Addison totally digs owls, so when I read that the Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon in Canton, Massachusetts, was having a special “Hoot Happenings” event this past weekend, we had to go! My sister, Kim, and her three kids, Grace, Eoin, and Bria, joined us as well.
Our first stop was the registration desk inside the estate house, where we paid just $20 for the seven of us. Though we were excited to meet the live owls, that particular exhibit was crowded when we arrived, so we opted to make crafts first. The kids each took a seat at a table, and had a blast decorating owl-shaped sugar cookies. Next, the kids made owl puppets out of brown paper bags.
By the time the kids finished crafting, the crowd at the live owl presentation had thinned out, so we went to meet the owls! We met a Barred Owl – a rather large bird with beautiful feathers. It sat calmly on the forearm of one of the Mass Audubon staff while another staffer spoke about the owl’s distinctive hoot, which sounds like, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you all?”
When the presentation ended, the kids got their faces painted, and then we headed over to the gallery to look at the “Only Owls” exhibit. The walls of the small space were adorned with woodcut prints, watercolor paintings, ink and charcoal drawings, all featuring owls! The kids were especially intrigued with a digital display of owl photographs in the loft area.
The exhibit runs through April 21, 2013. The gallery is open Tuesday – Sunday, 1-5pm.
Before we left the gallery, the kids stopped at another craft table and made adorable owl masks!
We ended our trip with a .75 mile, 30-minute hike through the Mildred Morse Allen Wildlife Sanctuary. The kids were glad they’d all worn their rain boots, as there was a lot of melting snow and muddy patches.
Starting at the trail head, we followed the Meadow Path to the intersection with the Main Loop Trail and Pequit Brook Trail. We veered left onto the Pequit Brook Trail, and not long after came to a fallen tree on the path. The kids had a blast climbing over the big pine.
At our next intersection, we took a left onto the Shephard’s Mill Trail. It was a much narrower trail, but we got to climb through the ruins of an old rock wall, and we found deer tracks!
We returned to the trail head via the Pine Grove Path. By the time we finished, the kids were tuckered out and hungry. They snacked on yogurt tubes, Happy Tot squeeze packs, pretzels, and of course, their owl cookies!
Though we only explored a small bit of the 124 acres of land on the wildlife sanctuary, it was enough to know we’d like to return for a longer hike.
The hiking trails are open 9am-5pm Tuesday through Sunday. For a trail map, click here!
Directions to The Museum of American Bird Art at Mass Audubon:
963 Washington Street, Canton, MA 02021
From Rt I-93:Take exit 2A (Rt 138 south). After 0.7 miles, turn right at the traffic lights onto Washington Street. The sanctuary is 2.4 miles ahead on the left, across from Canton High School.
By public transportation: Take the MBTA commuter rail from South Station in Boston to the Canton Center stop. Turn left out of the station onto Washington Street. The sanctuary is 0.5 miles ahead on the right, across from Canton High School.