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US: Folkston, GA – Canoe, Kayak, or Boat the Black Waters of the Okefenokee Swamp

Nature enthusiasts will relish the natural unspoiled and virtually unmarked by man Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge that was established in 1937 to preserve the Okefenokee Swamp. The refuge encompasses over 400,000 acres of canals, moss draped cypress trees and lily pads which provide sanctuaries for hundreds of species of birds and wildlife.Kayakers on canal

Okefenokee has the great distinction of not only being a part of the National Wildlife Refuge System, but also the National Wilderness Preservation System. Swamp habitats comprise open wet “prairies,” cypress forests, scrub-shrub vegetation, upland islands, and open lakes. Wildlife species include wading birds, ducks, alligators and other reptiles, a variety of amphibians, bobcats, raptors, white-tailed deer, black bears, and songbirds.

To assist you on your exploration, Okefenokee Adventures offers a full range of tour options and is located inside the refuge on the historic Suwannee Canal.  Canoe, kayak, or boat the mirrored black waters of the Okefenokee Swamp: You can join a regularly scheduled 90 minute guided boat tours, or reserve a 2 hour sunset tour or arrange a half or full day private excursion with an expert, professional guide. Their staff includes well-known authorities on alligator biology, wetland ecology, and Okefenokee cultural history. gator on log

Experience canoe camping in the back-country wilderness of the Swamp interior, or head out on your own in a canoe or kayak. You can bike or drive the Swamp Island Drive, visit an authentic Swamp homestead or walk the nature trails and boardwalk and  get bird’s eye views of the swamp from atop the observation tower.

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Location: Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, 2700 Suwanee Canal Rd, Folkston, GA 31537 , Tel: 912-496-7836 or 877-860-6787

Location: Okefenokee Adventures, 4159 Suwannee Canal Rd., Folkston, GA 31537
Hours: Open: ½-hour before sunrise every day,
Closed: 7:30pm – March 1 through Oct 31, Closed: 5:30pm – Nov 1 through end of Feb
Tel: 912-496-7156, 866-843-7926
okefenokeeadventures.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitkingsland.com

US: Cape Neddick, ME – Whoooo’s There?: Owl Prowl

Bring the whole flock out to the Center for Wildlife’s Owl Prowl; a fun, nature adventurous event and learn a bit about these amazing and mysterious birds of the night.Owl Prowl

Meet under the education pavilion to learn about native owl species, their ecology,  adaptations, hunting techniques, their amazing powers of sight and hearing, learn how to call owls and meet local representatives up close.

Following the presentation, take a short walk into the surrounding habitat to call for owls and listen for whooo might call back.

Owl prowlers of all ages are welcome, but patience and a quiet atmosphere are crucial for owl prowling. There is a $7 suggested donation per person for this event, and reservations are required. Take the Owl Prowl, it’s sure to be a hoot! Owl Prowl 2

Location: Center for Wildlife, 385 Mountain Rd., Cape Neddick, ME 03902
Date: Fridays, Feb 24, 2017 (also: Mar, 31, Apr, 28, 2017)
Time: 4 -5:30pm
Tel: 207-361-1400
thecenterforwildlife.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:yorkme.org portsmouthchamber.org

Canada – Winter Break Idea: See Wildlife Up Close in Canadian Safari at Parc Omega

If  you’re in the Montreal or Ottawa area,  you are only 1 1/2 hours away from an exciting safari adventure. Parc Omega is the perfect day outing for kids (and folks) of all ages. It’s an 800 hectare park where the animals roam free and you are “caged” in your car. It’s such an easy drive to be able to come face to face with Canadian wildlife: reindeer, elk, arctic wolf and fox, bison, musk ox, turkey, boar, coyote, black bear, and many kinds of deer.IMG_0362

Along a 12-kilometere safari nature route which takes you past lakes, meadows, small valleys, forests and rocky hills, you meander at your own pace. You can pick up bag of carrots at the visitor center (or bring your own), and as you slowly make your way through, you are allowed to open the windows to feed the wildlife. Kids are thrilled that they do not have to be in their car seats here and can flit from side to side of the vehicle to say hello to the animals.

You tune your radio to a station which fills you in on all sorts of information about the species you will be seeing.

