“We like to educate people and children about the outdoors,” said interpretive park ranger Malia Sutphin. “We have this huge national wildlife refuge that’s hard to get to, so this is a good way for us to make use of our facilities to teach people about it.”
The weekly events start off with Families Understanding Nature, a program for 3- to 5-year-olds, on Wednesdays from 10:30 to 11:15 a.m. There, kids listen to stories, sing songs, play with puppets and do crafts at the visitor center.
“Sometimes we go outside, sometimes little videos or powerpoints,” Sutphin said. “I like to bring skulls and furs if I can to touch and feel. It’s about anything from animals to weather to plants.”
Sutphin said the FUN program gets the most people. They’ve had as many as 90 kids and adults before, but average around 40 or 50.
On Thursdays, there’s Wildlife Investigation, Learning and Discovery, a program for kids ages 6 to 12. It’s from 11 a.m. to noon and kids play games and do experiments and crafts all while learning about the plant and animal life and helping the environment in Kodiak.
“The instructor does a lot of the same things as FUN, but it’s for older kids,” Sutphin said. “Last week, it was really cool, (the instructor) taught about glaciers and made fake glacier ice out of blue goo and showed how it moved down the mountains.”
Finally, on Saturdays, the visitor center offers Happy Trails, outdoor adventures in different locations around Kodiak such as Buskin Beach and Fort Abercrombie. Happy Trails starts at 2 p.m. and the visitor center encourages families with kids of all ages to attend. This Saturday, they’ll be looking at tide pools.
“It’s called Tidepool Party, and the instructor will be taking people out on the beach during low tide to show them different tide pool critters, they’ll do some identification and see what they can find,” Sutphin said. “There’s a ton of stuff out there: sea anemones, starfish, little flounders.”
All of the classes are free to the public.
“It’s fun, and a good way to meet other people who like the outdoors,” Sutphin said.
Contact the visitor center at 487-2626 for more information.
Contact Julie Herrmann at email@example.com.