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Outdoor Fun in Clinton Community Nature Center

Outdoor Fun in Clinton Community Nature Center

The days are slowly cooling down as we’re going into the fall season. I am looking forward to spending more time outside. Clinton Community Nature Center is one of our favorite places to visit on a nice day. It offers many opportunities to learn and explore, and it is always a lot of fun.

But what exactly is this Clinton Community Nature Center? Here is a little overview from their website:

The Clinton Community Nature Center features miles of beautiful, shaded walking trails, Play Forest, Splashing Frog Water Feature, amphitheater, native plants, Price Hall, popular annual events and programs. The trails are open seven days a week from 7:00 a.m. until sunset!

​The Nature Center was created to preserve a precious tract of woods, located right in the heart of Clinton, Mississippi. The Nature Center does not receive public funding and relies on Supporters, Volunteers, Memberships, and Fundraisers. We strive to conserve our land and historic features while developing a place for the application, enjoyment, and study of nature in all aspects.

 

Time for Messy Fun!

What comes to mind when you think of your most favorite games or playtime from when you were a child? I think of climbing trees and fences, getting sprayed by a water hose, making forts from branches and leaves. But my favorite was – by far – making “food” from whatever I could find outside. I had a few pots and old spoons my parents sacrificed for the purpose.

Clinton Community Nature Center has a Play Mud Kitchen that brought me back to my carefree barefoot childhood the second I saw it. I jumped right in together with my 4-year-old. We mixed pretend vanilla and pretend chocolate chips into our pretend pancake batter and watched those appetizing pancakes sizzle on the frying pan. My little chef was delighted to serve those pancakes to everyone and giggled when she received lots of compliments on her culinary talents.

Even the 7-year-old got into it. And he did not want to leave the kitchen, as there was so much to explore. First, he had to figure out how everything worked in the little Water Obstacle Challenge of course. He pressed all the buttons, trying to get as many as he could at once.

When we were leaving, the kids were soaking wet, covered in mud and with big grins on their faces. To me, that means a time well spent.

If you decide to check out the Mud Kitchen with the kids, you can try my favorite Pretend Vegetable Soup recipe. My 4-year-old mastered it! See instructions below.

  1. Always start with a base – the chicken stock (water). Pour it into a large saucepan.
  2. Then, add salt and pepper (sand from one container, and same sand from another container). Stir well.
  3. Of course, it’s a good idea to add other spices, like ground oregano and cumin (and that would be the dirt, darker and richer than the sand used previously). Stir well.
  4. Find appropriate size potatoes (rocks) and add them to the stock. Cook them whole. Stir well.
  5. Look for juiciest carrots (roots of large weeds available around). Add them to the stock. Stir well.
  6. Add whole bay leaves (any leaves from any tree), cover with a lid. Stir well.
  7. Cook for a minute on a stove (that would be a brick or a large rock). Stir well (stirring often and thoroughly is important for the flavors to blend just right.)
  8. Serve with finely chopped chives (grass, torn in small pieces).
    Enjoy! There is no kid (or adult) who wouldn’t have a blast cooking a meal like this.

P.S. The trails and the Play Forest are open to the public and free to enjoy. But visitors are kindly asked to leave a donation. You’ll see a donation box by the playground.

 

Pumpkin-carving Family Time

Fall is all about the fun. And pumpkins! Save the date for the Family Pumpkin Carving Night at Clinton Community Nature Center on Friday, October 26th, from 3 to 5 p.m. This is a free kids’ event, open to the public. All you need to do is bring a pumpkin! Or a few. The Nature Center will provide all the tools, will help hollow your pumpkin out and even clean up the mess! (That’s right, parents, a mess-free night of pumpkin carving: yay!)

Keep in mind that all the carved pumpkins will stay in the Nature Center to be displayed at the 9th Annual Pumpkin Trail the following night, Saturday, October 27 at 6:30. The trails of the Nature Center will be filled with decorated pumpkins, large and small, carved by local families and volunteers. Everyone is encouraged to wear costumes and children can participate in the costume contests! There will be carnival games, face painting, opportunities to interact with live animals, prizes and candy.

For an additional price, you can treat yourselves with hot cocoa and sweets.

Cost is $3 per person, with children 3 and under admitted for free. Nature Center members also get free admission.

For Christmas, be sure to check out the beautiful light display in the park and meet some special guests from the North Pole.

If you sign up to receive notifications and updates from Clinton Community Nature Center on Facebook, you will always know about all the events open to the public. There’s always something fun happening at the Nature Center. And everyone is welcome.

Know & Go

When: Open 7 days a week from 7:00 a.m. until sunset

Where: 617 Dunton Rd, Clinton, MS

Cost: Free (donations are encouraged)

Family Pumpkin Carving Night on Friday, October 26, from 3 to 5 p.m.

9th Annual Pumpkin Trail on Saturday, October 27, at 6:30 p.m. 

About The Author

Dasha Peipon

Dasha is originally from Ukraine (it’s in the heart of Europe, look it up on the map if you want!) and moved to Mississippi with her family in September 2017. Before that she lived in Massachusetts and Maryland. She guesses they have a thing for “M” states. She is a writer, an editor, a teacher and the type of mom that never sits still. Being part of Parents & Kids has been helpful for her goal of finding places to explore with her kids, getting plugged in and her family becoming true Mississippians.

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