Saturday, March 23, 2013

Exploring Inside the Outdoor Campus

Yesterday Eli and I found ourselves in Rapid City with a whole afternoon free. One of my favorite places to visit is the Outdoor Campus West and even though Eli is so young, I thought it would be fun for him to see what it had to offer.

There is lots to explore at the Outdoor Campus, especially as a young child. There are four areas dedicated to biomes here in South Dakota. We played our way through the Black Hills, the Badlands, the Prairie and the Wetlands.

The giant aquarium was probably his favorite. It's full of sturgeon, bass, trout, catfish, and fish I didn't recognize. They swam slowly by, taunting us. Eli was completely engaged. He's never seen anything quite like that.

Eli also enjoyed the tunnels, the animal pelts, and the hollow log. Each room offered him something he'd never seen before and he was into it all. I was impressed with his speed moving from one thing to the next. We played with the puppets, touched the beaver dam, and hid out under a tree. The faces he made were priceless and I was so thankful we had stopped in.

We held our play for a few moments to eat a snack and watch short videos of coyotes catching prey and prairie dogs playing. Once we were refueled, we were off again.

After playing for awhile longer and making a few friends, we watched the aquarium one last time and hit the road. I could tell that Eli had a great time and apparently, having that much fun is exhausting because Eli slept the whole way home.

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