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2024 Critter Camp Report

Land! Water! Air!

In week one of critter camp, our campers learned about land animals! During their days at the museum, they learned about the habitats animals live in, visited the “ice age” in the museum freezer, and tried eating like animals using tweezer beaks and sucking straws. We also explored how animals use their senses by playing games where we identified mystery scents, or tried to guess animal specimens while blindfolded! We even got to meet some real live land animals, including a tarantula, hissing cockroaches, and a bearded dragon. After our two days in the museum, we took what we learned on the road and went on a field trip! Armed with field notebooks, our campers adventured up Big Springs trail. We had a great time exploring and searching for land animals, and documenting all the cool things we found.

After our adventures learning about land animals, our critter campers dove right into water week! On our first day we focused on the oceans, and explored the museum searching for ocean creatures. We made ocean themed snacks, read books, and then had a chance to get our hands wet by painting with water outside on the concrete. The next day we talked about ponds and rivers, and our brave adventurers took the bus to the BYU duck pond. There we had hands-on experiences with feeding and watching the ducks and turtles, and seeing their cool water adaptations in action. Our last day of water exploration tied everything together with a field trip up the canyon. The campers got to explore and take notes in their field notebooks, explore some watery areas, build nests like ducks, and they even had a water fight!

After exploring the land and the water, there was nowhere left to go but up! During Week 3 of critter camp, our campers learned all about the animals that fly, float, or glide through the air. We learned about the important role that bees play in the environment, and then got to go outside the museum and “pollinate” the flowers with powdered sugar. Our campers designed their own birds, flew paper airplanes, and tried to flap their wings as fast as a buzzing fly. We also learned about how bats echolocate, and practiced some echolocation of our own! After two great days of learning about air animals at the museum, we took our new skills on the road to visit the Tracy Aviary in Salt Lake! Our campers had face to face encounters with some pretty incredible birds, and we even had birds fly right over our heads during the bird show. Air week was a soaring success!

Leah O'Barr, educator