State park nature programs: The best way to experience nature while learning

On your next getaway to a West Virginia state park, plan to participate in a nature program. These programs include crafts and games, movies, wildlife hikes and other nature presentations that all ages are sure to enjoy. Stop by the park Nature Center to view exhibits pertaining to local plants and animals and chat with the park naturalist about fun things to see and do.

Interpretive Hikes

Guided hikes come with the added bonus of teaching participants about the area’s natural history. Hike by the light of the moon and learn about nocturnal wildlife activity during Full Moon Hikes. Learn about spring wildflowers during Spring Wildflower Walks held annually at Chief Logan State Park, Kanawha State Forest and Canaan Valley Resort. Celebrate the start of every new year with a First Day Hike or observe National Trails Day in June with a guided hike.

Special Events

Test your creativity and engineering skills with the annual Anything That Floats competition at Beech Fork State Park. Bring whatever floats, from kayaks to air mattresses to duct tape and cardboard boats, don a silly outfit, and enjoy a day on the water. Repeat the fun in wintertime during the annual Cardboard and Duct Tape Sled Race at Blackwater Falls State Park. Other special events hosted throughout the year at parks include art and music festivals, Farm to Table dinners, and more.

Guest Appearances

Meet live raptor ambassadors such as hawks, owls, falcons, vultures and bald eagles at Wings of Wonder: Birds of Prey programs presented by Three Rivers Avian Center (TRAC). These programs take place throughout the year at numerous state parks and forests including Chief Logan, Lost River and Cacapon Resort. TRAC is a raptor rehabilitation center located in Hinton in southern West Virginia. TRAC also offers public tours on the first Saturday of the month from May through October. The visit pairs well with a stop at Moonstruck Maple, a gourmet maple syrup farm and confectioner just across the road from TRAC.

Learn about rocks, minerals and fossils of the Mountain State during Geology Rocks! presented by geologists of the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey. What ancient ocean flowed beneath present-day West Virginia? Learn about West Virginia’s state fossil, a giant sloth that lived during the Ice Age. Discover the science behind unique rock formations of Beartown and Pinnacle Rock state parks, and more.

Meet famous historical figures via History Alive! presentations that take place at West Virginia state parks and forests. Sponsored by the West Virginia Humanities Council, these living history performances provide a passport through time. The audience is invited to chat with actors about the social and political issues that influenced the lives of the historical figures they portray, from Theodore Roosevelt to Harriet Tubman.

Calendar of Events

Activities and programs are posted on the West Virginia State Parks website under events. You can also check with the park’s Nature Center for a list of upcoming programs. Plan an overnight stay to enjoy all the park has to offer – reserve your lodging today!

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