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Planning a field trip? Our 2014-2015 Education Guide is now available. Click on Education to download. From cake to snakes, Charlotte Nature Museum birthday parties are Wild By Nature.
Whether it was a nature walk, habitat building, fishing or creek crawling, Summer Camps at Charlotte Nature Museum are messy, sweaty, silly, educational and, above all, unforgettable.

The Summer Camp season recently end, which makes me very sad.

I enjoy Summer Camps so much; it's probably my favorite time of the year.

We have a lot of different kinds of Camps here for kids from ages 3 - 10 years old. Most of this season, I have had the pleasure of helping teach the Camps for Pre-K and Rising Grades 4 - 5.

From day to day, the themes change but the fun and excitement stays the same.

For the youngest Campers we spend a lot of time talking about the differences between types of animals and being able to identify them by sight. We went on a lot of nature walks to find birds, bugs, and every once in a while we would see reptiles or mammals.

The Campers loved finding animals, whether out in nature or on exhibition in the Museum, and always enjoyed making craft… Keep reading.

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Looking for fun, inexpensive activities to do with the kids this summer? Give upcycling a try! With a little paint and creativity, empty boxes, bottles and cans can be transformed into musical instruments, games or even birdhouses.

With school out for the summer, many parents are looking for fun, inexpensive activities to do with their kids. Why not give upcycling a try?

There are so many great projects people can do with old objects around the house, instead of recycling or throwing them away.

What exactly is upcycling? It is the process of making something useful, and often beautiful, from old or discarded materials.

During our recent Earth Day Play Date, we made musical instruments, a matching game, a bowling set and a birdhouse all out of "trash" found at the Museum.

Here's how we did it.

Musical Instruments:
1. Take old coffee cans or tissue boxes and wrap different sized rubber bands around them. The different sized bands will create different notes when plucked or strummed.
2. Turn empty pla… Keep reading.

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A Museum staff member displays a corn snake, a naturally docile breed that is friendly with guests.

One of the coolest animals I get to work with is the snake. We have lots of different species that live at the Museum, including pine, corn, black rat, yellow rat, copperhead, ribbon, northern water, king and garter snakes.

Most of the snakes stay on exhibition in Creature Cavern, but we have a few that we're able to bring out for Animal Encounters. This means you can touch them!

Whenever I handle a snake, the first question a guest usually asks is, "Will it bite?" This is a great question to ask because it's important to maintain the highest level of safety around any animal.

Anything with a mouth can bite — it's true — but people also have mouths and can bite. This doesn't mean we go around biting things all the time, and it's the same way with our snakes.

Snake mainly bite… Keep reading.

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Copperheads have a distinct hourglass pattern on their skin. Young copperheads also have a bright green tail. Photo credit: Virginia Herpetological Society

We are lucky that we don't have many venomous snakes here in Mecklenburg County. We mostly only have to keep our eyes out for copperheads. So, do you know how to identify one?

There are several ways to tell if a snake is a copperhead, but the easiest and safest way is to look at their pattern. The darker spots on the back of the snake are in an hourglass shape, meaning they are wider on the sides and thinner in the middle.

If you look at a copperhead from the side, the hourglass spots touch the ground. Most similarly patterned snakes have spots that do not reach all the way to the underside of the snake.

Copperheads also have diamond-shaped heads and cat-like eyes. These two characteristics are not as easy to spot as the snake's patterned skin, so it can make identifying much ha… Keep reading.

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Despite the myth, mother birds won't abandon their young after they've been touched by a human. Before you consider touching or moving a baby bird, first make sure the animal has truly been abandoned.

We get a lot of calls from worried residents about baby animals, especially this time of year. Spring is the perfect time to see young rabbits, birds and other sorts of native animals around.

But what should we do if we think one has been abandoned or hurt?

First make sure the animal has truly been abandoned. Cottontail rabbits are out of the nest in as little as three weeks, and their mothers only visit the nest to feed. This occurs twice a day for as little as five minutes! You can mark the top of the nest with thin twigs in a tic-tac-toe pattern, and the mother will move the sticks when she visits.

Unless you can see the deceased mother nearby, watch from a safe distance to see if the mother returns after a few days. If the baby has flies buzzing around it or is covered in fec… Keep reading.

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Throughout its metamorphosis, a butterfly changes from an egg to larva to pupa before becoming an adult butterfly. Copyright - 2014

Metamorphosis is one of my favorite things to teach here at Charlotte Nature Museum!

In fact, we have a whole class devoted just to learning the difference between the metamorphosis and simple growth life cycles.

Metamorphosis is a fancy word that means to transform or change. Lots of animals change slightly as they grow. A person, for example, doesn't look exactly the same their whole life. But they don't grow wings or have their lungs change to gills as they become adults.

Animals that go through metamorphosis have drastic changes from their egg to adult stages.

One animal that comes to mind is the butterfly. This time of year, these beautiful creatures are starting to make their way back into our gardens and yards, and we are seeing their eggs, caterpillars and chrysalis eve… Keep reading.

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Birthday Parties 2014

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