  • We learned which males are good daddies and stay around to raise the youngsters and which ones only show up for mating season.
  • I never knew that the musk oxen’s heads are strong as hammers and they butt and knock everything down. Their quarters are specially built to withstand their strength.IMG_5699
  •  You pass by low slung “condos” for boars designed to keep the big predators out.
  • Coming here in winter gives you the opportunity to see how the arctic fox blends into the snowscape.

About 2/3 through, there’s a place to stop,  get out to stretch legs and visit some wooden buildings for bathrooms, gifts, food and hot cocoa. Friendly deer are in the parking area to get a snack too – those carrots – buy lots.

This is one experience that all Canadian families should take advantage of. It’s not only educational and fun, but will bring lasting memories for the whole family.IMG_0369

Location: Parc Omega is a safari park in Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours, Quebec, Canada
Address: 399 Route 323 North, Montebello, QC J0V 1L0 Click for map Google Map

Phone: (819) 423-5487
www.parcomega.ca

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US: Fayetteville, NC – Incredible Lego® Bricks Exhibit & Holiday Light Show in Botanical Garden

Make sure that you include a stop in Fayetteville to see the NATURE CONNECTS® Art with Lego® Bricks Exhibit at Cape Fear Botanical Garden which lasts until January 8, 2017.

Kids and kids at heart will appreciate this award-winning, record-breaking exhibition, inspired by nature and built by artist Sean Kenney, with over 500,000 colorful LEGO® bricks. The exhibit features  larger-than-life sculptures representing the complex and amazing network that interconnects all living things on Earth.

The sculptures will be displayed throughout the Garden to encourage you to walk by an 8-foot tall hummingbird, go nose-to-nose with a 5-foot bumblebee, admire a 7-foot rose, and watch an oversized koi leap about in the Cypress Pond.

Interpretative panels for each display with feature a message to connect children with the natural world and promote environmental stewardship and conservation. Adding to the exhibit will be activities for all ages, hands-on building stations, and design competitions.nature-connects-art-with-lego-bricks-exhibit

Cape Fear Botanical Gardens also offers some evening entertainment for the holidays:  Holiday Lights in the Garden – where the Garden will be transformed into a sparkling wonderland with thousands of lights illuminating plants, trees, and new exhibits.

Attractions and festivities include a synchronized show of lights and music shimmering over the Cypress Pond, a mile long stroll featuring thousands of lights aglow, photos with Santa on select evenings, S’mores roasting over the fire pit, and free crafts for children. The Garden Gift Shop, brimming with wonderful holiday selections, will be open each evening. nightly until Dec 23rd, Dec 26th – 30th, 5 – 9pm.

Take advantage of their on-line special pricing:.eventbrite.com/e/holiday-lights-in-the-garden-pre-sale-tickets-29281713393

Location: Cape Fear Botanical Garden, 536 N. Eastern Blvd., Fayetteville, NC 28301
Dates: until Sun,  Jan 8, 2017 – *Excluding holidays: Christmas Eve and Day, New Year’s Eve and Day.
Hours: Mon – Sat: 10am – 4pm, Sun: 11am – 4pm *Last Admission: 3:15 pm
Tel: 910-486-0221
capefearbg.org
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitfayettevillenc.com

US: St Marys, GA – Wild Horses Graze on Georgia’s Cumberland Island

A short ferry ride transports you to the treasured, pristine Cumberland Island National Seashore, the largest and southernmost barrier island in Georgia, offering visitors over 17 miles of secluded, white, sandy beaches.

Preserved and protected for future generations, Cumberland Island National Seashore includes a designated wilderness area, undeveloped beaches, historic sites, cultural ruins, critical habitat and nesting areas. Walk on the footsteps of early natives, explorers, and wealthy industrialists.wild-horses-cumberland-island

You can’t explain Cumberland, you experience it. Time moves to the rhythm of nature. On this National Seashore, it is the animals that are the inhabitants and people are only visitors. The majestic sweep of deserted sandy beach is dotted with shells and usually deserted, except for the wild horses roaming at will. The dramatic slope of the dunes is a constant work in progress, sculptured by the wind and sea. The inland’s, majestic live oak and palmetto forests provide shelter for the horses, deer, turkey, alligator, armadillo, mink and a tremendous variety of coastal birds.

