So, you've got a kid, huh? Whether it's your own rambunctious preschooler or the bratty nephew you've been charged with keeping alive for the next five hours, the most important thing is leaving your house where valuables are liable to be destroyed and seeking refuge on somebody else's property. In this series, we'll be exploring fun, local, and quirky spots that are kid-tastic and adult-friendly, too.
"Owls," says Karl Brummert, executive director of the Audubon Society of Greater Denver, "are fascinating, mystifying and intriguing to all ages." At this year's fourth annual HOOTenanny -- which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, September 27 at the Audubon Center at Chatfield -- parents and their kiddos will get up close and personal with real Colorado owls from Wild Wings Environmental Education. Sounds like a hoot!
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Nestled at the southeast corner of Chatfield State Park alongside the South Platte River, an important wildlife corridor, the Audubon Center offers premiere bird and wildlife viewing year-round in a diverse group of ecosystems comprised of forests, shrublands, grasslands, ponds and wetlands. The site boasts 345 bird species, and is such a great spot for observing birds that it is designated as an Important Bird Area.
The Audubon Center is outfitted with an array of educational equipment -- binoculars, aquatic sweep nets, insect nets, track molds, microscopes and more -- to facilitate a hands-on approach to nature discovery. And that's exactly what you'll get this weekend as the secret life of owls is revealed through crafts, educational activities and informational displays presented by local non-profit and government organizations.
Chatfield State Park, partnering with the Audubon Center, will host a booth on indigenous owls. Lookout Mountain Nature Center, new to the event this year, is bringing a collection of biofacts, which is a fancy word for a form a taxidermy that can include the whole animal or part of it.
Activities include the chance to investigate what owls eat by examining owl pellets in the "Whoo's for Dinner" game. Children will also be guided in creating baby owls out of pinecones, and will love the face painting. Parents can enjoy the live bluegrass music, while perusing various vendors selling owl merchandise like jewelry and artwork.
South Side Pizzeria is catering, offering pizza and drinks for purchase throughout the day. And Whole Foods has donated 100 reusable owl-themed shopping bags as a door prize for the first attendees.
Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for children ages three to twelve; those under three are free; proceeds support educational programs and activities at the Audubon Center at Chatfield. Last year, there were over 400 people in attendance -- so register in advance online to secure your spot. For more information, call 303-973-9530 or visit the Audubon Center's website.
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