Her little fingers moved dexterously as she carefully cut a small circular doorway, inserted a twig stand, and finally glued on a roof. Ta-dah! My daughter finished making a low-cost, eco-friendly bird-house from recycled materials at the Garvies Point Museum & Preserve in Glen Cove, New York!
We went to the Garvies Point Museum & Preserve with friends who have a 10-year-old boy and 7 and 6-year-old girls during spring break to get outside and take advantage of the beautiful weather. We started our adventure in the preserve’s small museum about Long Island’s Native American culture and archeology and New York State’s and more specifically Long Island’s geology. There was a neat assortment of local Native American artifacts including an impressive collection of arrowheads. We then spent time pretending to be Native Americans fishing in a dugout log canoe, planting vegetables, and building our home in the Interactive Woodland Village, a hands-on, child-oriented exhibit.
Afterwards, we stopped by the drop-in Bird-House Craft. For a nominal fee my daughters made birdhouses using empty half gallon orange juice containers, masking tape, twigs, and an assortment of paper scraps and crayons. All of the kids were very industrious as they cut out paper to decorate the containers, wrapped them in masking tape, and sealed them with the wax from the crayons. After putting on the finishing touches, they couldn’t wait to hang them up at home. (My daughters excitedly hung them 5 feet off the ground as we had been instructed at the preserve in one of our trees right when we got home! Apparently, some species of birds feel that 5 feet up is the most suitable height for a home. Our friends got birds to take up residence in their bird-houses, while ours unfortunately have remained vacant – probably because they’re too close to the street traffic.)
After lunch outside at one of the preserve’s picnic tables, we went on the free Spring Nature Walk around the grounds where we learned about the local trees, plants, and flowers as well as the signs of different animals like birds and raccoon. The naturalist that guided us through the woods also explained which plants start growing first as spring begins and how to identify trees based on their bark.
All of the kids had so much fun wandering around during the nature walk that we decided to continue exploring the preserve. We wandered down towards the Long Island Sound shoreline where the kids had fun climbing on washed up trees and the hilly slopes. They were also fascinated by the naturally occurring, multi-colored clay that we found just above the shoreline. It was a fun-filled day of exploring a local hidden treasure!
- Skills: Fine motor (making the bird houses) and gross motor (walking around the preserve)
- Preparation: Not really any – pack a lunch if you’re planning to stay a while. The preserve doesn’t sell any concessions. If you’re going to wander the grounds, wear close-toed shoes and long pants to keep bugs at bay.
- Cost: The general admission is $3.00 for adults, $2.00 for children ages 5-12, and free for children 4 and under. The bird house fee was $2 or $3 per child. Our public library has a Museum Pass program so library patrons can go for free, including films and programs.
- Time & Energy: It was a 20-minute drive from our house.
- Contact Info: The preserve has a website (www.garviespointmuseum.com).