No, TACO Week doesn’t mean we here at the museum will be making, serving, or eating tacos, although you can eat tacos that week if you desire. TACO Week is short for Take A Child Outdoors Week.

You should already be doing that, taking your kids out of doors, as often as you can. But, this is just a reminder, an excuse, in case it slipped your mind.

This year, TACO Week is from 24 thru 30 September. Though we’re closed Monday Sept. 24, there’ll be activities specific to TACO Week at various locations around the museum the rest of the week. Check the Events Calendar on the Museum’s main web page for details.

Yes, it may still be hot outside, but take it slow, don’t move so fast, and bring plenty of water with you. Besides, fall’s here. The temps may be a bit warmer than usual, but rest assured, it’ll eventually cool down. The heat and humidity’s days are numbered.

Want to see some of the things you may encounter on a TACO stroll here at the museum? Scroll down and feast your eyes.

That’s a green heron above and below. The bird chose a downed willow trunk on which to preen.

Green heron preening.

Frogs, like the bullfrog below, are food for birds like herons, although this frog’s size may be a challenge for a green heron.

More than a mouthful for a green heron.

Mistflower is a late season flower. It’s blooming now along the path to Catch the Wind. Its blue to lavender flower attracts butterflies for its nectar.

Late season nectaring plant for butterflies.

Partridge pea attracts sulphur butterflies as a host plant. The butterflies lay their eggs on the plant, the larvae consume the leaves and flowers, pupate, and start the cycle all over again. The butterflies have not done their part this year. I’ve yet to see a caterpillar. They’re late, if they appear at all.

Partridge pea is favored by sulphur butterflies.

Monarchs are on time and doing well.

Everyone knows monarchs prefer milkweed. There are four monarch caterpillars feeding on this milkweed plant.

While hiking up the 750’ boardwalk leading to and from Explore the Wild, I noticed a large green caterpillar likewise hiking the boards. It was a sweetbay silkmoth caterpillar. I picked up the caterpillar and moved it to the forest floor near the top of the boardwalk.

Large caterpillar hoofing the boardwalk is a sweetbay silk moth caterpillar.

I spotted numerous wood scrapings on the pergola columns at the vending area in Catch the Wind. They were made by paper wasps. These wasps construct their hives of paper. The paper is home-made by gnawing off pieces of twigs, branches or lumber (the columns) and chewing it down into paper.

Scrapings on pergola column.
Close look at gnawings.
paper wasp.
paper wasp hive.

Finally, here’s a shot of a green plant hopper. I could be wrong but this one looks like Acanalonia conica.

Plant hopper, head on.

Don’t feel bad if you don’t see everything that I’ve highlighted here. You probably won’t see the same things. Things change from day to day. Besides, I’m outside all day long from Tuesday thru Saturday. It’d be difficult for me to miss some of the things I’m lucky enough to witness, so don’t expect too much at first.

If you see nothing else, it’s worth a trip outside just to get a glimpse of the wetlands, or the bears, the wolves, the lemurs…you get the idea, just get out there.

The wetlands.

There’s plenty to see outdoors, but you have to be out there to see it. And Take a Child Outdoors with you.

As I already mentioned, I’m outside Tuesday thru Saturday. If you need help finding something, want to know what I’ve been seeing, or have any questions about something you’ve seen, let me know, I should have an answer for you. That’s why I’m out there in the first place!

See you!

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