildlife Center for one of their activities geared toward preschoolers. Once a month they have a "Dragonfly Walk" where preschoolers get to learn about nature. So, we decided to check it out. There were quite a few of us there, and when the program began the leader gathered us all into a circle and introduced everyone. Then, she introduced the topic for the week-learning about baby animals. She talked a little about animals and showed us all some animal pelts for the kids to feel.
Then, we headed over to some picnic tables to make some baby animals out of play dough. Me, not being much of a play dough artist helped my son to make a "snake". (Where's the creativity?) We then practiced hiding our "animal babies" from predators.
Next, we moved on to our hike in the woods. We wandered through the woods-finding a nest, rabbit habitats, mint, some tadpoles in puddles, and some chickens. Finally, we arrived at the central Piedmont Wildlife Center main building where we all sat and ate our snack (which the chickens were very curious about) and listened to a story about a deer.
Our day finished with a craft inside the building where we constructed and decorated our own paper deer with construction paper, paints, and crayons. Then, we were given the opportunity to wander the park some more or head home. My son walked his deer all the way back out and we headed to pick up his brother at preschool after a fun morning of nature adventuring.
What we liked: We loved how we could have that exposure to nature only about 10 minutes away from where we live! There were a wide variety of activities that would appeal to lots of toddlers.
What we would change: Although the cost of the activity is a little high at $10, you can feel good because your money is going to a great cause. In addition, it's a long time so some of the little ones lost focus in some activities. Finally, keep in mind that it is out in the middle of the woods, so dress accordingly for mud, bugs, poison ivy and other natural wildlife. (For example, don't wear flip flops like I did...oops!) While it was definitely a chaotic day for us, we can't wait to head back another month to check out more nature fun!
Website and other important information:
Address: 364 Leigh Farm Road, Durham NC 27707
Dragonfly Walk Schedule: Second Monday of every month (check website for verification) from 10am-12pm.
1. Our leader shows the children some animal pelts.
2. On the hike
3. Through the woods
4. Our deer project
5. A view of the farmhouse where our adventure began