I spend a great deal of my summer time at the family cottage near Rideau Ferry, outside Perth. It is a place that is in the bloodstream of my husband and now my children. So much so, that by March, I am often asked – “Mom when are we heading to the cottage?”... this is while they are still looking at snow on the ground. You can imagine once May hits that they are practically tucking and rolling their way out of the car when we pull into the cottage drive. We are lucky and we have fun all summer long. 

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Our little slice of heaven on the Rideau. Sweet Summer Time!

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However, I do have to plan some excursions and other entertainments, at least to keep them respectable for school return. So what is there to do? What is on the summer to do list? We often go in search of museums, zoos, parks, and other cultural experiences away from home. We don’t often include the fun in our own backyard. This has to change!

My quest to you and myself this summer - visit a museum or attraction in your backyard!

Lennox and Addington County is fortunate to have 12 museums that are scattered throughout the County region. I would suggest you pack a picnic, download your favourite summer iTunes, pull out the GPS and explore this beautiful County. Check out this link for all the great things L&A has to offer https://lennox-addington.on.ca/explore/top-attractions. From the grassy hills of the south to the more rugged terrain of the north, this County has something to offer everyone. But I must insist you start with the L&A County Museum first.

The Museum Takes Flight This Summer

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This summer we are host to the travelling exhibit “Our Feathered Friends” from the (CMN) Canadian Museum of Nature. This exhibit will teach you all about the birds in your backyard. Through interactive pods – hear and identify birdcalls, trace silhouettes and examine feathers under a microscope. Plus there are over 25 specimens on display to get up and close with too!  

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My kids visited the exhibit on Friday.They are my guinea pigs…..how they react is how I hope all kids will react. I had to first explain to them that the birds were not harmed for the exhibit, these birds have been collected and found deceased over several years. Once the birds are in the care of field naturalists and curators, they take great care to protect the specimens. They are preserved and stored so that we may too enjoy and learn from them. 

Once this was understood by my kids, their smiles re-emerged…they went on to explore and explore they did! The program cart includes several hand puppet/birds. An impromptu puppet show was quickly acted out. Followed with examinations of feathers and a look at the pod that asks you to identify that bird call with a push of a button.

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An impromptu puppet show brought out smiles of children of staff who visited the exhibit last week.

There is even a scavenger hunt that gets you moving through the exhibit to find certain birds…and yes there is a prize for all completed hunts. A sweet reward for our visitors to enjoy. Don’t forget to take those scavenger hunts to the front desk for your treat!

It’s not all for kids. Noted nature photographer, Bill Bickle has loaned the museum images of his breathtaking bird photography, it is a wonderful complement to the exhibit. There are also several birding books, we invite you to sit down and enjoy the sounds of the birds and read for a bit. My husband sat and read the bird books for a good 30 minutes before I told him it was time to take the kids for some lunch otherwise he was settling in for an afternoon read. 

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Award winning nature photographer, Bill Bickle has loaned the museum images for the summer!


A Kids Space At The Museum

This summer we are introducing a “Kids Space” for the first time. A long time wish for this curator was to launch a space for kids where they can come in to the museum to explore, touch, squeeze, smell, get silly, and learn a little more about the items exhibited at the museum. Part of the museum’s toy collection is now on exhibit as part of this space. Museums should take hold of your imagination and push you to wonder! 

Museums are hubs of information- so much so that after a visit to a museum you may suffer “museum fatigue”- believe it or not- it’s a thing and we learn about it in our courses. I know we need to convey the information and tell the stories- but perhaps we can help make this a little more fun for the younger audience that visits us. A little space to carve out for their own.sKids space.jpg

Explore the space and the changing activities all summer long!

We thought “Our Feathered Friends” was a perfect exhibit to launch some interactive fun. So you got it- our first “Kids Space” is themed with all things birds! Sit down with your kids to pull out books, drawing challenges, puzzles, activity sheets, magnifying glasses for close up examinations of nests and eggs. Thanks to our awesome Program Co-ordinator, there will be a rotating challenge and activity within the space every week….we invite you to come back time and time again. Museums are great for beating the heat…we have air conditioning and they are great spaces on rainy days too!! 

This curator is happy that it is summer. I plan to turn on my GPS and continue my exploration of L&A County. I think this time, it will be north into the rocky Canadian Shield areas. Perhaps I will spot a bird or two but thanks to “Our Feathered Friends”, I will know exactly what I am looking at.

Enjoy all the fun, but please come visit with us at the museum this summer. There is just so much to do all summer long – you won’t be disappointed.