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County parks offers summer activities for kids

Anonymous • Jul 21, 2015 at 10:58 AM

The “Beach Zone” is held at Kirk Park and is scheduled for Tuesday, June 28; Friday, July 15; and Thursday, Aug. 18. Come anytime between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parks staff will have a tent canopy set up on the beach for kids and adults to explore the beach and participate in a variety of beach activities.  Adults must supervise their children during these activities. There is no program fee; however, there is a county vehicle parking fee required at Kirk Park. Advance registration is not required. This program will be canceled if there is rain or high winds. Kirk Park is located in Grand Haven Township on Lakeshore Drive, about 2 miles south of M-45. 

The county parks department is also offering a program series called “Programs Just For Kids.” The Nature Education Center’s interpretive staff has designed these age-specific programs to provide a positive outdoor learning experience for children. 

The first in this series of programs is “Wonderful Wildflowers” at 1 p.m. Saturday, June 25. During this 1.5-hour program, upper elementary children will learn to identify grassland wildflowers and discover the unique ways flowering plants attract pollinating insects. 

“Amazing Bees” is scheduled for Saturday, July 2, at 1 p.m. This two-hour program for children in grades 1-3 will focus on the characteristics, differences and importance of bees and other insects.  

“Big Bugs, Little Bugs, Bugs All Around” will be offered at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 30, for 4-6 year olds.  This one-hour program will introduce kids to the diverse world of insects. Through hands-on exploration, kids will see that the “creepy crawly critters” are fun to observe and study.   

The final program in the series is “Trees are Terrific” on Saturday, Aug. 6, at 1 p.m. This two-hour program for upper elementary children will focus on the importance of trees and includes outdoor observation, activities, and using a tree key to identify common trees.

There are no fees for these programs; however, advanced registration is required. To register or for more information, call 616-786-4847. All programs will be held at the Nature Education Center at Hemlock Crossing in Port Sheldon Township.

For kids looking for a more in-depth experience, parks is offering Kids Nature Days. These one-day age-specific programs will be led by the Nature Education Center’s interpretive staff. Each day will be divided into several sessions including a group game, snack or craft. Both days are 9 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. at the Nature Education Center at Hemlock Crossing, and include indoor and outdoor activities. Children will provide their own lunch.

The first nature day is “Cycles of Life” on Thursday, July 7, for kids going into second or third grade.  This day will focus on various cycles of life, and will include searching for aquatic insects and exploring rotting logs. 

“Fascinating Critters” on Wednesday, Aug. 17, is for kids going into fourth or fifth grade. It will focus on birds, butterflies and aquatic insects.

The cost for Kids Nature Days is $10 per child per day, and advance registration is required. A letter with details will be sent one week prior to the program date. 

For a full schedule of Ottawa County Parks programs, visit www.miottawa.org/parks. For more information or to register for a program, call 616-786-4847.

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