School Vacation Weeks at the EcoTarium | EcoTarium

School Vacation Weeks at the EcoTarium

Family fun for February, April and December School Vacation

When school's out, the EcoTarium is the place to be. Each February, April and December, our education team cooks up creative ways to learn and have fun -- all designed especially for school-age kids and their families. These theme-based weeks are filled with activities focused on a particular science or nature topic. Many activities are free with admission.


April Vacation - Everybody Counts: Citizen Science
April 17-20, 2018

Want to meet an important scientist who's protecting the planet? Just look in the mirror: Science needs you! Harness your powers of observation to help solve real-world problems in your backyard and across the globe. Hunt for stars, peek at plants and track animal trends, then share your discoveries. Bring your sense of curiosity-we're counting on it! 

Science Discovery Programs
11:30 - Vernal Pools are Cool! 
Secrets of the Forest
Can you imagine helping a salamander cross the road on a rainy spring night? Scientists do this, and so can you! Join us as we explore who lives in a vernal pool and why these seasonal spaces are an important habitat. Get ready to take the Salamander Crossing Challenge-can you successfully migrate from your woodland home to your vernal pool? 

2:30 - Frog and Toad's Greatest Hits
Secrets of the Forest
Ever wonder who's croaking in the amphibian chorus? Step outside a warm spring night and you might hear the low bass of the bullfrog, the piercing treble of the peeper, or the tuneful trill of a toad. We'll learn the songs of several species, and explore how recording frog and toad calls can keep these delicate creatures diverse and healthy. 

3:30 - Tracking Nature
Secrets of the Forest
Do you find yourself listening for the first red-winged blackbird, watching for the first chipmunk, tracking the progress of wildflowers and looking for signs of nest-building? Scientists keep track of all these changes in nature, and you can help! Join us on a guided walk of the EcoTarium grounds as we track, record and share our observations of the natural world. 

Table Top Activities 10:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. - 3:30 p.m.

Plant Detectives
Middle Level
Calling all eco-sleuths! Investigate items from the EcoTarium's plan collection, then learn how to decipher historical clues on their labels. Search the museum for mystery plants that hold secret information, and record your findings to help scientists understand our evolving ecosystem. 

Bloom or Bust
Lower Level
April showers should bring May flowers. But what if May flowers bloom in March? Discover how a changing climate is creating a seasonal plant-and-pollinator mismatch. Then examine fresh buds, cones, forbs and grasses and head outdoors to collect and share scientific data on the amazing plants all around us. 

Did you already visit and are looking for a copy of the hand out from your session? Click here! 

Otter Discovery Programs

1:00 p.m.
Otter Habitat
How do our Wildlife Keepers provide care for our active otters?  Watch a training session, interaction, or just plain fun enrichment session with our North American river otters at the otter habitat. Keepers will demonstrate what goes into their daily care and offer insight about our resident otters Slydell and Daisy.

Planetarium Shows

11:00 a.m. – Secret of the Cardboard Rocket

12:00 p.m. – Soundscapes: Mission to Record the Earth

2:00 p.m. – Dark Skies, Bright Stars
Sometimes it's easier to find things in the dark! In fact, pure darkness is a friend to astronomers and animals alike–and in our modern world, it's hard to come by. We'll tour the spring sky when it's lit only by stars, then observe what's visible on an average urban night. Plus we'll discover ways to reduce light pollution and keep wildlife safe.

3:00 p.m. – Flying Monsters