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Thanksgiving week is a very busy one around here.  We host Thanksgiving and have visitors from out of town.  This involves a ton of cleaning and cooking and cleaning some more.  The Friday after Thanksgiving, I usually spend decorating for Christmas.  However, our house was a total disaster which did not inspire me to break out more stuff.  It did inspire me to get out of the house for a change of scenery.  So, we headed over the the Hudson Highlands Nature Museum, and I’m so glad we did.

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Because it was a holiday weekend, they opened early at 10 am (usually 12-4 Friday-Saturday), and we were the first to arrive.  The animal room is not that large but has a nice assortment of local wildlife to meet and greet.  Our first stop was the turtle aquarium where you can see the turtles swim underwater.  However, it was not long before Edgar Allen Crow summoned us over.  When you visit, be sure to greet him first with a hello, and then be amazed when he responds with a hello of his own!  Along with a gregarious chipmunk, the crow was Sophie’s favorite.  She had a crow conversation of endless hellos and at some point I forgot who was imitating whom.  Madison was enthralled with the Horned Owl who was quite regal but not at all pretentious as we had heard some owls can be.

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After meeting all the animals, we headed downstairs to do some crafting where volunteers were all set to help the girls create.  First, they made a mouse out of a milkweed which looked eerily like a real mouse.  Then, they made a snowman ornament out of a paper cup, fabric scraps, and pom poms.  After they completed their projects, they enjoyed a snack of juice and crackers.  This little treat bought us an extra hour, so we headed back upstairs for the Turkey Talk.

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The museum hosts an informative meet the animal every week.  Because it was Thanksgiving, the turkey was the star of the week.  Because they don’t have an actual turkey in the museum, a puppet was used instead.  However, after the talk, the kids were invited to feed the wild turkeys that traverse through the museum yard every afternoon.  If it hadn’t coincided with nap time, we would have been able to witness a whole turkey family coming to graze on the snacks the kids provided.

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The museum has a lot to offer including hiking trails which would have been something we would have done if Sophie was at least three years old as they are a rough terrain for a toddler.  The museum also has programs every weekend and because it’s the holiday season, they have some special programs going on over the course of the month:

-December 8th, 10-11:30: Snow Globe Workshop

-December 14th, 10-11:30: Mammals in Winter

-December 30th, Jan. 2 & 3, 9-11:30: Mini Camp

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It was nice to get out with my family and just enjoy them without being surrounded by our post holiday messy home or my long Christmas to-do list nagging at me.  And, in addition to teaching my kids about who else resides in their habitat, they fed my kids a snack.  So, even though I had to return to reality eventually, it was a little holiday chaos reprieve that we needed and appreciated.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela, RIP

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