One of our many winter traditions each year is to go to this wildlife center near us called Penitentiary Glen (yes it has a weird name!). It’s a fun little park with large trains you can ride on that take you on a trip through the woods. The trains are about 2 feet high and you straddle them, the conductor sits on the engine and away you go. It’s so much fun, although that’s mostly just in the summer months. There’s an animal center where we’ve dropped off an assortment of injured wildlife, turtles we find in the road hit by cars, baby geese who got tied up in fishing line and separated from their families, etc. We always adopt an animal from the wildlife center as a Christmas gift to my mom each year. With this adoption you get an in person animal encounter where you meet your adopted animal face to face and get a little presentation. We’ve also had them come out to the library in the past.
Anyhow, one of the best things this center does is a special winter game. The first few years we went they had a Candy Land theme. Each kid got a set of Candy Land cards to use on the giant game board. The candy land path was painted on the floor and wound its way through an enchanted room filled with trees, lights, giant pieces of candy, and assorted other sparkly things. After a few years with the Candy Land theme they switched it up and made up their own game about colors and woodland animals. Then this year the theme was the 12 Days of Winter. The girls were given one of those pop boards (refurbished Trouble board games) with the 12 Days of Winter board game. The room was so beautiful, I wish my pictures could do it better justice. The best part for me was just seeing the looks on the girls’ faces. Especially Lexi who was only a year old last year and doesn’t remember it. She was astounded! I look forward to going here every year. And you want to know what the best part is? It’s all free. There is a donation box and we usually bring something from their wild life center wish list-like birdseed, old towels, or dish soap. It’s a fabulous place and if you live in the Cleveland area I really recommend checking it out. They do all sorts of fun activities throughout the year, and the mini train rides are not to be missed!
I just love the look of wonder on her face in this photo, I’m sad that it’s so blurry, but in a way that almost captures her better, she’s such a blur of a child always off to have fun somewhere!