I've been meaning to blog about the Ecomuseum for such a long time! Luckily, in postponing this post, I've amassed a nice collection of photos over the various seasons at my all-time favourite "regular" outing.
The Ecomuseum is a beautiful retreat in Ste. Anne de Bellevue. It cares for a wonderful variety of wildlife, and its focus is on education and protection of animals in a natural habitat. We started going there last summer, when I discovered it online somehow and was intrigued. We've gone 5 times since then, and have enjoyed it immensely each time!
For $20 a visit ($12.50 per adult, $7.50 for children 3 to 15 years, free for children under 3), we've made a full day outing of our trip to the Ecomuseum each time. In general, we arrive in the morning, set out on the trails for about 1.5 hours, stop for lunch (there's an indoor lunch room, or outdoor picnic tables so you're set no matter what the weather), then go downstairs to visit the reptiles, fish, and nocturnal animals for about a half hour. A 10am to 2pm outing is perfect timing here! The bathroom is equipped with a change table, and there is a stepping stool at the sink for young hand-washers. The staff are friendly and courteous. And the experience is always a bit different. Oh, and they are open every day of the year except Christmas Day, so it's a great place to plan an outing any time of year.
Here are views of the pond during the summertime and the wintertime:
We have seen a snowy owl (particularly beautiful in a snowy environment), a red fox, crows and ravens, a lynx, coyotes, a black bear, caribou, otters, butterflies in the butterfly garden, turtles, porcupines, turkeys, deer, and more! And on each visit, Kira has a new question ("Do bears have tails?" "How do fishers catch porcupines?") and walks out with new knowledge about the animals she saw that day. Calvin on the other hand, just enjoys the nature and the walk.
This winter we went to an Animal Apprentice workshop for 3 to 5 year olds, and it was a very enriching experience. Kira got to prepare food for the animals, along with the other participating children. The animator was excellent, and made her talk interesting and relevant to this age group. She separated the children into groups, which - with the help of the accompanying parents - made "toys" out of food for various animals to claw or peck or poke at to get to their snack. We discovered just how clever ravens are when we went to hide our group's "toy" in the raven's enclosure. We went for a long walk along the trail, while Jennifer our animator, shared all kinds of facts and interesting tidbits about the animals we were visiting. We fed many of those animals from the food that we prepared during our workshop. And upon our return to the warmth of the indoors, we were treated to more reptiles and animals that the kids got to meet up close. I highly recommend this experience for all nature and animal lovers!
Most recently, we went back to the Ecomuseum this past Saturday, for the first time with Mark! I was so excited for him to experience it and to see why I kept raving about it. Being Easter weekend, it was packed! But we had a wonderful time and perfect weather for this family outing. We even stayed in the area afterward, and went for a long walk along the river. We enjoyed ice cream, supper, and each other's company.