Oh, March, you fickle creature! I had big dreams that March would be filled with all sorts of outdoor adventures, due to the warming weather and plentiful sunshine. Alas, the temperature has hovered at about 40 degrees–erring on the lower side–for the majority of the month. So, our outdoor adventures have been in spite of the weather.
At the beginning of the month we ventured to northern Wisconsin to celebrate a birthday with my family. It’s certainly an odd time to visit Door County, but it was incredibly beautiful and I’m grateful for this trip and time with family. We rented a cottage in Sturgeon Bay, explored the surrounding area, and packed in all sorts of nature adventures!
We visited the Maritime Museum on a particularly chilly morning and had so much fun. Little one loved seeing all the boats and lighthouses! We visited both Potawotami State Park and Peninsula State Park, and at each one we played at the playground and walked out onto the frozen lake. This was particularly incredible to me, as I never stepped foot on a frozen lake (nor knew it was possible) until I was in college. And now my little daughter has done it twice–she certainly is a northern girl!
One of my favorite moments of the trip was feeding chickadees at Peninsula State Park! The nature center had feeders out filled with chickadees, nuthatches, and woodpeckers. The park ranger told us to fill our hands with seed and wait. Four of us stood still and little daughter bounced around talking, but this did not deter the birds! As we were surrounded by birds, several of which landed on my brother and mother, Josephine was literally giggling with delight! It was amazing! (as we’ve yet to entice any birds to our home birdfeeders this was particularly impressive to me, but now at least i’ve seen firsthand that it is possible!)
Can’t wait to visit Door County again (perhaps in warmer days)!
For the rest of the month we’ve been content with afternoon walks in the neighborhood (when the temp is the highest and if the sun is out) and exploring our local nature centers.
Every March the local gardens host the butterflies! (membership would be worth it for this alone) We saw caterpillars preparing to become butterflies, as well as lovely chrysalises (seriously, some are so beautiful). And then we entered the butterfly room and were surrounded! It was magical. Loved sharing this beautiful metamorphosis with little daughter, even if she’s a little young to truly grasp the process. Her favorite by far were the large blue butterflies (the blue morpho).
We also visited the Blandford Nature Center for a hike in the woods. The nature center hosts injured animals, so we saw turtles and owls and a bobcat, too! It was under 30 degrees the morning we visited, but the sun was shining strong so we played out in the children’s garden for quite some time. I love that they have lots of natural materials and a mud kitchen to support children’s creative outdoor play. Definitely a great place to visit!
And our last nature exploration for the month involves a fun bucket list for the rest of the year! This list was inspired by my husband who attended an event supporting our local county parks, and we were chatting about parks and how we don’t know many of our area parks (also didn’t know the difference between a playground and a park, but he’s not exactly mr. outdoorsy).
This prompted some investigation and I discovered that there are tons of incredible parks within an hour of our home! Including both county and state parks within that time limit, I drew up a bucket list for 2018 with 36 parks. I used a small symbol to signify things that are important for our family: foot for hiking, bathing suit for swimming, seesaw for playground, and bike for paved path.
I’m not under any illusions that we will visit ALL of these parks this year, but I’m hoping this will inspire family adventures! As soon as the weather becomes fairly decent I’m planning to take a weekly hike with Josephine. I also hope to take family hikes and picnics on the weekends. Several parks have beaches for swimming, which will be so fun! Somebody is getting a scooter for her birthday, so it will be great for exploring the many (who knew?) paved trails around us (family bike rides, too!).
I can’t remember which book it was in, probably Wild Child or Last Child, but I read that children should have a handful of local nature spots that they are super familiar with. Places where they’ve had lots of time to explore, to watch the seasons change, to discover hidden spots or build forts. I want to find and claim a few spots that our family absolutely loves; that we return to again and again. But, first! I want to explore and see what this beautiful part of the world has to offer!