Speaking of wild times, we caught another free summer show with Long Beach Public Library on Wednesday. This time, it was El Dorado Nature Center showing off at the Dana branch in Bixby Knolls, and it was definitely an all-natural show: The curator brought bugs.
Yes, bugs. Why bugs?! Well, the theme of this year’s summer reading program is “Dig into Reading!” With that, Nature Center staffer Ms. Dana (that really was her name despite our location) has put together a wonderful 45-minute program focused around the creatures you might find while digging into the ground while gardening or playing in the dirt (like many kids do).
On this trip, Ms. Dana showed us a pair of hissing cockroaches, a millipede, some walking sticks, and a giant tray of compost that contained a variety of beetles and stink bugs. Most were local creatures but some were exotics, like the cockroaches (right, because I know there are some pretty large roaches here in Southern California, but if they start hissing we’re all in trouble!).
Ms. Dana also explained the difference between insects and bugs (insects always have six legs while bugs are the all-encompassing name for any sort of buggy creature, like the millipede, which is actually an arthropod). She had a pile of bug puppets for the kids to play with and sacks of pelts of other local animals like raccoons and skunks for the kids to pass around and touch. She ended the show by reading a book about insects and bugs to the children.
While this was a much smaller crowd than we’ve grown accustomed to in attending these summer library shows (surprising, really… where were you, Long Beach?!), that really allowed the kids to see, touch, and learn much more than they might have otherwise. Kids got to sit in a circle right around Ms. Dana and get close-up and touch or hold anything they wanted (aside from the roaches because they “are very fast” and might run off – !). I was so impressed with all of the kids and their willingness to get right in there and meet the creepy-crawlers. I for one was plenty happy watching from a distance and capturing T’s face as he held the bugs and insects (which was priceless).
The El Dorado Nature Center has a few more upcoming shows at the Long Beach Public Library this summer, which are all within the next week. Here’s a list:
So when the kids start pestering you for something new to go and do this summer, well, RMT’ers, don’t get antsy. Just go see some bugs!
Long Beach Public Library’s special summer family programs come to a close next week as the Summer Reading Program for 2013 winds down. You can go here for a PDF schedule of these and other upcoming events; all shows are free and for all-ages. For more information on El Dorado Nature Center’s location, hours, and upcoming programs, classes, and events at the center, you can go here.
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