The fourth annual Florida Panther Festival is dedicating Saturday, November 15 to the kids with a full schedule of activities for the wee-ones to participate in. Here’s a look at what’s on the docket.
Beginning at 9 and 9:30 a.m., Big Cypress National Preserve rangers will lead festivalgoers on a one-mile hike through North Collier Regional Park. Along the way, rangers will teach hikers interesting facts about panthers, including its prime habitat, how to spot panther tracks and learn from the Big Cypress Preserve biologists about the important research they are doing to protect the felines.
- Tours are limited to 15 participants, reservations are required.
- What to bring: Water, camera, and binoculars
- What to wear: Cool and comfortable clothing, sturdy walking shoes, sun protection (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen)
- For questions, call Lisa Andrews, Outreach/Education Specialist at Big Cypress National Preserve, at 239-695-1164.
At 12:30 and 2 p.m., children will head out on a Nature Detective Tour—30-minute nature walks that are as educational as they are fun.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Nature on Wheels will be hosting an all-day Kid’s Activity Room, where kids and parents can take in a puppet show, make their own panther puppet and enjoy other arts and craft projects.
At 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m., educational kids’ games will entertain and teach important facets of the panther’s life. (Games are limited to 15 children per round.)
- Lunch for a Florida Panther teaches children what it takes for the animal to survive, from hunting and feeding its cubs, to finding suitable drinking water, and how habitat changes affect just about every aspect of the panther’s day-to-day life.
- In Panther Prowl, kids race across a field, prowling like a panther. But before reaching the goal, certain outside influences, like roads and habitat destruction, can block the path. Have what it takes to survive like a panther? Find out here.
- In Florida Panther Neighbors, children learn the effects that protecting an umbrella species like the panther have on an entire ecosystem.