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Monday, May 27, 2013

Bring kids to Hidden Oaks Nature Center for lots of drop-in activities

Nature Playce, an all-natural play area.
Annandale’s Hidden Oaks Nature Center offers lots of nature programs for kids (such as science lessons, animal encounters, campfires, tea parties, and nature-related crafts) that require advanced registration and fees. But there are also a variety of drop-in activities at Hidden Oaks:

Nature Playce – An unstructured woodland play area, where kids can make mud pies, dig into woodchip and leaf piles, make ground forts, or just rest next to a tree and watch the clouds float by. At the nature center, kids can sign up to be an “Official Nature Snooper” and receive a complimentary gift from the Friends of Hidden Oaks.

Hidden Oaks Bingo – Ask a naturalist for a free Hidden Oaks bingo card and earn a Hidden Oaks patch for completing a row of four activities, such as exhibit exploration, trail walks, and program participation.

Summer Discovery Bag – At the Nature Center, request a free bag full of learning activities to enhance your hike along the Old Oak Trail, which loops behind the center for a third of a mile.

Summer Scavenger Hunt – Available for $1 dollar at the Nature Center, this guide has clues for a self-guided nature scavenger hunt along the trail.

Your Art in the Park Wall Tile - Create your own nature design on paper, and the Nature Center staff will transfer it to a permanent, four-inch square tile for the Hidden Oaks Wall of Nature Art. This project is $20 and is sponsored by Friends of Hidden Oaks.

Monday Bird Walk – 7-9 a.m. at Eakin Community Park. Meet at the Prosperity Avenue parking lot. Bring binoculars. The walk canceled if it’s raining. Registration is required, but there is no charge. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Call 703/941-1065 for information.

The Hidden Oaks Nature Center (7701 Royce St., Annandale) is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and noon-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. It’s closed on Tuesdays and July 4. The grounds are open dawn to dusk.

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