Cape Fear Botanical Garden

10 More Totally Free, Totally Fun Ways to Explore Nature while Social Distancing!

There are dozens of fun ways to explore nature while social distancing. Earlier this month Cape Fear Botanical Garden published a book of 200+ Ways to Explore Nature in your Home or Backyard. We focused on hands-on, learning activities that families and kids could do at home using supplies they probably had lying around the house. The book is full of ideas like creating a track station to find out what wildlife is visiting your yard or building a buzzing bee with just an index card, two erasers, a popsicle stick, and rubber band. Plus tons of fun nature facts, short spotlight articles on nature in NC and quotes from famous naturalists and explorers. You can download the book for free at this link: 200 + ways to explore nature

If you’re in a position where it’s possible, we are asking for a $10 donation for the book. You can donate at this link: Donate Here

But did you know there are so many ways to explore nature we didn’t have room to include them all! In our book, we didn’t focus on activities that other organizations were already promoting and we didn’t include many virtual activities like taped lecture series, online maps, internet games, or live cameras of wildlife. So today the Cape Fear BG Education Team is giving you 10 more ways to explore nature from home! 

  1. Year of Fire! With the NC State Parks

Check out these fun and printable activities, field guides, and more from the NC State Parks. Each year they collect resources from across the state to help kids and adults learn about a new nature theme. 2020 is the Year of Fire with downloadable interpretive programs on controlled burns, a Smokey the Bear fire prevention activity book, instructions to build your own fires safely, and more! Check it out 

  1. NC Science Festival

The NC Science Festival went virtual this year! Check out a ton of science and nature themed activities from across the state. You can help track turtles for science, create your own prototype face masks with directions from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, or explore videos on fun science experiments. Check it out

  1. ecoEXPLORE

ecoExplore is a citizen science program for children in grades K-8 created by the North Carolina Arboretum. Children can take photos of plants and wildlife and submit them online to earn real prizes. Cape Fear Botanical Gardens is an ecoEXPLORE hotspot, so come check us out while you’re contributing to science. Check it out

  1. Virtual Classes with the NC Museum of Natural Sciences

If you have a group, you can schedule a virtual outreach class with the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. Virtual Outreach Classes are free though donations are encouraged. Topics include frogs, fossils, butterflies and more! Check it out

  1. Lunchtime Discovery Series 

Adults and older children alike will enjoy this virtual Lunchtime Discovery Series presented by The Office of Environmental Education and Public Affairs and The North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Real scientists, educators, and professionals present video-taped and live stream lectures on nature topics from the birth of the environmental justice movement to the future of our longleaf pine forests. Check it out

  1. Discovery your Ecological Address

Want to explore nature where you live without even leaving your couch? Check out your ecological address. Use interactive GIS maps to learn about the soil, air, water, climate and biodiversity right in your hometown. Check it out

  1. Learn about Nature through Video Games

Have a kid who wants to learn about nature, but also just really wants to play some video games? You can do both! PBS Kids has dozens of free, educational nature games on their website. You’ll recognize favorite characters like Arthur the aardvark,  the Wild Kratts, the Cat in the Hat, and more! Check it out

  1. Have the Zoo come to You!

Check out these virtual zoo animal presentations from the NC Zoo. You’ll meet rhinos, bobcats, elephants and more! Check it out

  1. Tour some of the Most Amazing Natural Sites in the World 

This link will take you to ten virtual tours of natural wonders from around the world including Mount Everest, the Grand Canyon, and the Northern Lights. Check it out

  1. Discover Trees with Project Learning Tree

Learn about trees with Project Learning Tree’s family activities. You can explore topics like food webs, plant parts and structures, how to lower your utility bill by strategically planting trees in your yard, and what trees grow best in different places. Check it out