This summer we’ve been doing a summer science class with some friends, and a class on wildflowers took us to Bear Creek Nature Center (245 Bear Creek Road, 80906). This was one of those places that immediately made me think, “How have I never made it to this place?!” It’s free, even!
Our group took what I think was the Mountain Scrub Loop Trail (download a trail map PDF here), which took us along the creek for a bit, in lots of shade, then climbed up into an open meadow surrounded by scrub oak.
There were also lots and lots of butterflies! Another group was also there in the meadow – one of the nature programs that Bear Creek has – with butterfly nets. Fun!
We took strollers on this trail, though it’s not necessarily recommended, as there are some of those wide stairsteps that you often encounter on trails.
Coming back down, we took the Songbird Trail, which is mostly boardwalk and would be easily accessible with a stroller or wheelchair. My oldest went with some friends down to the creek and were going to follow it and meet up at the bridge right by the nature center… Somehow, they got semi-lost when there were too many trees and bushes in the creek and they had to go around, but of course that’s part of the adventure, right?
The trails were fun, but what was really cool was the nature center! (And literally, cool – it’s a great place to enjoy some AC. Oh, and there are nice, flushing bathrooms – always a plus when you want to enjoy nature but not that much, know what I mean?)
They had an interactive display where you can match up the footprint with the animal…
A microscope for looking up close at personal at things like a strand of hair or a butterfly wing…
A table of animal bones, antlers, and animal hides – love the Please Touch sign! They even had a skunk hide, which my kids thought was pretty cool.
My favorite was the bee case. I could have watched them at work all day! We asked how we could find the queen and the employee told us that there wasn’t actually one because they had swarmed outside recently and they were waiting on a new queen bee to hatch – or fight it out – or whatever it is they do. She did show us where the bees had laid eggs.
The beehive is inside, in this display case, and they have a clear tube that goes to the outside so they can get pollen. A very cool display!
We loved our time at the Bear Creek Nature Center and hope to visit the other El Paso County nature center, Fountain Creek Nature Center, soon! Get more info on both here.
Looking for more fun things to do in Colorado Springs? Try these cool – and cheap or free – places: