We spent the morning at the Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve in Southlake. I just learned about this place last night at a Parks Board meeting I was attending and obviously I couldn't wait to check it out!
There are several different trails near the nature center but we took the main trail that starts at the center, next to this cool old barn. I just love pictures of old barns!
Nicholas loved watching bugs run around on the trail...
He pointed out critters crawling around on this old fallen tree. We walked up to the tree and spent a lot of time here just studying all the life that was living on the dead tree. It was a good way to show Nicholas that everything in nature can have a purpose even if it isn't apparent at first glance.
Nicholas is definitely in his element when we are outdoors. He absolutely loves a good nature trail and was all smiles the whole time!
Using the bug vac to study bugs. He caught an ant carrying what looked like it might be a piece of food, a spider, and some kind of little beetle. Of course, we released them all after studying them under the magnifying glass.
There were several bluebird houses along a part of the trail (aptly called the Blue Bird Trail!). We saw a door on one of the houses was mostly open so we peeked inside and found a nest! I was too short to see if there were any eggs in the nest but we closed the door so as not to disturb any possible tenants. We did see a blue bird in a tree nearby. Perhaps he was watching us to see if we were up to no good.
Playing with "twirly" weeds...
I was amazed that these wildflowers were taller than Nicholas...
until we walked a little farther and saw more of the same wildflowers that were actually taller than me! I'm not sure what they are but they look sort of like Bull Thistle but not quite. The leaves were very thorny and scary looking. The butterflies and bees just loved the flowers though!
On our way back to the nature center, we found a small patch of wild berries.
Back at the nature center, we took a little rest on this cool butterfly bench. We drank some water and talked about our favorite parts of the hike.
Look at the leaf inlays in the patio! I love this idea but it would be even better if there was also an identifying name with each leaf to help little ones learn which leaf goes with which tree.
The Bob Jones Nature Center and Preserve is a great place to visit for a nature walk and it's free! But they also offer some great nature classes for adults as well as preschoolers. I somehow got snookered into being the Environmental Chairman for our Early Childhood PTA next year and I'm definitely going to plan a children's outing here!
After our hike, we stopped by Rainforest Cafe for some lunch to cool off. Nicholas loves the life size animated animals there plus we had a coupon for a free kid's meal (can't beat that!). I wasn't sure how Rachel would do once the show started because the lights flicker and the animal start making all of their noises. She seemed a little surprised at first...
but after I finished eating, I took her out of the stroller and walked her around and she just loved watching all the action.
Nicholas enjoyed the special glass he got with the special compartment at the bottom where the toy is hidden.
We played in the backyard later in the day and Nicholas found these things. I guess they are seed pods of some type but I don't know where they came from.