Take your family on an educational outing this month
By Katie Harris
What better month than April to show our appreciation for the world around us by taking the time to learn more about it. With the first signs of spring in the air, and Earth Day right around the corner, April is an opportune time to take advantage of one of the educational outings the Rocky Mountain area has to offer.
CSU Environmental Learning Center
2400 S. CR 9, FC, 970-491-1661
Fort Collins Natural Areas
Gardens on Spring Creek
970-416-2486, 2145 Centre Ave., FC
Read and Seed: Storytime and educational activities for 2- to 4-year-olds and an adult companion. These drop-in classes cost $3 per child per class. Classes take place Mondays and Tuesdays from 10-10:45am and 11-11:45am.
Week 1: Easter egg holders
Week 2: Sensory game
Week 3: Clouds
Week 4: Caterpillars
Week 5: Rattlesnakes
Ready! Set! Grow!: A program to teach 4- to 5-year olds about gardening and nature through projects, crafts and books. April’s theme will be cool crafts. May’s theme is All Natural Fun. Fridays from 9:30-11am. Class costs $40/month and preregistration is required by calling 970-416-2486.
Find details on the Gardens on Spring Creek at www.fcgov.com/gardens/.
High Plains Environmental Center
1854 Piney River Dr., LV, 970-622-9676
The High Plains Environmental Center is a 76-acre urban environmental park open daily to the public. Guests can explore native species of plants and wildflowers and participate in programs to learn about composting, sustainable horticulture, vegetable gardening, wildlife, wetlands ecology, art in nature and more. Visit www.suburbitat.org/ for more information.
Little Thompson Observatory
850 Spartan Ave., Berthoud, 970-613-7700
Friday, April 20, 7:30pm: Public star night (third Friday of each month, weather permitting). Free, no reservations required. A different speaker each month presents a guided tour of the sky with an 18-inch telescope. For details visit www.starkids.org/.
Poudre Learning Center
8313 West F St., GR, 970-352-1267
The Learning Center is designed to educate the public on the history, science, economics, stewardship and aesthetics of the Cache la Poudre River and Northeastern Colorado. The Center is surrounded by 65 acres with lake and river access, complete with educational areas, trails and wheelchair accessible pathways. The Learning Center is open M-F, 7:30am-4:30pm and land can be accessed on weekends as well. The Center also offers community and student events throughout the year. Find details and a calendar at http://plcoutdoors.org/home.
Sustainable Living Association
Saturday, April 21, 11am-5pm: Earth Day Fort Collins in Civic Center Park, Old Town Fort Collins. Crafts, music, informational booths, food and drinks. Free, non-perishable food donation requested. Visit www.sustainablelivingassociation.org/sla-events/earth-day-2012/ for details.
Parks, Open Lands and Natural Areas
Call or visit the following websites for kid-friendly trail suggestions, safety tips, weather updates and activity printouts, then plan your own educational outing!
Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests and Pawnee National Grassland: www.usda.gov/, 970-295-6600
Colorado Division of Wildlife: http://wildlife.state.co.us/LandWater/StateWildlifeAreas/Pages/swa.aspx, 970-472-4300
Colorado State Parks: www.parks.state.co.us/, 303-866-3437
Fort Collins Natural Areas: www.fcgov.com/naturalareas/, 970-416-2815
Larimer County Open Lands: www.co.larimer.co.us/naturalresources/ParkAreas.htm, 970-498-7000
Loveland Open Lands/Natural Areas: www.ci.loveland.co.us/index.aspx?page=230, 970-962-2000
Rocky Mountain National Park: www.nps.gov/romo/index.htm, 970-586-1206