Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Camp 2015 - The Wild Center

 Since we were back at camp, we had to go back to The Wild Center. Last time we were up, we were blown away by all the cool things for us to see. Of course, it all starts with a bunch of silly moose pics. :)

 But inside, things get interesting right away. One of the otters was out and about playing around. We got there just as they did a little presentation about them and talked about how curious they were. The employee tossed a cardboard box with some "toys" for the otter into the exhibit. She happily tore into the box and pulled out things like a pine cone, some straw, sticks and rocks. Of course, the otter's favorite thing was the box itself, which it proceeded to shred.

 They had a cool "fog" bowl that simulates the morning fogs we see on the lake.
 New to us was this room that had projectors creating a 360-degree rotating picture on a sphere in the middle of the room. They had images of most of the planets, the moon, the sun and some nature things. The kids liked this owl.
 Irene loved the fish tanks
 and the touch-and-play-stream.
 Huh... go figure.
 The kids loved seeing the huge trout. I was wishing for a pole...
 They got to have a hands-on experience with a turtle.

 They got to see how the shell is completely fused with its spine, so you can't take a turtle from it's shell.
 Strange fact: Look closely at the turtles shell. The rings in the plates are like rings on a tree. You can count how old a turtle is by the rings on a plate.

 The middle of the center now has an exhibit of nature art that also allows the kids to make their own.
 Olivia's impressive caterpillar.
 After the inside stuff, it was time for a walk.
 There were some really pretty wildflowers in bloom, just like by Camp.
 Sadly, they were making some repairs, so the large outdoor pond was drained and not so pretty...
 Also new to us this year was the Wild Walk. It is a trail/eleveated walkway that lets you experience life from an animal's perspective. It starts with squirrels, who run and jump and swing on the ground and in the branches of the trees.

 The whole time we were taking pictures, there were a couple of red squirrels scolding us rather loudly.

 Then the trail moves on and becomes an elevated walkway so you can see the world from a bird's perspective. The kids got to play a life-sized board game where they were pretending to be migrating birds. They had to spin the arrow, move the correct number of spaces and then do what the spaces said. Some things were, "lots of bugs for food, move forward 2 spaces" or "heavy headwinds, move back 3 spaces." Most hilarious were things like, "Flying too low, hit by truck. Game over."
 As we walked, we got higher up. at the top they had this huge spider web that the kids loved running around in. The crazy thing that you can see through the netting is that it's hanging about 20-25 feet in the air!

 On another branch of the walkway was a giant eagle's nest, from which you could see for miles around.
The hazy mountain in the middle is Whiteface Mountain, more than 30 miles away.
 They had a couple of cool suspension bridges leading to a huge fake dead pine tree that had little exhibits inside it showing all the various creatures, from squirrels to bugs to birds, that use even dead trees as homes.
 Down at the bottom was a bear family!

 This was a woodpecker demonstration. They set up a bunch of things that woodpeckers will hammer on so you could see what the loudest was. Hard to believe they beat on rain gutters... Glad they don't do that at our house. It was pretty loud...
 After the elevated walkway, we followed a trail down to the Raquette River. It was just begging us to bring the canoe over and paddle around. We are going to have to go back just for that.
 The kids wanted to climb this big old rock and do "superhero" poses.

 Finally! I really nice picture of us all. :)
 We stopped back in to use the bathroom before heading home and just happened to catch them doing a presentation with a screech owl. Funny...I thought they'd be bigger. Still very cool to see. They can't move their eyes, but they can rotate their heads more than 270 degrees. By comparison, we can only turn our heads about 180 degrees.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Camp 2015 - Happy Birthday Gabe!

Gabe turned 7 while we were up at Camp! It's crazy how fast they all grow... Even though we were far from home, we still wanted to do something fun for his birthday. He just loves Captain America, so we decided to make his a CA birthday. Grandma and Grandpa got him a Captain America Lego set. 
He was kind of excited.

The main event was a Captain America "race". Ezra and Gabe would go head-to-head to see who was the better Cap.
First, they had to run down the dock (Carefully! No Pushing!) to get their masks.
Then they had to get their shields from down in the ice (he was frozen, get it?)
Then they had to make their way through the maze
to their new Nerf guns! (suddenly, I'm Rod Roddy on the Price is Right... It's a brand new car!) They had to shoot down their respective tower of cups and then run off...
to save the damsels in distress. I tied Rebecca, Irene and Olivia up in the woods and the boys had to go find them, free them 
and bring them to safety, running through the flags.
Ready? Get set...Go!

Gabe wins!
With Ezra not too far behind. :) 
then it was time for some good old target practice. 

we dipped their darts in some paint and let them shoot at a target.
The two Caps helped us finish our second puzzle of the trip. This one was particularly hard because the pieces were really oddly shaped.

He tried out throwing his shield like the real Cap does. Yup. It works! 

Gabe's one request for the day? A "Shield" cake.
Ok. No problem. We made a giant cookie cake, had the kids sort out red and blue M&Ms and made his shield. 

Some other things he got were a large CA figure, a spring-loaded "popper" Cap that jumps when you drop it, a CA shield that shoots a spinning disc and, of course, the Captain America movie to watch on the ride home. Happy Birthday, Buddy. :)