You’ll find campsites, hiking trails and first-come-first-serve bike rentals on the island. There are no amenities on the island beyond the restrooms and water fountains. You should bring lunch and water bottles to refill.

The visitor’s center in St. Mary’s, Georgia is the gateway to Cumberland Island. Here you can get tickets for the ferry over to the Island, as well as information about camping permits on the Island.

Location:Mainland Visitor Center, 113 Saint Marys St, GA 31558
Hours: Visitor Center  8 – 4 pm
Tel: 912-882-4335
nps.gov/cuis/index.htm
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:
visitkingsland.com

Canada: Montreal, Quebec – Voiles en Voiles Pirate Ship

Voiles en Voiles is a family-oriented park in the Old Port of Montreal, based on a pirate ship and consisting of aerial climbing, zipping, wall climbing and inflatable bouncing games. Voiles en Voiles Pirate ShipThis is an idea of what you are up against at Voiles en voiles.

US: Dover, DE – Delaware’s 30th Annual Amish Country Bike Tour

Delaware’s 30th Annual Amish Country Bike Tour is held in the state’s capital, Dover. It is the largest cycling event and one of the East Coast’s favorite bike tours. Last year, 2,200+ cyclists from 25 states and England participated in the event.

Amish Bike TourThe Bike Tour starts and stops at Dover’s historic open air park, Legislative Mall. The tour has five loops: 15, 25, 50, 62 and 100-mile loops through FLAT back roads, farmlands and Delaware’s Amish community. Along the route, there are four food-rest stops with food and beverages, slices of locally baked pie and a fully-catered BBQ meal at the end of the tour.

The Amish Country Bike Tour is an experience that is suitable for all ages and abilities, from beginners and families to serious cyclists. The event goes on rain or shine

Location: Historic Dover, 411 Legislative Ave, Dover, DE 19901
Date: Sat, Sept 10, 2016
Time: Optional start times: 7 – 10am
Tel: 800-233-5368
amishcountrybiketour.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitdover.com
drivei95.com

 

US: St. Marys, GA – Wild Horses Graze on Georgia’s Cumberland Island

A short ferry ride (passengers only) transports you to the treasured, pristine Cumberland Island National Seashore, the largest and southernmost barrier island in Georgia, offering visitors over 17 miles of secluded, white, sandy beaches.

Preserved and protected for future generations, Cumberland Island National Seashore includes a designated wilderness area, undeveloped beaches, historic sites, cultural ruins, critical habitat and nesting areas. Walk on the footsteps of early natives, explorers, and wealthy industrialists.

You can’t explain Cumberland, you experience it. Time moves to the rhythm of nature. On this National Seashore, it is the animals that are the inhabitants and people are only visitors. The majestic sweep of deserted sandy beach is dotted with shells and usually deserted, except for the wild horses roaming at will. The dramatic slope of the dunes is a constant work in progress, sculptured by the wind and sea. The inland’s, majestic live oak and palmetto forests provide shelter for the horses, deer, turkey, alligator, armadillo, mink and a tremendous variety of coastal birds.

You’ll find campsites, hiking trails and first-come-first-serve bike rentals on the island. There are no amenities on the island beyond the restrooms and water fountains. You should bring lunch and water bottles to refill.

The visitor’s center in St. Mary’s, Georgia is the gateway to Cumberland Island. Here you can get tickets for the ferry over to the Island, as well as information about camping permits on the Island. Wild Horses - Cumberland Island

Location:Mainland Visitor Center, 113 Saint Marys St, GA 31558
Hours: Visitor Center  8 – 4 pm
Tel: 912-882-4335
nps.gov/cuis/index.htm
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions:
visitkingsland.com

Canada: Ottawa, Ontario – Largest Turtle Skeleton

This is the skeleton of the largest turtle that ever existed – an Archelon. Instead of a solid shell, it had an open framework of struts covered by a thick coating of rubbery skin. This allowed him to swim more efficiently. You can see it at the Museum of Science and Nature in Ottawa.

Turtle Skeleton

 

Canada: Ottawa, Ontario – Queen’s Lantern

In the magnificent Queen’s Lantern, the glass open space at the top of the Museum of Nature, what looks like a giant jellyfish is hanging. You can see it from afar outside the museum, and inside as you navigate between floors. The windows with stone dividers provides a beautiful view both of the outdoors and inside the museum.

Queen's Lantern