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Animal Adaptations

(4-Adults) Many animals have unusual physical and behavioral adaptations that enable them to get a meal or to keep from being a meal. Compare and contrast the adaptations of deer, owls, squirrels and turtles in this variation on a popular school field trip. Registration required for children and adults. Program is outdoors.


Animal Habitat Hunt & Explore

(3-Adult) Meet at the woodland wildlife tree sculpture to join a guided hike to find where animals really live in the woodland. Meet live animals and find out how the forest is a habitat for many creatures. Registration required for children and adults.


Animal Moms & Babies

(4-Adult) Spring is the time for many animals to give birth and raise young. Meet some young animals and discover how wild creatures grow and develop in our woodlands. Some of the wild ways will surprise and some may disgust but they work for our wild neighbors. Program is outdoors. Registration required for children and adults.


Animal Pajama Party

(3-7 yrs.) Put on your pajamas and come to the nature center to hear bedtime stories, meet animals and wish goodnight to the center's live animals. Bring your favorite stuffed animal with you. One adult only per registered child.


Animal Sounds

(3-6 yrs.) Do frogs really say "ribbit" and birds call "tweet"? Learn the real sounds of local species and see how good you are at recognizing animal calls. Why is wildlife so noisy in the spring? Outdoor program. Only one adult per registered child may attend.


Beginning Birdwatching & More

(4-Adult) Borrow sanitized child or adult binoculars for a view of outdoor bird feeding stations. Learn identification tips by sight and sound. Learn how to make your yard more attractive to preferred species. Registration required for children and adults.


Bug Walks & Critter Talks (3-5 yrs)

(3-5 yrs.) Preschoolers and their adult explore the outdoors in search of nature’s fascinating creatures. Through forest, stream and meadow walks, live animals, nature talks, stories, insect and other collections and arts and crafts, families develop a better understanding of and appreciation for the natural world.


Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge

This program satisfies most of the requirements to earn the Citizenship in the Nation Merit Badge. Visit the site's website for pre-work and information.


Citizenship in the World Merit Badge

This program satisfies most of the requirements to earn the Citizenship in the World Merit Badge. Visit the site's website for pre-work and information.


Classification of Animals

(Grade 5) Parks provide an experience not easily duplicated in the classroom. Our new “Field Trips for All” programs offer parents a unique opportunity to supplement their child’s science learning with real outdoor experiences and application of the concepts required in the Virginia standards of learning. Experiences vary by park resources. This program is geared by grade level to provide enrichment to all learners including homeschool. Registration is limited to allow for social distancing. Groups of more than 8 should consider booking a field trip directly with a park by visiting the park’s web site. All attendees, parents and students, must register to control group size.


Dino Fun

(4-6 yrs.) Join us as Nature Playce turns prehistoric! Become a junior paleontologist as we explore fun facts about the largest animals to ever roam the Earth. A new story, activity and craft each week. Class will be postponed in inclement weather. One adult only per registered child.


DinoFest in Nature Playce

(3-9 yrs.) Learn and explore in dinoland! Compare your height and length to that of dinosaurs. Search for hidden dinosaurs and tracks. Make a fossil impression to take home. Canceled if rain. Child must be accompanied by an adult.


Dinosaur Days Camp (4-8 yrs.)

(4-8 yrs.) Explore the dinosaur world as campers become junior paleontologists. Naturalists lead discovery of the latest in dinosaur knowledge plus create crafts, play games and unearth fossils. Hidden Oaks camps will be held outdoors. Once registered, download camp forms from website.


Dinosaur Egg Hunt

(3-8 yrs.) Stomp over to Hidden Oaks Nature Center to enjoy a dinosaur-themed program and outdoor egg hunt while visiting Dinoland in Nature Playce. Cancelled in case of inclement weather. One adult only per registered child due to social distancing requirements.


Drawing Nature in Colored Pencils (16-Adult)

(16-Adult) Learn about different types of colored pencils and their uses (waxy, watercolor, verithin). Try combining colored pencil with pen or marker. Enjoy a guided hike each week as well as classroom instruction to draw seasonal plants, animals and artifacts. A list of suggested supplies sent prior to first class.


Drawing Reptiles and Amphibians (16-Adult)

(16-Adult) Learn about and draw these amazing creatures using pencil, colored pencil or watercolor. Each week naturalist Avery Gunther introduces live animals, provides tips for drawing and leads field sketching of live animals in the exhibit plus project work.


Exploring Fossils

(7-10 yrs) Become a paleontologist through a series of fun activities including: measuring and drawing real fossils, matching fossils to their prehistoric plant or animal, and making a mold fossil. Go on a prehistoric scavenger hunt hike to look for ferns, mosses, tadpoles and other descendants of ancient life. Meet a turtle, a snake and a lizard to learn how they differ in size, lifestyle and appearance from their ancient relatives. One parent must attend with children registered. Masks and social distancing required. Program is outside.


Flying Squirrels -Gliding in Tonight

(4-Adult) Join a naturalist calling in these amazing night gliders and look for flying squirrels at roosting boxes near the nature center. Learn how you can encourage flying squirrels to visit your yard. Children must be accompanied by a registered adult.


Frogs, Toads and Salamanders

(3-Adult) Explore by the pond by Nature Playce for hundreds of tadpoles! Meet a live frog, toad and salamander. Hike the trail and make a craft. Program is Outdoors. Child must be accompanied by an adult also registered in this program.


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