101 Places: Visiting a Wetland
The book contains a list of (you guessed it) 101 fun, quirky, exciting, etc. places to visit with kids. It lists everything from the relatively mundane (such as farmers’ markets and the house where your parents grew up) to the relatively exotic (such as an archaeological site and an Olympic training center). It even lists some accessible ideas (in the United States and Canada) for those who might find the exotic locations too exotic. (A faraway island needn’t mean something like Tahiti or Madagascar–there are “faraway islands” in Ontario, Georgia, Wisconsin, and California too!)
Lover of lists–and lover of crossing things off lists–that I am, I gave this book as a gift to myself at the end of last year. I am positively giddy with excitement about the book. And I’m even giddier with excitement to take the kids to all of the places listed in it.
Of course, we’re not going to make it to all 101 before Miles (now 7) turns 12. So we (note: I) decided that we would visit all 101 before Miles turns 18 (and, sniff sniff, leaves the proverbial nest). To make the process even more organized (and, let’s face it, neurotic), I also decided that at the beginning of each year, we’d each choose one place that we absolutely wanted to visit. And then the other five or six spots would be up for grabs.
Tim’s side job as a tax preparer has given us desperately little time to embark on any of these adventures since the beginning of 2013. But just this past Saturday, he had the good fortune to get off work early. Since the sun was shining and the temperature was almost warm (i.e. a balmy 42 degrees…ahem), we decided to cross the first place off of our list: a wetland.
We chose to visit Slate Run Metro Park, home to a 1.5 mile trail that encircles an entire swath of wetlands (including vernal pools–do you know how amazing vernal pools are?! Because they are incredible! I’m darn near obsessed with them! Seriously. Just ask Tim. I think he’s ready to muzzle me if I utter the words “vernal pool” one more time.)
In any case, though the older boys complained the whole ride to the park–“This is going to be so stupid!” “I’m too tired to go hiking!” “I’m cold!” “I’m hot!“–their complaints faded into oblivion by the time they spotted their first tadpoles and blue herons and snails.
The family verdict? Wetlands are totally rad places to visit.
Wearing Eric while Miles checks out the tadpoles. (Eric was ready to go head-first into every body of water we encountered, so he spent a lot of the hike tucked away in the Beco.)
Spotting tiny fish in the water and big birds in the sky.
Miles finds a snail shell (and then promptly returns it to the place where he found it).
If this is not a heart-melting argument for you to visit your local wetland, I don’t know what is.