Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Family friendly activities at Dunes State Park in January and February

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Indiana Dunes State Park has a host of fun winter activities for the whole family in January and February.

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Patch or Pin

In January and February--Stop by the Nature Center any time to learn how you can earn a patch or pin. This is a great program for all ages and families.

Snowshoe Rentals

Thanks to the Friends of the Indiana Dunes, the Nature Center offers snowshoe rental for all ages. As long as there are at least six inches of snow on the ground, one can explore the Dunes with this fun outdoor recreational equipment. A driver’s license is needed and the cost is $5 for the day. Reservations aren’t taken.

National Bird Day Buffet,

10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 5

It’s National Bird Day. Celebrate by helping the naturalists fill all the bird feeders at the Nature Center, a daily chore with lots up-close views of songbirds. Also, learn the “scoop” on how to attract birds to your backyard.

Then, at 2 p.m., visit the Nature Center for Critter Dinner, as some of its resident reptiles and amphibians are fed their worm, minnow, and cricket delights.

Sensational Spiders,

10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 6

Start off the New Year with a new-found love of spiders, by visiting the Nature Center for some spider show ‘n tell, a craft, and more.

Then, at 2 p.m. meet a naturalist at the Pavilion for a Beach Discovery Walk. See what mysteries may have washed up and if the shelf ice is starting to form.

Winter SSSSnakes,

10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 12

Slither over to the Nature Center to see some of its snakes up-close and learn more about them.

Then, from 2 to 3 p.m., participate in CSI: Owls, for the chance to investigate the remains of an owl’s meal. This is a great program for the whole family.

Snowshoe Shuffle,

10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 13

Enjoy a naturalist-led snowshoe exercise hike at the Nature Center. These free hikes offer a chance to learn the history and techniques of snowshoeing for all levels. Snowshoes will be available for free on a first-come-first-serve basis. In case of too little snow, folks will still enjoy a winter hike nearby.

Then, at 2 p.m., participate in the J.D. Marshall Shipwreck program, for a look at one of Lake Michigan’s many shipwreck stories.

Annual Geocache Day,

10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 19

This a fun geocaching event brings geocachers of all levels together to compete and enjoy the beauty of the Indiana Dunes.

This year’s challenges and prizes are themed around Duneland artists. Full details are located at www.geocaching.com: search zipcode 46304 for the event page.

All are invited to participate in the day’s programs which ends with a chili dump at the Nature Center to warm up those cold bones.

Lunar Eclipse Party,

9 p.m. to 12 a.m.

Sunday, Jan. 20

Join the naturalists and volunteer astronomers for this special night program at the Indiana Dunes State Park beach, as telescopes reveal the changing color of the moon as it moves into full eclipse. Lunar treats will be provided. Call the park to check on cloud conditions.

Winter Bird Banding,

10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 26

Visit the Nature Center’s library to see wintering songbird residents up-close, including the elusive winter finches.

Indiana Audubon will be assisting in catching birds visiting the Nature Center’s bird feeders and bringing them inside for visitors to see as they study and record their measurements and put a research band on their ankles before releasing them back out into the woods.

Showshoe Shuffle,

10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 27

Enjoy a naturalist-led snowshoe exercise hike at the Nature Center. These free hikes offer a chance to learn the history and techniques of snowshoeing for all levels. Snowshoes will be available for free on a first-come-first-serve basis. In case of too little snow, folks will still enjoy a winter hike nearby.

Ground Hog’s Scavenger Hunt,

12 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 2

Stop in the Nature Center for a fun list with a photo twist. All ages will enjoy and fun prizes awarded.

Cocoa and Crafts,

1 to 3 Sunday, Feb. 3

Warm up in the Nature Center Auditorium anytime during these hours and create a make-it and take-it craft from items in nature.

Snowshoe Shuffle,

10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9

Enjoy a naturalist-led snowshoe exercise hike at the Nature Center.

Then, at 2 p.m., enjoy Nature Myths. Only a shadow knows if winter is over? Do toads really give you warts. Meet at the Nature Center to help us bust the myths about animals that call the Dunes home in this fun and interactive program.

Beach Hike,

10 a.m. Sunday Feb. 10

Join the naturalist at the Nature Center to embark on this one-hour moderate hike with Lake Michigan the destination. We’ll explore its beauty and stories before our return trek along Trail 7.

Then, at 2 p.m., see the Nature Center’s live turtles and snakes at Reptile Rendezvous and learn how they survive the cold winter months.

Snowshoe Shuffle,

10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 16

Enjoy a naturalist-led snowshoe exercise hike at the Nature Center.

Then, from 2 to 4, visit the Nature Center for Fur-Tastic Show ‘N’ Tell, for a fun looks at some mammals of the Dunes. See them up-close and learn more about their fur adaptations.

Dunes Creek Hike,

10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 17

Start at the Nature Center for this easy and accessible hike to the beach, and learn the story of Dunes Creek and more about the unique history of this area.

Then, at 2 p.m., participate in Winter Tracks & Scat 101, an interactive program which will finish with a fun Poo IQ Quiz.

Birds’ Breakfast,

10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 23

Sunflowers, suet cakes, and peanuts will be on the menu at the Nature Center.

Then, from 2 to 4 p.m., play Bird Window Bingo, a fun bird identification game for all ages. Prizes will be awarded.

General Info

All programs are free (unless otherwise noted) and open to the public after paying the park entrance fee. Interpretive programs are designed to entertain and enrich folks of all ages but children under 12 must have an adult with them at programs.

Nature Center hours (phone is currently out of order): 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

Camping and shelter reservations can be made at www.camp.in.gov. The swimming beach is closed for the season.

Much of the interpretive programming support comes from the Friends of Indiana Dunes. Learn more at www.friendofindiandunes.org

 

Posted 1/3/2018

 

Posted 1/3/2018

 

Posted 1/3/2018

 

Posted 1/3/2018

 

Posted 1/3/2018

 

 
 
 
 

 

 

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