Sweet spring fling
Springtime means baby chicks, ducks and rabbits – at least in all of the magazine images that we see, but what about in real life? Yes! This Saturday, March 30, it’s the tenth annual 4-H Spring Fun Festival! Hosted by the Feathered Friends 4-H Club of Ulster County, this event epitomizes adorable and is ideal for young children. It can also get a little crowded, but the animals and activities are so sweet, you probably won’t mind: Kids can dye Easter eggs; do art projects; find a treasure in the chicken scratch; plant seeds to put in the garden; shop at the bake sale and more.
This is a wonderful little small-town why-you-love-living-here type of event. And get this: You can help out animals in need at some of our regional animal shelters while having a great time by dropping off dog, cat, rabbit, or bird food donations for a special thank-you prize. Admission costs $2 per child, $3 per adult or $6 per family.
The 4-H Spring Fun Festival takes place at the High Falls Firehouse, located at 1 Firehouse Road, behind the DePuy Canal House and the High Falls Post Office. For more information, call (845) 658-3467 or (845) 943-8098, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bright Spring Promises
This time of year feels like fun and rebirth to me. I’m energized to try new things, especially before baseball and softball season kick into full gear. HiHo Home Market in Gardiner shared an album of beautiful pictures recently, titled “Bright Spring Promises.” I think that says it all. Here’s to Bright Spring Promises!
Amphibian activities at Cary Institute & Minnewaska
One bright spring promise is the egg: the embodiment of more to come. And what a thrill to find hidden eggs, whether in a nest tucked under the garage eaves, or hidden in a playground during Easter! But have you ever done an amphibian egg hunt?
On Sunday, April 7 from 1 to 3 p.m., the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies presents its Spring Amphibian Egg Hunt. Explore vernal pools and search for amphibian egg masses with the Institute’s educators. This program fills quickly, and registration is required, so reserve your spot early.
The meet-up location is Cary West/Carriage House, 2917 Sharon Turnpike (Route 44) in Millbrook. The Cary Institute has some nice nature trails, so it’s worth a visit even without attending an official program. For more information or to register, call (845) 677-5343 or visit www.caryinstitute.org.
And since you’re in the neighborhood, I’ll mention that my kids like to stop at La Puerta Azul for lunch. Its homemade tableside guacamole is so good! La Puerta Azul is located at 2510 Route 44 in Millbrook and online at www.lapuertaazul.com.
Speaking of amphibians, homeschoolers are invited to attend Minnewaska State Park’s annual Amphibian Search on Thursday, April 4 from 1 to 3 p.m. Participants will play a frog life-cycle tag game, make a frog mask and learn about amphibian habitats while visiting vernal pools to look for frogs, salamanders and insects. Remember to wear boots for this one. This program is free and intended for youth ages 7 to 10 years with an accompanying guardian.
Minnewaska has another great nature offering: Backyard Birds for Children. At this workshop, participants will hear birdcalls, look at bird nests, feel feathers and go on a hike to look for birds. Each child will also have the opportunity to make a pinecone bird feeder to hang at home. This program is free and geared for kids ages 6 to 10 years with an accompanying guardian.
Preregistration is required for both programs. Please note that there is a parking fee of $8 per car, which reminds me: Have you renewed your Empire Passport car sticker yet? Last year’s expired on March 31. The annual fee gets you unlimited entry to New York State Parks, and we get a lot of use out of ours.
Minnewaska State Park is located at 5281 Route 44/55 in Gardiner. For more information about these programs, about the Empire Passport or to register, call (845) 255-0752 or visit https://nysparks.com.