Kid nature programs

If your kids like nature and to be outdoors, Fairfax County nature centers have programs that are both educational and fun. My 11-year-old has taken the Cub Run nature programs and loved it because they trekked through the nearby forest and stream in search of amphibians and reptiles.  

The following classes still had openings, but require registration this week. Some are good for families, others are geared toward certain ages. You can register online by clicking on the class name below, or by calling the automated telephone service: 703-449-8639, 5am-11pm seven days a week; by live operator: 703-222-4664, 9am-4pm Mon-Fri.

Starting on Saturday, April 5

Orienteering (8-Adult)
Two classes at 2 p.m. on April 5 and 12
Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale
Orienteering is the sport of navigation with map and compass. It’s easy to learn, but always challenging. Orienteering is a sport for everyone, regardless of age or experience. Participants will learn how to use a compass, read a topographic map, and navigate orienteering courses. Compass required. Class takes 1 hour and 55 minutes. Cost is free for Fairfax County residents; $41 for nonresidents.

Butterfly Gardening for Beginners   (6-Adult)
2 classess at 10 a.m. April 5 and 12
Hidden Oaks Nature Center, Annandale
Discover how easily you can attract butterflies and hummingbirds to your backyard by providing the host and nectar plants for native butterflies. Learn how to create your own backyard habitat and start host plants for monarch butterflies. Classroom and garden experience included. Class length is 55 minutes. Cost is $20 for Fairfax County residents; $30 for nonresidents. 

Starting on Sunday, April 6 

Wizard Science (6-8 yrs)
5 classes at 1:30 p.m. on April 6, 13, 20, 27 and May 4
Cub Run Rec Center, Chantilly
Of course we can’t teach you to be a wizard but you can apprentice to a naturalist and learn some real world facts about wizard topics. Learn about local owls and how snakes communicate. We will also look at natural herbs and potion preparations that have been used for centuries. Supply fee due to instructor at first class. Class is 1 hour, 25 minutes long. Cost is $60 for Fairfax County residents; $70 for nonresidents. 

This class also is available at Riverbend Park  starting 4 p.m. Thursday, May 15. Same details appply, except the classes are at 4 p.m. on five consecutive Thursdays.

Starting Wednesday, May 14

Rockhounds (6-8 yrs)
Five classes at 4 p.m. May 14, 21, 28 and June 4, 11
Riverbend Park, Great Falls
Rocks rock! Discover the fascinating world of rocks from how rocks change to how we use rocks every day. Learn about the rock cycle and develop your skills as a junior geologist. Class is 55 minutes long. Cost is $40 for county residents, $50 for nonresidents.

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