Families with young children are invited to join in a free, monthly exploratory hike, book reading and craft through the “Eco-Kids” program of the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.
Each program offers a different theme and is held from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at DeVeaux State Park in Niagara Falls. The series begins Saturday with “Aren’t the Animals Cold?” State naturalists will talk about how animals stay warm and fed during the cold winter months and lead a hike looking for animals who are active in the still of winter.
“Why Is It Still Snowing?” will be the topic Feb. 10. Families will have a chance to talk about fun activities to be had when those flakes fall, while a hike celebrates this frozen entertainment. The day will also feature a story and craft.
“Is It Spring Yet?” is the topic on March 10. Park naturalists will lead a hike looking for sure signs of spring. Call 282-5154 to register for any of these.
In other park programs, two opportunities will be offered to strap on snowshoes or cross-country skis and join guided hikes through two state parks on nearby Grand Island. Park naturalists will lead a snowshoe hike from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at Beaver Island State Park. They’ll meet again from 10 a.m. to noon next Sunday for a cross-country ski trek at Buckhorn State Park. Call 549-1050 to register.
State parks will mark the 80th anniversary of the collapse of the Honeymoon Bridge with a special program from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 27 at DeVeaux Woods. A presentation will be filled with photos that span the 40-year existence of the bridge.
That same day, park naturalists will present a program on the Ice Bridge of Niagara from 1 to 4 p.m. at Niagara Falls State Park’s Visitors Center.
Everyone is invited on a Valentine’s Day Candle Lantern Walk from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 14 at DeVeaux State Park. Enjoy hot chocolate while making your own lantern before heading out on a guided tour through an old growth woods.
A sure sign of the season is the chance to do some Birding on the Niagara River, which is planned for 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Feb. 24 at Beaver Island State Park. State guides will help search for migratory waterfowl and other wintering birds along the shores. Stops include a lagoon overlook as well as other prime bird-watching spots. Call 282-5154 to register and learn where to meet.
Early spring is maple sugaring time and parks naturalists will give an indoor presentation on the process from 10 a.m. to noon March 10 at DeVeaux Woods State Park. An outdoors, hands-on demonstration follows, to learn how to tap a tree and see sap turn into syrup.
A March 17 stroll through Artpark State Park in Lewiston will help participants emerge from hibernation and look for signs of spring. It’s planned for 1 to 3 p.m.
The winter programs conclude with a chance to “Get Outside and Play” from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 28 at DeVeaux Woods State Park. Dress for the weather and be prepared to play in the snow, if there is some, or on the new playground. Park naturalists will give an informal nature presentation.
Call 282-5154 to register for any of these programs, unless otherwise noted, and visit parks.ny.gov for more information.